2021 has been the Year of Change for the Philadelphia Eagles. As the team is finishing up Week 2 of training camp, many positions still lack a true starter. But starter or not, it’s never too early for a 53-man roster predictions.
EAGLES 2021 53-MAN ROSTER PREDICTIONS
Quarterback (2) : Jalen Hurts & Joe Flacco
Though head coach Nick Sirianni has yet to name a starting quarterback, it seems pretty realistic that Jalen Hurts will be QB1. Hurts has been making steady progress in training camp and has done everything asked of him to prove he’s our guy moving forward.
Although a former Super Bowl MVP, Flacco is coming off a terrible season with the New York Jets. He finished the 2020 season with a 55.2 completion percentage and an 80.6 quarterback rating. The Eagles also have Nick Mullens; however, he’ll likely be retained to the practice squad.
Running back (5) : Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson & Jason Huntley
With eight running backs currently signed, the Eagles will go heavy with Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and rookie Kenneth Gainwell. Though Sanders doesn’t get the praise he deserves around the league, he is a promising running back who Sirianni will look to utilize more this season.
The Eagles claimed Johnson off of waivers earlier this offseason, and he’ll sneak by due to his pass protection. However, he’s been battling health concerns after knee injuries during both of his seasons with the Detroit Lions. Huntley will compete for the kick returner job as he may be the best option for Philadelphia.
Wide receiver (5) : DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, & Quez Watkins
Philadelphia’s prized possession DeVonta Smith has been sitting out of training camp due to a strained knee; however, come Week 1, fans should be excited for what he will bring to the field.
After a poor rookie season, Reagor will have much to prove this year. Last week he failed his conditioning test, but, after some tough love from Sirianni, he seems to be making positive strides in training camp.
Fulgham was the Eagles’ leading receiver last season, but he lacked consistency. Ward signed a one-year exclusive-rights free agent tender earlier this year, so we would expect him to be on the roster. Though fans didn’t see much of Watkins in 2020, he’s made good plays and will likely stick around as a depth option.
Tight end (3) : Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers
Though rumors have run rampant all offseason regarding a trade for Zach Ertz, I don’t think he’s going anywhere. The Eagles could save $8.5 million if they got rid of him, but Philadelphia’s only reasonable option would be Dallas Goedert. Personally, I don’t think it’s the brightest idea just yet. No one knows how this team will play come the 2021 season, so keeping a well-versed veteran who already understands the team’s dynamics is their best bet.
Since there have been talks regarding an extension for Goedert, it’s likely, however, that the Eagles could give him the TE1 position.
Rodgers recently re-signed with the Eagles. He is familiar with plays as he filled in for Goedert following an injury during the 2020 season.
Offensive line (9) : Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson, Andre Dillard, Jack Driscoll, & Nate Herbig
Sirianni has been firm on competition at every position, and the one for left tackle has caused a lot of speculation. However, since the beginning of training camp, it seems like a no-brainer that Mailata has already won the job. Dillard will remain as a backup.
Seuamlo will take left guard. Kelce is back for another season, with Landon Dickerson signed to the team to eventually take over the center position. The caveat here is no one knows when Dickerson will be 100% healthy. Will, the Eagles, play him in another position to acquaint him to the field, or do they delay game time to continue rehabbing his knee?
Brooks and Johnson are also returning after injuries last season and will continue to handle the right side. Driscoll is the top backup at Johnson’s position, and Herbig showed growth the previous season after beating out Matt Pryor a start in Week 1.
Defensive end (5) : Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, & Tarron Jackson
Graham is entering his twelfth season with the Eagles. After making his first Pro Bowl in 2020, he is one of Philadelphia’s best players and is a roster lock-in.
During training camp, Sweat has been dominating as the best edge rusher. Though he may have a one-up on Barnett, defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon recently stated that he views both players as starters.
The Eagles recently acquired Kerrigan from the Washington Football Team. Kerrigan has a career total of 454 tackles and 95.5 sacks. Everyone knows you can’t win a game without a good defense, making him the perfect addition to the team. Tarron Jackson is a toss-up here. The rookie was drafted in 2021; however, if the Eagles view him as a long-term player, Jackson may see [very little] field time to gauge his performance.
Defensive tackle (5) : Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Hassan Ridgeway, Milton Williams, & Marlon Tuipulotu
Madden 22 recently placed Cox as the No. 2 defensive lineman in the NFL. Both Hargrave and Ridgeway are healthy again, and if they can remain that way, both should be solid additions.
Williams and Tuipulotu are rookies, but both come with strengths. Williams is a versatile player who led Louisiana Tech with 108 tackles and ten sacks. Additionally, Tuipulotu encompasses upper body strength bringing force to Philadelphia.
Linebacker (6) : Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, T.J. Edwards, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor, & JaCoby Stevens
The Eagles signed Wilson after completing the best season of his career with the Minnesota Vikings. He started in 15 games, achieving career-highs in tackles, tackles for loss, and interceptions.
Singleton was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list as of Friday. Last season, he led the Eagles in tackles (120). He signed a one-year exclusive-rights free agent tender earlier this offseason.
Edwards, Bradley, and Taylor have a lot to prove some this season. Stevens is another rookie out of the 2021 NFL Draft who is transitioning from safety to linebacker.
Cornerback (5) : Darius Slay, Steven Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Craig James, & Zech McPhearson
The position all Eagles fans have been talking about — cornerback. Slay joins Cox (and Goedert) on Madden 22’s list this year. He is a roster lock-in, and opposite of him will be Steven Nelson, who the Eagles recently signed from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Maddox is the favorite for the nickel corner. James and McPhearson will add depth.
Safety (5) : Rodney McLeod, Anthony Harris, Andrew Adams, K’Von Wallace, & Marcus Epps
McLeod is coming off a knee injury, and it remains unclear whether he will be ready for Week 1. Harris and Adams were the first two free agents the Eagles signed this offseason and come with experience. Wallace and Epps are both signed beyond 2021.
Kicker (1) : Jake Elliott
The struggle was real last season for Elliott. This offseason, he has been practicing at local high school and collegiate fields and is looking to regain confidence.
Punter (1) : Arryn Siposs
Siposs entered camp as the Eagles only punter.
Long snapper (1) : Rick Lovato
Lovato has been with the Eagles since 2016, starting in 2017. He is signed through 2024, so there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t make this list.
This year the NFL put new guidelines into motion. The Eagles will now begin to see cuts made in the coming weeks. The first five will come on August 17 with the roster reducing to 80 players on August 24 and the final 53 on August 31.