2020 Philadelphia Eagles Roster Breakdown
It’s no secret that the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles will have some new personnel and even some old faces in new places. This roster is full of potential but, with potential comes uncertainty. After DeSean Jackson went down in week 2 with his core injury, there was no one to open up the field behind him on the depth chart. New speed targets acquired through the draft and trades have Eagles fans elated with the opportunity to see what Carson Wentz, and many others, can do with some targets that take safeties out of the box! Along with the additions of Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman (#SlotGawd, we out here!), and Will Parks, the defensive side of the ball may be the best we’ve seen in over a decade. However, with 92 personnel currently assigned to the squad, there will be some camp battles that don’t end well for some. We will be taking a look at how the roster may look come September.
There’s little wonder about the quarterback position for Philadelphia for many years to come. We all know walk-it-em Wentz is our guy. Period. I’m done with the slander of this dude. Stop saying Nick Foles did better than him because he won us a ship (thank you, Nick). Stop saying we drafted Jalen Hurts to take Carson’s spot. It’s not going to happen. Do you want to know why we drafted Jalen Hurts? Let me ask you a simple question, do you want Nate Sudfeld leading this team if Carson does go down? I didn’t think so. The back-up quarterback position in Philadelphia is a wonderful job to have and Jalen Hurts is a very athletically gifted quarterback and he is leaps and bounds better than Nate Sudfeld, regardless of how well he knows the system.
Stay: Carson Wentz, Jalen Hurts, Nate Sudfeld
Go: Kyle Lauletta
This is where things get a little more fun for me as a writer because there are some names on the backend of the Eagles roster, due to some great undrafted free agent pick-ups, that have some Eagles fans excited. I’m not even here to kill your vibes on this one either. I’M A MAN OF THE PEOPLE, D**N IT! We know that Miles Sanders is the lead dog in this fight. After totally 1,300+ total yards and 5.6 yard-per-touch as a rookie, the sky is the limit for this man. The question begins after Sanders. Who will spell him in the running back by committee that Dougie Fresh and Duce Staley utilize? Boston Scott had a fantastic run down the stretch for the Eagles, slow spin move and all. Corey Clement was a super bowl hero for that toe tap in the end zone but hasn’t registered a rushing stat since the midway point in the 2018 season. Do you want to rely on an oft-injured 26 year old running back in todays NFL? Probably not. Finally, we have the two Undrafted Free Agents, Adrian Killins Jr and Michael Warren II. These two running backs couldn’t be further apart from each other. Adrian Killins is a sure-handed speed demon who can punish an entire defense with one missed tackle, while Michael Warren is an absolute brute of a man that can punish any defender coming at him between the tackles like he’s vintage Jerome Bettis. So which one makes the cut? Ultimately, I give the edge to Warren because the type of running back the Eagles are in need of at this point. That’s not to diminish Killins’ capability as a running back, and the Eagles may even look to bring him back on the practice squad.
Stay: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Michael Warren II
Go: Elijah Holyfield, Adrian Killins
Wide receiver is always a position that garner’s scrutiny from the Eagles faithful because we’ve seen what Wentz can do with legitimate speed threats to open up the middle of the field. So why was there no contingency plan for a 32 year-old wide receiver that hasn’t played a full 16 games this decade? Howie really rolled out the red carpet on trading for DeSean and had no back up plan if the guy who has a history of soft tissue injuries gets hurt. Let’s not relive 2019, I’m over it. Anyways, Howie clearly learned from his mistake with DeSean. Howie Roseman utilized the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to take Jalen Reagor out of Texas Christian University. Not only did he grab reagor, he grabbed TWO more speedsters in John Hightower and Quez Watkins, while also utilizing a pick swap to take on former Olympian Marquise Goodwin from San Francisco. If there’s one thing we can all say for Howie Roseman, he learns from his mistakes. Along with these players added, the team will be able to bring back a healthy, and motivated, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and 2020 let down J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. 2020 unsung heroes Greg Ward, Deontay Burnett and Robert Davis will be fighting for a roster spot as well. Ultimately, there’s only so many players that you can keep and given the Eagles’ affinity for injured wide receivers, I expect them to retain some of these cut players via the practice squad as well.
Stay: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor
Go: Manasseh Bailey, Deontay Burnett, Robert Davis, Shelton Gibson, Marcus Green, Khalil Tate, Greg Ward Jr., Quez Watkins
Do I really even need to do a guess at tight end? Ertz, Goedert and Perkins are locks. It really comes down to the Eagles carrying a fourth tight end and I don’t feel like they do. I do think one of Alex Ellis and Noah Togiai make the practice squad as insurance but that’s beside the point. This position is as close to locked in as it comes on this roster.
Stay: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins
Go: Alex Ellis, Noah Togiai
The offensive line is a tale of two faces. On the surface, we’re locked into three future hall of fame players and two reliable starters. Once you start digging deeper, you realize just how much trouble the Eagles may be in come the 2021 offseason. Jason Kelce has flirted with retirement, Brandon Brooks has injured both his achilles’ now, Lane Johnson isn’t getting any younger, and 38 year old Jason Peters’ return comes with a new position on a side of the line that he has never played. The potential replacements for these players are less than ideal. The Eagles have practice squad center Luke Juriga and undrafted free agent center Keegan Render as potential heirs to Jason Kelce at the moment. At guard, the Eagles just had to bring back a 38 year old hall of fame left tackle to play right guard for them because their depth consists of Matt Pryor, Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig and Julian Good-Jones. Tackle looks somewhat promising depending on your viewing of the Eagles’ Ausi-Rugby project Jordan Mailata. In addition to this, the additions of swing tackle/guard Jack Driscoll and Prince Tega-Wanogho proves the Eagles are not content with their depth at key positions on the line.
Stay: Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Matt Pryor, Andre Dillard, Jack Discoll, Lane Johnson Jordan Mailata, Prince Tega-Wanogho
Go: Luke Juriga, Keegan Render, Brandon Brooks (IR), Julian Good-Jones, Nate Herbig, Sua Opeta, Casey Tucker
The defensive line may be the exact opposite of the offensive side of the ball. The Eagles have an embarrassment of riches at the position. An abundance of good pass rushers and run stuffers is exactly what makes the Eagles work though. The breakout of Josh Sweat is one of the biggest story lines of 2020 for me. I look for him to supplant Derek Barnett as the everyday starter opposite Brandon Graham by the end of the season, and that’s impressive coming from a relatively injured Florida State pass rusher coming out of college. Derek Barnett usually gives us quality over quantity but is frequently injured, which allows Genard Avery to rotate in on schemed plays. Defensive tackle is no different. Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargraves will have opposing quarterbacks quivering before every snap. Then you rotate in a fresh, and healthy, Malik Jackson with Hassan Ridgeway or Brandon Graham moving inside and it’s over. Even late season pass rusher Anthony Rush and undrafted free agent Raequan Williams could push for bottom of the roster, roster spots.
Stay: Genard Avery, Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Malik Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway
Go: Matt Leo, Shareef Miller, Joe Ostman, Casey Toohill, Bruce Hector, Albert Huggins, Anthony Rush, Raequan Williams
This is easily the worst position on the Eagles roster and it’s not close with number two. The Eagles linebacking core mostly consists of unknowns, special team aces and rookies. Nathan Gerry is the one known commodity in the group and we all know how great his tackling is. So great that Schwartz wants him to sign an extension. Don’t get me started on this dude because I won’t stop. Second year linebacker T.J. Edwards was one of the lone bright spots for the group a year ago and he only saw action when others were injured or schemed in. Free agent Jatavis Brown signed a one-year deal with the team and is known for being excellent in pass coverage but has the same tackling issues we spoke of on Gerry. Rookies Shaun Bradley and Davion Taylor will have a learning curve when it comes to NFL game speed and learning the playbook. That leaves us with special teamer Duke Riley, oft-injured Alex Singleton and Dante Olson. Not the most inspiring group of linebackers.
Stay: Shaun Bradley, Jatavis Brown, T.J. Edwards, Nathan Gerry, Davion Taylor
Go: Dante Olson, Duke Riley, Alex Singleton
This is the most excited I’ve been about the cornerback room since Philadelphia brought Byron Maxwell in. Yes, my excitement is peaked by mediocrity but that’s not what it’s going to be this time! The Eagles traded their 3rd and 5th round picks to the Detroit Lions to bring in Mr. Big Play Darius Slay to the city of brotherly love! How beautiful is that statement to say after having watched the likes of Bradley Flatcher patrol the secondary in Philadelphia? Darius Slay is a TRUE. LOCKDOWN. CORNER! FINALLY! He has the lowest completion percentage allowed since 2016 and that’s in a man coverage scheme that Detroit runs almost every play. If you can’t tell already, I’m a little bit excited. However, the battle for cornerback opposite Slay will be a battle to watch as well. Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones look to go into camp with an absolute slugfest for the CB2 spot. You may even here Rasul Douglas making a push at the CB2 spot! In the slot, Nickell Robey-Coleman looks to lock it down unless Avonte or Cre’Von LeBlanc make a major push.
Stay: Sidney Jones, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Avonte Maddox, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Darius Slay, Trevor Williams
Go: Grayland Arnold, Rasul Douglas, Michael Jacquet III, Craig James, Elijah Riley, Tremon Smith, Prince Smith Jr.
After the departure of franchise corner piece Malcolm Jenkins, it’s hard to find a replacement that led this defensive since his arrival. As with every key departure, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve drank some beers, now let’s look forward and move on. It’s hard to see there not being a bright future at the safety position. Jim Schwartz is moving Jalen Mills to his natural position at safety, Rodney McLeod, another key defensive leader, has returned, K’Von Wallace was an absolute steal in the fourth round of the draft and Philly-native Will Parks has come home to suit up in midnight green. Notable backups Marcus Epps and Rudy Ford are also still on the roster but, will probably be battling each other for one of the last roster spots.
Stay: Rudy Ford, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace
Go: Marcus Epps
Stay: Jake Elliott (PK), Cameron Johnston (P), Rick Lovato (LS)
So, this is it. My 53 man roster projection prior to camp or any other news comes out. I pray to the football gods that the Eagles are blessed with good health because a repeat of 2019, with this much talent, is unacceptable. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)