Eagles 53-Man Roster Projection Before Preseason Week 1

Projecting the Philadelphia Eagles' 53-man roster before Week 1 of the 2023 preseason.
Projecting the Philadelphia Eagles' 53-man roster before Week 1 of the 2023 preseason. /
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With the Hall of Fame Game behind us, the NFL season is officially here. Obviously the results don’t mean much until September, but the way rosters are shaped in August will be one of the most important factors that goes into how this season will play out.

For a Super Bowl contending team like the Eagles, we’re not expecting many surprises in the starting lineup. But if anything the backup spots are more important for a contending team than they are for anyone else.

Injuries are an inevitable part of the long NFL season, and having a roster capable of stepping up and remaining competitive when injuries happen is key, especially once the playoffs arrive.

We still have four preseason games and plenty of practice time to shake things up, but here’s a first look at my 53-man roster projection for the Eagles.

Eagles 53-Man Roster Projection (Version 1)

Quarterback (3)

  • Jalen Hurts
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Tanner McKee

Obviously those first two sports are set in stone. Nobody is expecting Jalen Hurts to get cut in favor of Ian Book.

The McKee-vs-Book battle is kind of an interesting one for the QB3 spot, and it ultimately feels like spending a sixth-round pick on a quarterback after getting a season-long look at Book is a pretty bad omen for the latter’s future in Philly. An elite preseason could certainly turn the tide, but consider McKee a heavy favorite.

Running Back (4)

  • D’Andre Swift
  • Rashaad Penny
  • Kenneth Gainwell
  • Boston Scott

Would it be nice to carry Trey Sermon on the roster? For sure, but ultimately the Eagles’ RB room is strong enough that there’s no way we need to carry more than four. That’s especially true because unlike last year, when Miles Sanders wasn’t contributing well as a receiver, all of our backs can contribute both on the ground and through the air.

I’m not sure any of these four are a better pure rusher than Sanders, but I do feel confident that this unit as a whole is stronger than we had in 2022.

Wide Receiver (6)

  • AJ Brown
  • DeVonta Smith
  • Quez Watkins
  • Olamide Zaccheaus
  • Brittain Covey
  • Joseph Ngata

Brown and Smith are obviously locked in as the top two wideouts, and Watkins and Zaccheaus are all but locks for the roster. Things get much cloudier from there.

Brttain Covey’s role as a punt returner (and the offensive upside from the explosiveness that makes him so dangerous there) will likely sew up his roster spot, though where he lands on the depth chart is certainly up in the air.

Picking the sixth wide receiver (and even potentially a seventh) is a lot more of a crapshoot, especially with early training camp reports being pretty quiet around the deeper parts of this unit.

Ngata may be an undrafted free agent, but he was one of the year’s highest-paid UDFAs, which is always a good sign. He’s also a big, physical wideout which (outside of Brown) is something that’s a little lacking in this unit. I won’t die on the Ngata hill if Tyrie Cleveland or Devon Allen start showing out, but Ngata gets the nod in v1 of my projections.

Tight End (3)

  • Dallas Goedert
  • Jack Stoll
  • Grant Calcaterra

Tight end is another position where it really just comes down to the final roster spot. Calcaterra will predominantly be competing with veteran Dan Arnold for the role.

My usual heuristic is to expect NFL teams to favor boring veterans over more exciting players, but the Eagles organization is among the most progressive in the league when it comes to not wanting to re-tread the Dan Arnolds of the world, so I’m holding out hope here that the exciting option wins out.