Evaluating the Eagles' depth at every position

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Evaluating the Eagles' depth at every position originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

We’ve spent a good chunk of the offseason breaking down the Eagles’ starters in every imaginable way.

Where have they improved? Where have they gotten worse? Who are their most important additions? What key guys did they lose?

But we’re going to do something different and focus on the bottom half of the roster as Eagles training camp approaches.

Let’s forget about the starters for a minute and look at the backups. Where do the Eagles have the most depth and where is their depth lacking?

Training camp is really about the backups anyway. We all know who’s going to start. So here’s a look at the Eagles’ depth entering training camp.

Quarterback

Gardner Minshew is one of the better backup QBs in the league. His performance against the Jets – 20-for-25, 242 yards, two TDs, no INTs – was huge. Minshew’s 133.7 passer rating was highest by an Eagles QB in any regular-season game since Nick Foles’ perfect 158.3 in his seven-TD performance against the Raiders in 2013 and ninth-highest in franchise history in a road game.

Minshew also played well in the meaningless season-ender vs. the Cowboys despite being surrounded by backups. His 104.8 passer rating for the season was second-highest in franchise history with a minimum of 50 attempts, behind Foles’ 119.2 in 2013.

Likely third-stringer Carson Strong is a rookie with injury and mobility concerns but a strong arm and loaded college resume.

Depth grade: A

Running back 

Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell have both shown lots of ability.

Scott has averaged 4.4 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns on just 228 carries in three years in the rotation along with 8.0 yards on 62 catches.

Gainwell last year became only the second Eagles rookie ever with 250 yards both rushing and receiving along with a rushing average of at least 4.3, and he scored six TDs on just 101 touches.

Honestly, the Eagles’ biggest question at running back is Miles Sanders’ ability to stay healthy and not his backups. Scott has started 10 games since 2019, averaging 4.6 yards per carry with six TDs so he can fill in for a few games without a huge dropoff.

Depth grade: B.

Wide receiver 

We’ll consider Quez Watkins a third starter along with DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown since the Eagles (and everyone else) run so much three-wide.

But Zach Pascal – who had 150 catches and 15 TDs in four seasons with the Colts – gives the Eagles much-improved depth, and Greg Ward – with 88 catches and 10 TDs the last three years – is a decent slot.

Who knows where Jalen Reagor will fit in or if he’ll even be here. If the Eagles keep a sixth receiver it will likely be a young guy like Britain Covey, John Hightower or Devon Allen.

Depth grade: B-plus.

Tight end

Perennial fill-in Richard Rodgers, now in his ninth NFL season, is the most experienced backup, with 147 career receptions and 15 touchdowns. He only caught two passes last year and is 30 so who knows what he can give you.

Jack Stoll did play 331 snaps as an undrafted rookie last year but was only 4-for-22 receiving and so far at least appears to be a blocking specialist. Rookie 6th-round pick Grant Calcaterra was a capable receiver at Oklahoma and SMU but is only a project at this point and needs to improve his blocking. Tyree Jackson is also a project and still rehabbing his ACL. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the mix as well.

Stoll is the only lock to make the roster behind Goedert, so safe to wonder who's going to catch the ball if Goedert gets hurt and Rodgers isn’t on the roster.

Depth grade: D.

Offensive tackle

Things are a little dicey here. The Eagles are in great shape with starters Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata, but a lot of question marks beyond that.

Former 1st-round pick Andre Dillard is a serviceable left tackle but hasn’t shown he can play right tackle, and Jack Driscoll has started five games at right tackle but hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Veteran Le’Raven Clark has played both tackles but isn’t even a lock to make the team. Brett Toth has been around a few years, so he's in the mix too.

Ideally, you’d like one guy who can back up both tackles like Big V did, but right now the Eagles don’t have that.

Depth grade: C.

Offensive guard

With Nate Herbig gone, the Eagles’ top backup guard is Sua Opeta, who has four starts to his credit, and Driscoll also has a lot of experience at guard as well. The Eagles seem to like both Jack Anderson and Kayode Awosika but neither has much experience. Cam Jurgens could probably play guard in a pinch but the Eagles would love to let him focus on center.

Herbig, who started 17 games over the last two years, is definitely missed, but Opeta is solid.

Depth grade: C-plus.

Center

Tough to say, since Jurgens is a rookie. But there's a fair chance that a 2nd-round pick with Jurgens’ college resume who gets to work with Jeff Stoutland will turn out OK. Jason Kelce never gets hurt, so you don’t expect Jurgens to even get on the field this year, but if he has to, he’d probably be fine.

Kind of like Landon Dickerson, it might take him a few weeks to find his way, but he should be OK.

Depth grade: B-minus.

Defensive end

Assuming Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat are the starters and if we’re considering Haason Reddick a SAM linebacker, Derek Barnett becomes the top depth guy at end, with Tarron Jackson and Matt Leo also in the mix. Considering that Barnett has 21 ½ sacks in five seasons that’s not ideal.

B.G is coming off a serious injury and we don’t know how much playing time he’ll be able to handle, so defensive end depth is a concern.

Depth grade: D.

Defensive tackle

The Eagles are in terrific shape at defensive tackle, with Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Milton Williams. It’s an ideal situation since Cox at this point in his career will benefit from limited snaps, and Davis will as well.

All four will play, but if one of the starters gets hurt the Eagles are well-equipped to move the next guy up without a huge dropoff.

Depth grade: A.

Linebacker

Decent depth at weak and middle, not so much at SAM. Kyzir White, Nakobe Dean and Davion Taylor can all play weak side and T.J. Edwards and Dean can play in the middle, and special teamer Shaun Bradley can as well.

At strong-side, there isn’t much behind Reddick – just rookie 6th-round pick Kyron Johnson and last year’s 7th-round pick, Patrick Johnson.

Depth grade: C-plus.

Safety

Probably the biggest depth concern on the roster. With Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps expected to start, the only experienced depth is 49ers castoff Jaquiski Tartt and 3rd-year pro K’Von Wallace. Jared Mayden and Andre Chachere are in the mix as well, but overall it’s a little bit precarious.

Tartt could help, but it remains to be seen exactly what the Eagles have in the 30-year-old veteran.

Depth grade: D.

Cornerback

Counting Avonte Maddox as a starter along with Darius Slay and James Bradberry leaves a lot of prospects, none of whom are proven. Jimmy Moreland has 10 career starts but is now with his third team in three years. Zech McPhearson was a 4th-round pick last year and the rest are just young, fast guys with no real track record – Kary Vincent Jr., Josiah Scott, Mac McCain III, Tay Gowan, Craig James, Mario Goodrich, Josh Jobe and Josh Blackwell.

Throw ‘em out there at camp and see who sticks. It’ll be fun to watch, but there’s no guarantee any of them will be able to handle 70 snaps a game if one of the top three gets hurt. An option would be to move Maddox outside because it might be easier to replace a slot than an outside corner. But that's not his strength.

Either way, the Eagles have three guys they can count on along with a bunch of unknowns.

Depth grade: D.

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