Which Eagles will make the cut?
Halfway through the preseason, the Eagles are beginning to find out what they have, and what they need before the regular season starts, Sept. 13 in Carolina.
By the end of this week they will make their first cuts and will have to get the roster down to the mandatory 53 by Saturday, Sept. 5.
Let’s take a position by position look at what players are in, which ones are out and which ones are still battling. The number in parenthesis is the likely amount the team will keep at that position.
Lock: Donovan McNabb
Good Bet: Mike Vick
On the Bubble: Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley.
Outlook: Until Vick is reinstated by the league, the Eagles will keep both Kolb and Feeley on the roster. In a perfect scenario, team that uses a West Coast offense will lose a quarterback in the first month of the season, and the Eagles can trade Feeley once Vick is eligible to play.
Running Backs (4-5)
Locks: Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Leonard Weaver
On the Bubble: Lorenzo Booker, Kyle Eckel
Longshot: Eldra Buckley, Marcus Mailei
Outlook: If the team keeps five, Booker and Eckel can both make it. If they keep four give Eckel the edge, because he can also double as the backup fullback. Don’t be surprised if another back, not here yet, is added as well. Buckley has a shot for the practice squad.
Wide Receivers (5-6)
Locks: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant
Good Bets: Kevin Curtis
On the Bubble: Brandon Gibson, Hank Baskett, Reggie Brown
Longshots: Danny Amendola, Saheer McBride
Outlook: If the team keeps just four backs, they could go with six receivers. I’m a lone thinker on this one, but I still think Curtis could be traded, simply because he has more value than Baskett or Brown, is over 30 and makes decent money. Gibson, the rookie sixth-round pick, has shown enough to stick, but might get sent to the practice squad. Then again, he could get claimed by another team before he gets there.
Tight Ends (2-3)
Lock: Brent Celek
Good Bet: Rob Myers
On the Bubble: Matt Schobel
Longshot: Eugene Bright
Outlook: Myers, a rookie from Utah State, has caught everything thrown his way and has decent speed. He’s just undersized at 6-4, 240. Schobel should be out of chances by now, which is why the team really needs to go out and get a veteran who can block.
Offensive Line (9-10)
Locks: Nick Cole, Jamaal Jackson, Jason Peters, Stacy Andrews, Todd Herremans
Good Bets: Max Jean-Gilles, Shawn Andrews, Winston Justice
On the Bubble: Mike Gibson, Paul Fanaika, Chris Patrick, King Dunlap, Mike McGlynn
Longshots: Dallas Reynolds, Fenuki Tupou
Outlook: It appears Shawn Andrews might be getting better, but he’s one relapse away from heading to injured reserve, or PUP (physically unable to perform). Injuries have given Justice a new life. Of the bubble boys, McGlynn, a fourth-round pick in 2008, has the best chance.
Defensive Line (9-10)
Locks: Trent Cole, Darren Howard, Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson
Good Bets: Juqua Parker, Chris Clemons, Trevor Laws, Victor Abiamiri
On the Bubble: Jason Babin, Bryan Smith, Dan Klecko
Longshots: Willie Williams, Josh Gaines
Outlook: If Babin has another game Thursday night as he did last Thursday against the Colts, he could jump to the lock category. Parker could still face a suspension for his arrest during training camp, but that appears more doubtful as every day passes. Smith, a third-round pick in ’08, continues to disappoint. Klecko is a solid rotation tackle.
Locks: Akeem Jordan, Chris Gocong
Good Bets: Joe Mays, Tracy White, Omar Gaither
On the Bubble: Tank Daniels, Moise Fokou, Matt Wilhem
Longshots: Charleston Hughes
Outlook: Of the players on the bubble, Fokou, a rookie seventh-round pick, has the most upside. That sixth position will come down to who does best on special teams, however. That’s also where White makes his money. Just like running back and tight end don’t be surprised if a player isn’t signed or traded for before the start of the season.
Defensive Backs (9)
Locks: Joselio Hanson, Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown, Quintin Mikell
Good Bets: Sean Jones, Ellis Hobbs, Quintin Demps
On the Bubble: Dimitri Patterson, Jack Ikegwuonu, Macho Harris, Trae Williams, Reshard Langford, Brandon Harrison
Outlook: The battles are for the fifth cornerback spot and the fourth safety spot. Ikegwuonu, a fourth-round pick in ’08, still doesn’t look fully healthy after suffering a serious knee injury his senior year at Wisconsin. That leaves Patterson and Williams in the mix. Harris, a fifth-round pick this year, should have the edge at safety but has not played well. That puts Harrison and Langford, two other rookies in the picture.
Locks: David Akers, Sav Rocca, Jon Dorenbos
Outlook: There is no competition for the kicker, punter or the long snapper.