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Eagles Roster Breakdown

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The best roster in the NFL, at least according to team President Joe Banner, took shape this weekend, as the Eagles made the necessary cuts to get to the NFL mandated 53-man limit.

There will be at least one more move when the team takes quarterback Michael Vick off the exempt list and places him on the roster, and probably another because seven wide receivers is at least one, if not, two too many.

Here’s a breakdown of the current 53 players the Eagles will take to Carolina to open the regular season, Sunday.

 

Offense

Quarterbacks: Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley – Vick will be reinstated and Feeley is now gone. The team had tried with no avail to trade him.

More important here is McNabb, who has been given everything he wanted and needed this offseason. Now, in his 11th year with the team, it’s time to give back in the form of a Super Bowl. If not, year 12 could be spent elsewhere.

Running Backs – Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Eldra Buckley, Leonard Weaver – Westbrook skipped the preseason, which wasn’t the worse idea in the world. It also gave McCoy a chance to show he’s is the real thing. The team has a good combination here and Weaver is the Eagles best fullback in years. Buckley came via waivers from San Diego, which seems to be the breeding ground for running backs these days.

Wide Receivers – DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, Brandon Gibson – The staff didn’t want to take the chance of waiving Gibson and getting him on the practice squad, so they kept him. That was probably smart. Brown, like Feeley, found no immediate takers, so he’s still here, too. Jackson and Curtis will start and Avant, the most underrated player on the team, will be in the slot. It’s only a matter of time before Maclin replaces Curtis, however.

Tight Ends – Brent Celek, Tony Curtis – They went a little light here, but in this offense that’s OK. If they add another one fine, if they don’t it’s not that big of a deal. Celek could be a tougher version of Chad Lewis, and Curtis provides the blocking needed at the position.

Offensive Linemen – Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews, Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles, Winston Justice, Mike McGlynn, King Dunlap – The key here is health. Peters, the left tackle, appears to be over the quad injury that kept him sidelined in camp, and right guard Stacy Andrews might not be 100 percent back from his torn ACL, but he’s sound enough to play. Left guard Todd Herremans won’t be back until probably the week after the bye (Oct. 11), but Nick Cole or Max Jean-Gilles are OK fill-ins.

Shawn Andrews will make the difference. If the right tackle is over his back problems and anything else bothering him, the line will be fine. If the team has to start Winston Justice, along with a back-up at one guard spot and a less-than-100-percent right guard, the problems could start.

Defensive Linemen – Trent Cole, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Victor Abiamiri, Juqua Parker, Darren Howard, Chris Clemons, Trevor Laws, Jason Babin – Since Howard and Abiamiri often move inside on passing downs, the team kept just three tackles in starters Patterson and Bunkley and No. 3 man Laws. Antonio Dixon was just picked up off waivers from the Redskins as well.

Cole, the best pass rusher on the team, needs help both from the inside rushers and more importantly from the starter on the left end, be it Abiamiri, Parker or Babin.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the rotation goes on the line and how the snaps are divvied up.

Linebackers – Akeem Jordan, Omar Gaither, Chris Gocong, Joe Mays, Moise Fokou, Tracy White – Without question the thinnest and least talented group on the team. The loss of Stewart Bradley hurt, and the team really didn’t do anything to address it, at least not yet.

Mays, a sixth-round pick in 2008 and Fokou, a seventh-round pick this year, are alarmingly inexperienced and not ready to start. White is strictly a special teams player. A linebacker is what the team should look to get if they deal Feeley and a wide receiver.

Defensive Backs – Sheldon Brown, Asante Samuel, Joselio Hanson, Ellis Hobbs, Dimitri Patterson, Quintin Mikell, Quintin Demps, Sean Jones, Victor “Macho’’ Harris – There’s good depth at cornerback, with Hanson and Hobbs behind Samuel and Brown. Patterson, a Kansas City castoff, showed he could play in camp as well.

Demps will get the nod at safety opposite Mikell, but don’t be surprised if Harris takes over by the bye week.

Specialists -- K David Akers, P Sav Rocca, LS Jon Dorenbos – Same old, same old, but Rocca needs to step it up a bit. He wasn’t so great in the preseason.

 

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