Eagles Observations: 5 takeaways from the initial 53-man roster
The stage is set. After a long-winded training camp and preseason, the Eagles have finally announced their initial 53-man roster for the 2022 NFL season.
Here’s what Philly’s roster looks like heading into the season, per the Eagles website:
As always, there were a few surprises, along with several no-brainers scattered across the 53-man roster. Here are five takeaways from the initial 53 in Philly.
Eagles opt to carry just 2 quarterbacks
They don’t call us the Quarterback Factory for nothing. Typically, Howie and Co. like to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster at all times. Reid Sinnett was the clear favorite to snag the final spot on the QB depth chart, but the team opted to waive the 25-year-old signal caller, leaving the team with just Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew on the initial 53.
If Sinnett clears waivers — which is the likely scenario — he’ll more than likely be brought back on the practice squad. If the team suffers a major injury to the position, Sinnett will be activated to help fill the void.
As long as the Eagles stay relatively healthy at quarterback, this shouldn’t be an issue. At the end of the day, the team has too much talent scattered throughout the roster to keep three QBs.
Jalen Reagor makes the cut; Deon Cain, Devon Allen, and Britain Covey get waived
To the dismay of most Eagles fans, Jalen Reagor will in fact be on the 53-man roster this season. I still have some hope for the kid, but I’m completely aware that he’s on thin ice entering the 2022 season.
There was plenty of speculation that Reagor could be dealt during cutdown day. Throughout the entire offseason, rumors swirled about a potential Reagor trade. But alas, he’ll be here come Week 1 (probably).
As for the best of the rest, Deon Cain, Devon Allen, and Britain Covey all had their supporters. Cain balled out throughout the preseason, Allen showcased his speed with every chance he got, and while Covey didn’t do a whole lot during preseason play, his ability in the return game led many to believe he had a real shot at earning a roster spot.
Nevertheless, each of these wideouts will almost certainly be signed to the practice squad if they clear waivers.
Eagles ride with just three RBs; could a fourth be on the way?
Keeping four backs on the opening day roster felt like a foregone conclusion for the Eagles. They’re a run-first team that utilized four backs last season; carrying four this time around just made sense.
As training camp and the preseason went on, it became clear that neither Jason Huntley nor Kennedy Brooks were in line to snag a roster spot. Neither of them stood out in any kind of significant way, so their omission from the final 53 isn’t all that surprising.
Despite only listing three backs initially, that doesn’t mean Howie Roseman isn’t working behind the scenes to potentially sign or trade for a proven back to round out his backfield. The Kareem Hunt rumors have run rampant over the past month or so, there’s been some chatter about a possible Alexander Mattison trade, and veteran back Kenyan Drake is on the open market. The Eagles have some optionality here.
If the Eagles are going to add to this roster before Week 1, running back is the position they’ll likely key in on.
Three undrafted rookies crack the final roster
Three undrafted rookies managed to earn a roster spot, two in the defensive backfield and one along the offensive line. CB Josh Jobe, S Reed Blankenship, and G Josh Sills have all been standouts throughout camp and the preseason, but it’s still a little surprising the Eagles brass opted to keep all three of them around.
Especially for Blankenship. The team released veteran Anthony Harris to make room for the rookie; the guy most fans expected to be a full-time starter in 2022. But if we follow the tea leaves this offseason in terms of Jonathan Gannon’s defensive personnel, going with Blankenship over Harris isn’t that shocking at all.
Like most of the safeties populating the Eagles roster, Blankenship is versatile. During the preseason, the UDFA spent time in the box (45 total snaps), at free safety (69), and in the slot (11). Harris, on the other hand, is a free safety only. Plus, he’ll turn 31 this year and is clearly trending downwards. Not only will Blankenship provide solid, versatile depth at the position, he should see a lot of action on special teams this year.
K’Von Wallace makes the cut over Andre Chachere; Howie still values his draft selections
Really, the only serious question I have with this final roster is the placement of K’Von Wallace over Andre Chachere at safety.
Chachere had a better camp than Wallace, performed better during the preseason, and is a legitimate contributor on special teams. He adds more value to the roster than Wallace does at this point, but he wasn’t drafted by Howie, unfortunately.
It’s no secret that Howie values his draft selections over players brought in through free agency. Wallace isn’t the only one. Reagor probably didn’t truly deserve a roster spot over Cain, Allen, or Covey, but he was a former first-round pick. JJAW was in the same boat before he was finally dealt during camp this year.
At the end of the day, having Wallace on the roster over Chachere won’t make or break this season obviously. It’s just so abundantly obvious that Wallace is here right now because he was drafted by Howie.
Howie has learned from his mistakes throughout the years, but he’s never been able to shake this tendency. Sooner or later, it could back to bite him.
Mandatory Credit: Andy Lewis | Icon Sportswire