Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman continue to shape and re-shape the Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster. The final cuts on the 31st weren’t exactly “final” and some players you may have hoped for the practice squad haven’t made it.
The biggest names of the final cuts included 2011 first-round bust Danny Watkins, Clay Harbor, Chris McCoy, Greg Salas and Russell Shepard. Watkins wasn’t a surprise, but Harbor, McCoy and both Salas and Shepard were mildly surprising.
Notable names that didn’t get cut and who are still on the roster are Casey Matthews, Kurt Coleman, Emil Igwenagu and Jeff Maehl. They kept Matthews over McCoy? Igwenagu over Harbor? Maehl over Salas and Shepard?
And both of the starting safeties who were large parts of the last two historically bad seasons in the secondary are still here?
Special teams, that’s what gives. That’s the only logical reason I can think of as to why the roster shook out like it did. Ultimately, we’re talking the back-end of the roster and those players absolutely must contribute on special teams.
Maehl certainly didn’t out-perform Salas or Shepard in camp or preseason. Matthews certainly didn’t out-perform McCoy and likewise for Igwenagu over Harbor. For all his faults as a safety, Coleman is a feisty player and valuable on special teams.
And if you didn’t notice, the Eagles’ special teams were pretty good during the preseason. If these guys make that unit better during the regular season, we won’t be worrying about guys like McCoy, Harbor and Salas anytime soon.
CB Curtis Marsh and LB Emmanuel Acho made the initial 53-man roster but have since been released in favor of CB Shaun Prater and LB Najee Goode.
Prater is a 5′ 10″, 190 lb corner who was a fifth-round draft pick by the Bengals in 2012. He spent all of last season on injured reserve with patella tendonitis and didn’t survive the final cuts in Cincy this year.
Coming out of Iowa, Prater was considered as a feisty, physical player who projected to the slot in the NFL and, coincidentally, as an immediate contributor on special teams.
Goode is a 6′, 244 lb linebacker who was also selected in the fifth round of the 2012 draft by Tampa Bay. He didn’t get on the field last season for the Bucs in their regular defense, but again, he’s another guy they like for special teams.
This preseason, Goode actually played as the WILL in the Bucs’ 4-3 defense but it’s believed the Eagles see him more as an inside guy. Coming out of West Virgina, he was seen as a versatile player who could serve as a backup for all three linebacker positions in a 4-3.
So again, these moves were about versatility and special teams prowess.
As for the eight practice squad spots, the Eagles have filled six so far. Four of the six were with the Eagles: WR Greg Salas, RB Matthew Tucker, T Michael Bamiro and LB Travis Long.
The two others are safeties Keelan Johnson and Trenton Robinson.
Johnson was a UDFA pick-up by the Dolphins this past April and Robinson was a sixth-round draft pick of the 49ers last year (connection to Tom Gamble).
The Eagles didn’t have a chance to add Russell Shepard and/or Chris McCoy to the practice squad because they were claimed by the Bucs and Jags respectively.
They have two spots left for the practice squad. It’s very possible that Acho gets one of them if he clears waivers. The last spot? Hey, Momah is still out there!
*Quick update: Isaac Remington was added to the practice squad today, bringing the total to seven with one spot left to fill. Remington came into training camp with the Eagles as a defensive lineman but later transitioned to offensive lineman.
Chip loves versatility! If Acho clears waivers, he’s still my guess as to who fills the final spot.
The Eagles’ 53-man roster as it stands right now:
QB (3): Vick, Foles, Barkely
RB (3): McCoy, Brown, Polk
WR (5): Jackson, Cooper, Avant, Johnson, Maehl
TE (4): Celek, Ertz, Casey, Igwenagu (TE/FB hybrid)
OL (9): Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, Johnson, Vandervelde, Barbre, Tobin, Kelly
DL (7): Cox, Sopoaga, Thornton, Curry, Logan, Square, Geathers
OLB (3): Cole, Barwin, Graham
ILB (5): Ryans, Kendricks, Knott, Matthews, Goode
CB (6): Williams, Fletcher, Boykin, Poyer, Hughes, Prater
S (5): Allen, Chung, Coleman, Anderson, Wolff
ST (3): Henery, Dorenbos, Jones