A thought on every Eagles player on 90-man roster before final cuts

A thought on every Eagles player on 90-man roster before final cuts originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Training camp is over. So is preseason.

Pretty soon the Eagles will begin full preparations for their season opener in New England on Sept. 10.

But before final cuts on Tuesday, let’s go through the entire roster with one thought for each player who has made it this far.

We’ll go right down the roster, starting with No. 0.

RB D’Andre Swift: We saw everything we wanted to see from the Philly native this summer. He definitely has big-time speed but the most notable thing was how often he caught balls out of the backfield and even how much he lined up in the slot and out wide. Nick Sirianni’s offense hasn’t thrown to backs that much over the last two years but Swift could change that.

QB Jalen Hurts: Entering his near-MVP season a year ago, Hurts showed some flashes of what was to come. But he was much better this summer, playing at an elite level for most days of training camp. This was my eighth training camp covering the Eagles full-time and Hurts’ training camp this year was the best I have seen from an Eagles quarterback. He didn’t just show flashes of greatness; he was consistent with it and is now constantly hitting open guys but also throwing his top playmakers open.

CB Darius Slay: Sometimes Slay doesn't get the ball thrown his way very much in camp. But when he does, he still makes plays. There's a fear that he'll slow down now that he's 32 but I didn't see any evidence of that this summer. The Eagles better hope he can still be elite because they're counting on him.

OLB Nolan Smith: The rookie from Georgia is dealing with a shoulder injury, but before he was on the shelf he certainly looked the part. Smith definitely has some juice bending around the edge. What impresses me most is the way he accelerates around the corner, especially against larger offensive tackles. The elite traits pop.

K Jake Elliott: Apparently, Elliott just doesn’t miss anymore. The dude is automatic. One of the best kickers in the league. Also, love that he wears a bucket hat out to practice most days.

WR DeVonta Smith: There were times when Smith was in A.J. Brown’s shadow this summer but there were other times when he was the star of the show, especially in the joint practice against the Colts. Smith’s body control, especially on the sideline, is always impressive. He also looks bigger in his upper body this summer.

OLB Haason Reddick: We didn’t get to see a ton of Reddick. He entered camp with a groin injury and missed the end of camp after having thumb surgery, although the team still expects him back for the opener. But when Reddick did get out there, he still looked like an elite pass rusher.

QB Marcus Mariota: There was a period of one or two days this summer when I really thought Mariota was turning a corner but that was fleeting. He was just as inaccurate during practice as he was in the preseason games. Mariota is an under 63% guy in his career, but it’s fair to be a little worried about the prospect of needing him to win a couple games this year if it comes to that.

QB Tanner McKee: During the first couple weeks of practice, McKee looked solid and was already seemingly ahead of Ian Book for that No. 3 job. But during the preseason, we really saw McKee start to throw the ball downfield, which he hadn’t really done in practice. I loved what I saw from him. He was decisive, confident and consistently gave his guys chances to make plays. He could be a future backup quarterback with a ton of upside.

P Arryn Siposs: While Siposs was better than Ty Zentner, who didn’t even make it to final cuts, it’s not like he’s been great this summer. There are still too many inconsistencies with Siposs as a punter. It’s fair to point out that he seems to have a very good rapport with Elliott as the Eagles’ field goal holder.

WR A.J. Brown: Last year, the Eagles’ cheat code was Brown catching slants. They added another cheat code this summer: Brown catching back-shoulder balls from Hurts. There’s no way to defend them.

WR Olamide Zaccheaus: Slow start to camp for the Philly guy but he picked it up as practice went on and finished off his summer with an impressive catch through contact from Hurts against the Colts. But he’s still clearly behind Watkins as the No. 4 receiver.

RB Kenny Gainwell: Sirianni just really seems to trust Gainwell. That’s why we’re going to see him in high leverage situations like 2-minute drills. I’d still guess that Swift ends up with more touches but Gainwell is going to be close.

WR Quez Watkins: He finished training camp with a hamstring injury but I don’t think he’s in jeopardy of losing his slot receiver spot to Zaccheaus. Watkins didn’t have a tremendous training camp but he had some good moments. His highs were higher than Zaccheaus’s.

LB Nakobe Dean: The Eagles have never wavered that Dean is their starting MIKE linebacker. The first game action against the Browns was helpful and he got that forced fumble. And then I noticed him making some more splash plays in the week to follow. He might not be a Pro Bowler in his second NFL season, but I don’t think Dean is going to be an issue.

WR Britain Covey: Covey finished training camp with a hamstring injury, which might be enough to keep him off the initial roster. But it’s very clear he’s still the Eagles’ best option as a punt returner. He’s the smoothest back there during drills.

QB Ian Book: Once it became clear that McKee was ahead of him, Book’s practice reps plummeted. The writing was on the wall. Watching early in camp, all of Book’s passes were getting to his receivers but it looked like he needed everything he had to get them there; McKee’s throws looked effortless.

S Sydney Brown: If you want big-play potential, Brown offers it. The third-round pick plays with his hair on fire and the exact same guy we saw at Illinois showed up at the NovaCare Complex. If Brown plays this season, there will be big plays and big misses. But there’s an undeniable amount of juice he brings to the field. Eventually, he’s going to be a starter.

RB Trey Sermon: I was excited to watch Sermon this summer after waiting an entire year for it and I just didn’t see it. He was the fifth-best running back all summer behind the four guys who should make the team.

RB Rashaad Penny: He stayed healthy, which is the first good sign. It wasn’t a marvelous training camp but watching Penny on stretch runs is where he really shines. He shouldn’t be a high-volume runner but I’m officially intrigued to see what he can do behind the Eagles’ offensive line.

CB James Bradberry: Over the course of the summer, Bradberry kept getting extra reps in the slot and didn’t look out of place. This won’t be a permanent move but for matchups against bigger slot receivers or tight ends, this could be a tool in Sean Desai’s tool belt.

S Terrell Edmunds: If Edmunds had a great summer, the Eagles would have probably given him the bulk of first-team reps and gone into the season with him as the no-doubt starter. That didn’t happen. Didn’t see many mistakes from Edmunds but didn’t see flash plays either. It is notable that he got some linebacker reps. That could be a way to use him if he’s on the roster.

CB Josh Jobe: After earning a roster spot as UDFA last summer, Jobe followed it up with another fantastic training camp. This time, he earned the top backup job at outside corner, beating out rookie Kelee Ringo by a mile. Jobe even looked solid going against the first-team when Bradberry missed a couple practices. DeVonta Smith is a huge Josh Jobe fan and those two had some battles over the last month.

CB Avonte Maddox: The Eagles’ starting nickel corner is coming off a toe surgery this offseason and that was apparent at times this summer. Didn’t think Maddox had a great camp and his surgically repaired toe seemed to bother him at times. Maddox is an important piece of the Eagles’ defense, so this is something to keep in the back of your mind.

S Justin Evans: Coming into training camp, I didn’t think Evans had a chance to be a starter but it’s hard to ignore how many first-team reps he got late. Evans really began to show up in the games.

CB Mario Goodrich: The second-year cornerback out of Clemson was on his way to earning a roster spot before a groin injury this last week. Zech McPhearson landed on IR with a torn Achilles and Goodrich appeared ready to step in and replace him as the backup nickel. That could still happen. Was impressed by Goodrich’s coverage ability and some plays he made on the ball.

S Reed Blankenship: I’d give Blankenship the defensive MVP award from training camp. Blankenship was just always in the right spot and had five interceptions, including three against Deshaun Watson in those joint practices. He’s going to be just fine as a full-time starter.

CB Josiah Scott: Probably not a good sign that the Eagles trusted Scott to play last year but he was passed on the depth chart at nickel corner this summer by both McPhearson and Goodrich. He also didn’t get nearly as many reps at safety as he did a year ago.

RB Kennedy Brooks: The only times the Eagles went live (tackle to the ground) during training camp was when Brooks was the running back. And when the PR staff put out their depth chart, he was the only running back of the five not listed as a starter.

RB Boston Scott: Scott is just a really solid player. Sometimes we forget just how much bounce he has but Scott is an impressive runner and he has juice after the catch when he gets the ball in his hands. Some folks have asked me if he could lose his spot to Sermon but I don’t think it’s close.

DB Tristan McCollum: McCollum actually made some decent plays as a third-team safety but he was too buried on the depth chart.

CB Kelee Ringo: There’s a lot to like about Ringo, starting with his size/speed. But he’s a very raw player and that shows up. He’s a developmental cornerback with a ton of upside. What you saw in games showed up in practice: He struggled tracking the ball even when he had good coverage. Curious to see how he develops.

WR Deon Cain: Sometimes when you get veteran receivers in camp with a bunch of inexperienced youngsters, they look very good. That happened with Cain again this summer. But he doesn’t have the hype this year as he did last year.

CB Eli Ricks: The UDFA from Alabama got off to a slowish start but once the games began, he came to play. And then his play picked up in practice too. Ricks showed sticky coverage and ball skills to the point where I’m not sure the Eagles want to expose him to waivers.

LB Nicholas Morrow: Morrow came into camp as the favorite to be a starter and now I’m not sure he’s on the team. He made some plays here and there but there weren’t enough.

S K’Von Wallace: Wallace had more splash plays than Evans and Edmunds in practice but it seems more likely one of those guys will be a Week 1 starter. But Wallace had a solid summer and if he’s on the team could help as a third safety in some packages. And we know he’s a solid special teamer.

CB Mekhi Garner: While Ricks got talked about after his strong preseason performances, there were moments this summer when Garner outplayed him. Garner (6-2, 212) has safety size but doesn’t look too big to play corner.

WR Johnny King: After starting his summer with the Colts, King (6-5, 209) joined the Eagles mid-stream. He got to practice and caught a touchdown on a slant route in his very first practice. He’s not going to make the team but he put out some decent tape in the preseason.

LS Rick Lovato: I noticed a couple of high snaps from Lovato in the preseason but the only reason I saw them was because I was watching the holders closely in the punter battle. Lovato is a good long snapper.

TE Dan Arnold: Some folks thought Arnold would push for a roster spot. After all, he’s an NFL veteran who has had two 400-yard seasons in the league. But he’s buried on the depth chart, clearly behind at least four other players.

LB Tyreek Maddox-Williams: The Timber Creek and Rutgers product was signed last Saturday and practiced that very day. He had just three practices before having an impressive performance against the Colts in the preseason. That interception was a great moment.

OLB Patrick Johnson: Johnson suffered what appeared to be a serious ankle injury early in camp and needed to be carted off the field. But he eventually returned and played a ton in the final preseason game. I might be higher on Johnson than most. I think he offers some legitimate pass rush upside.

OT Fred Johnson: Big Fred (6-7, 326) just kept chipping away until he earned second-team left tackle reps. The Eagles ripped up his futures contract and signed him to a two-year deal, so he’ll be on the roster. Johnson is 26 so he’s not your normal developmental player but now that he’s in Stoutland University, it’ll be fun to track his progress.

OL Cam Jurgens: If Jurgens had struggled it’s possible the Eagles would have opened up the right guard competition but there was no reason to do that. While he’s not as big as Landon Dickerson or Brandon Brooks or even Isaac Seumalo, Jurgens has natural strength and understands leverage. He’s looked pretty solid all summer.

LB Zach Cunningham: When the Eagles signed both Cunningham and Myles Jack, I was more intrigued by Jack. Oops. Eventually, Cunningham earned first-team reps and the starting job while Jack retired. Cunningham’s long arms (34 3/8”) get in throwing lanes. We saw him deflect passes that were picked off by Blankenship in back-to-back days this summer.

LB Christian Elliss: The Eagles appear to be opting for experience by starting Cunningham next to Dean but Elliss earned the right to be in the discussion. He began training camp with an interception on Day 1 and while he didn’t flash every day, he had a very solid summer. If nothing else, Elliss is going to be on the team as a backup and special teamer.

DE Brandon Graham: With Reddick missing time, BG got some first-team reps and still brings the juice. He’s still a bowling ball as a pass rusher and can get to the QB, even though we don’t really need to see it in the summer.

OL Tyler Steen: The third-round pick looked much more comfortable at left tackle than he did at right guard, which is probably to be expected. He started as a left tackle at Alabama last year. As a backup, he’ll need to play multiple positions. For now, that’s right guard and left tackle but there’s no reason he should also be able to backup left guard and right tackle at some point.

LB Ben VanSumeren: The UDFA linebacker had a million tackles against the Colts — OK, 17 — but he’s still a raw player. He’s relatively new to the linebacker position and it’s obvious. But he has some potential as a future special teams contributor. I’d keep him on the practice squad.

OLB Kyron Johnson: Unfortunately for Johnson, he had an appendectomy recently and missed practices and games. For a guy on the bubble that’s not ideal. Early in camp, he was dominating UDFA Chim Okorafor.

DE Janarius Robinson: There’s no question that Robinson (6-5, 258) is physically imposing. And he had some flashes of pass rush ability in practice. He even batted down some passes this summer. But he was too inconsistent and struggled to get the QB down in the final preseason game.

C Jason Kelce: Didn’t need to see much from Kelce in the summer. But giant brawl aside, there are still moments when you see him 20 yards downfield blocking a linebacker and remember that he’s a special, special player.

OL Jack Driscoll: It’s clear that Driscoll is on the roster as a backup at multiple spots but I didn’t think he had a particularly strong training camp as the backup right tackle. Of course, there’s something to be said of the Eagles’ depth at edge rusher. Those are some tough matchups without any help in training camp.

OL Brett Toth: The Eagles started Toth out this summer at center, which was the position Jeff Stoutland said was Toth’s best. But there were a ton of unforced errors on shotgun snaps and eventually the Eagles had to sign Josh Andrews to take over that job. And when Toth got bumped to the third team, he wasn’t even a center anymore. Not great. This experiment might be over.

OT Lane Johnson: The best right tackle in the NFL was a brick wall all summer. Even during these joint practices, didn’t see anyone give Johnson fits. I was very impressed with Nolan Smith this summer going against anyone not named Lane Johnson.

OL Roderick Johnson: The Eagles added Roderick Johnson to their practice squad last September but he didn’t do much to stand out this summer. He was mostly buried on the depth chart on the third team.

DT Olive Sagapolu: The Eagles didn’t add Sagapolu until Aug. 14 but he had a good third preseason game, drawing a holding penalty on All-Pro offensive guard Quenton Nelson. He’s not going to make the roster at a stacked position but he put out some good tape.

DT Caleb Sanders: Sanders, who had a nice career at South Dakota State, was added on Aug. 19 so he didn’t have much time to make an impression.

OL Cameron Tom: Tom has been with the Eagles since last July and he just finished his second training camp. He’s not going to make the roster but could stick around on the practice squad or could always be a call away. Tom can play guard and center.

OT Jordan Mailata: Some of the most fun battles in training camp were Josh Sweat vs. Mailata. If I had to give an edge to one or the other, I’d probably give the nod to Sweat. But that’s certainly not a shot at Mailata. Sweat is already a Pro Bowl caliber edge rusher and is still ascending. Good work for Mailata over the last month.

OG Landon Dickerson: I hear a lot that Dickerson has been able to stay healthy during the first couple years of his career, which is partially true. But more accurately, he just plays through the injuries he suffers. He got dinged up a couple times in camp but never missed a day. He’s a tough dude. Dickerson is playing at a high level despite any nicks and bruises.

DT Moro Ojomo: Before Ojomo suffered a scary concussion in the second preseason game, he was really hitting his stride. The seventh-rounder from Texas flashed more and more as the pads went on and the summer continued. I thought he did enough to earn a roster spot but we’ll see what happens because of the injury.

OG Josh Sills: After Sills was acquitted on rape and kidnapping charges in Ohio, he rejoined the Eagles and was immediately plugged in as the second-team left guard. But Sills struggled and fell behind Sua Opeta for that position and was dropped to third team. It wasn’t a good sign for Sills to be playing so deep into the third preseason game.

DT Marvin Wilson: The Eagles brought back Big Marv on Aug. 19 so he didn’t have much time in camp. But Wilson has been with the Eagles before. He played in two games with the Eagles over the last two seasons, including a tough outing against the Texans last November, when the Eagles decided to play him at nose tackle.

OL Josh Andrews: After Toth really struggled at the beginning of camp as the second-team center, the Eagles signed the 32-year-old veteran on Aug. 6 and it really helped give that second-team offense a boost. Andrews has a shot to make the roster and if not, could stick around on the practice squad. Although, it’s pretty clear the Eagles’ backup center in 2023 will be their starting right guard.

LB Quinton Bell: Bell was added on Aug. 19. The one thing that really stood out about Bell? His height. At 6-4, 251 pounds and wearing No. 74, Bell almost looked like a defensive lineman.

DE Tarron Jackson: The best moment for Jackson came in the second half of the Browns game when he got some solid pressure. But after a really flashy 2022 offseason, Jackson had a much quieter summer this year. The 2021 sixth-round pick is at a position with a ton of depth too.

OG Tyrese Robinson: Robinson is a first-year guard out of Oklahoma and was buried on the depth chart this summer. There are more intriguing options to make the roster and even to stick around on the practice squad.

OL Julian Good-Jones: Good-Jones is someone who didn’t get talked about much this summer but he had a sneaky good camp. Good-Jones was with the Eagles in 2020 before playing for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL for a couple seasons. He returned on a futures contract in January and proved this summer to be an improved player from his first stint. With the ability to play guard and center and with some upside, he could be a good fit on the practice squad.

OG Sua Opeta: It’s hard to believe Opeta has been with the Eagles since going undrafted out of Weber State back in 2019. He has played in 25 games with 4 starts in his career. Sills was thrown out there as the second-team left guard but Opeta eventually took back that spot and didn’t suit up for the third preseason game, a good sign.

OT Dennis Kelly: With some questionable depth at tackle entering camp, the Eagles brought back the 33-year-old veteran. Kelly has played a ton in the NFL and seemed like an ideal fit as a swing tackle. But Kelly struggled to the point where he was bumped down to the third team and, in my opinion, didn’t do enough to earn a roster spot. If the Eagles are concerned about their depth, maybe they keep him on the practice squad as an option down the line.

TE Tyree Jackson: It wasn’t the flashy kind of camp we’ve seen from Jackson in the past but he still made some big plays. And with his 6-7 frame and obvious abilities, he’s still an intriguing prospect. The problem is that Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra seemingly have the team made. Jackson got off to a slower start this summer but made some plays later and did some good things in the final preseason game.

TE Grant Calcaterra: After missing so much time in his rookie training camp, Calcaterra stayed healthy this year and had a solid few weeks. He began camp and finished strong with a bit of a lull in the middle. But Calcatarra is a polished receiver who continues to improve as a blocker. He’s still behind Jack Stoll but maybe not forever.

WR Devon Allen: After missing the beginning of camp on the Non-Football Injury list with a calf injury, Allen didn’t do a ton at practice to warrant much attention. But he had a strong preseason finale with that long kick return to start the game and a few notable plays as a gunner. Aside from one long touchdown on a busted coverage, the most notable moments for Allen in practice came as a gunner on a punt team. His pure speed helps there but he’s also tougher than you might expect from a track athlete.

TE Brady Russell: The UDFA from Colorado was working in with the threes most of the summer but managed to make a play here or there and had a nice touchdown catch in the second preseason game to secure the tie against the Browns. Also, great head of hair on this kid; love the lettuce.

WR Greg Ward Jr.: Mariota played with Zaccheaus last year in Atlanta so I expected them to have some sort of rapport and look good together. They didn’t. But Mariota did seem to have a connection with Ward, whose time with the Eagles dates all the way back to 2017. For a long time this camp, Ward was clearly the best receiver working after the starters. Unfortunately, Ward dealt with an ankle injury late in training camp. Not sure what to do with the 28-year-old. The Eagles’ receiving corps has come a long way since he was featured in the offense but he’s still a reliable guy if injuries ever hit.

WR Joseph Ngata: The big UDFA from Clemson got off to a strong start in camp and began to earn some hype. But we’ve seen big-bodied receivers do this before. Get some hype in camp but then never really deliver on it as time goes on. The same was true for Ngata, who really struggled to separate from defensive backs, especially in the final preseason game going against the Colts’ starters.

WR Jadon Haselwood: Another UDFA receiver, Haselwood never got the hype like Ngata but he very quietly had a more consistent summer working as a second or third team slot receiver. He’s a smaller guy but has some juice and pretty good hands.

TE Dallas Goedert: For all the talk about Brown and Smith — and it was warranted — Goedert might have had the best camp of the trio. He was targeted a ton and it’s clear how much Hurts trusts him. Goedert was on his way to a 1,000-yard season and a likely Pro Bowl nod before his shoulder injury forced him to miss five games last year. There’s no reason to expect any less production in 2023. Goedert’s spatial awareness is next level. If there’s zone coverage, he’s finding the weak spot and Hurts is getting him the ball.

TE Jack Stoll: The Eagles targeted Calcaterra and even Jackson way more in the pass game than Stoll, which is to be expected. Stoll’s main job is as a blocker when the Eagles are in 12 personnel. But I haven’t seen the growth in Stoll as a pass catcher that you might have been hoping for. Even when he does catch the ball, it doesn’t look as smooth as some others. He’s a good fit as the No. 2 in the role the Eagles carved out for him but if Goedert misses time again, he’s not an ideal replacement.

DT Jordan Davis: Training camp started with everyone noticing that Davis looked different. He said he didn’t lose a bunch of weight but he definitely looked slimmer and his body composition changed. As he enters Year 2 as a starter at nose tackle, that conditioning is important. The other big change for Davis was how much he played in four-man fronts this summer. Last year in Jonathan Gannon’s defense, Davis really just played nose tackle in the five-man front. So this is a welcome addition to his game. Although, on pure passing downs, he’s probably still not the first choice to be on the field given the Eagles’ depth at DT.

DT Fletcher Cox: A quiet camp for the six-time Pro Bowler. Don’t need to see much from Cox in the preseason. It’s all about getting him to the season healthy and hoping he can still be productive.

DT Milton Williams: On a defensive line with a bunch of first-round picks, it can be easy to lose Williams at times. But he’s just solid. As he enters Year 3, Williams has starter potential but the Eagles just drafted a guy with the No. 9 pick. Carter is going to have higher highs but the Eagles can trust Williams and expect him to be a consistent contributor, just like he was in the second half of last season after he healed up from some nagging injuries.

DE Josh Sweat: If you don’t want to give the defensive MVP of training camp to Mr. 5 Interceptions Reed Blankenship, then it goes to Sweat. He was dominant all summer against the Eagles and against the Browns and Colts during joint practices. After his first double digit sack season in 2022, Sweat could break out even more in 2023.

DT Marlon Tuipulotu: The Eagles don’t have Linval Joseph anymore so their new backup nose tackle behind Davis is Tuipulotu. The third-year DT out of USC had a good summer coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2022. It’s worth pointing out that the Eagles played Tuipulotu a ton before that injury last year and he’ll be in the rotation again this season.

DE Derek Barnett: The most notable thing about Barnett this summer was when the Eagles restructured his contract to make it more palatable in 2023. That’s a good sign that he’s sticking around. Barnett had some good moments this summer but some of them came rushing as a defensive tackle, which is new for him. And, yes, there were the aggressive moments and the shoving and the chippy play. Barnett has earned that reputation and he lived up to it in training camp, especially in the final joint practice. You always worry about the personal fouls but the Eagles like that edge he brings until that point.

DT Kentavius Street: The veteran defensive tackle started slow but flashed more as camp went on. I was surprised to see that Street didn’t suit up for the preseason finale, which some think is an indicator he has the team made. I’m not exactly sure what to make of it.

DT Jalen Carter: The Jalen Carter hype train has left the station. There’s just no denying the rare physical gifts the No. 9 pick in the draft has shown this summer. The key for Carter will be to find the consistency in his rookie season. Because the flashes were pretty incredible and all of his teammates took notice. Nolan Smith got a lot of buzz early but there’s no question the rookie the Eagles are most excited about entering 2023 is Carter.

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