Birds Perched Atop
Figuring Out Eagles Depth Chart
As we’ve written about and discussed on Inside The Birds podcasts, the team has leveraged practice squad rule modifications to go extra heavy at some positions on the 53 and extra light at others.
Here’s a look at the depth chart the way Inside The Birds perceives it:
Comments: No surprises with the quarterback pecking order. At running back, we’re expecting a “situational” backfield with different roles for each running back.
Kenneth Gainwell and Rashaad Penny are most likely to be first-down ball carriers, with Gainwell also poised to see reps as the four-minute and tw0-minute back, although D’Andre Swift will also surely see reps in pass-catching situations. Boston Scott will once again see occasional, unpredictable usage and return kicks.
At wide receiver, Olamide Zaccheaus and Quez Watkins will alternate in 11 personnel packages. Zaccheaus can also return punts if the Eagles don’t elevate a punt returner from the practice squad.
Newly added tight end Albert Okwuegbunam can be Goedert’s backup and while Jack Stoll continues to be the “Y” tight end in 12 personnel.
Comments: With no true backup center on the 53, it’s possible the Eagles slide Cam Jurgens over from right guard if Jason Kelce is injured, but the team doesn’t really prefer to make in-game moves that impact more than one spot on the O-line.
The then the question becomes: who plays right guard if Jurgens moves to center? Jack Driscoll has experience there but the Eagles drafted Tyler Steen in the third round to compete at right guard. The hunch here is the experienced Driscoll would get the first crack at right guard if needed, but he’s more valuable as Lane Johnson’s backup at right tackle given Johnson’s injury history.
Comments: There’s no just way seven defensive tackles are active on game day. Look for Ojomo to be at least one inactive early. Nakobe Dean and Zach Cunningham will be part of the team’s base and base nickel package – more on that next week – on run downs, but look for Elliss to see snaps in the team’s pass-defense nickel formations.
Having just three inside linebackers is risky for the Eagles and suggests they’ll be featuring more big nickel (three safeties) and dime sub packages, leaving just one inside linebacker (Dean) on the field.
Comments: For now, the question is who play nickelback if the oft-injured Avonte Maddox exits the field. Second-year pro Mario Goodrich had a nice camp but has never played an NFL game.
The hunch here is that extra safety Justin Evans could play the slot spot if needed. He played slot last year at times for the Saints. The team could also move James Bradberry inside in some packages, filling the outside void with Josh Jobe, who enjoyed a very good camp.
Without a punter on the 53, the Eagles are sure to elevate Arryn Siposs from the practice squad until they figure out a permanent solution. They can elevate Siposs three times before they’ve had to sign him to the 53 or go elsewhere.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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