Inside The Birds: 53-Man Roster Projection, Offense Edition
With the Eagles getting closer to training camp, it’s time to start thinking about who’s in position to make the 53-man roster.
On the latest Inside The Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan go position-by-position on offense to break down which Eagles be on the active roster to start the season, and which will be on the outside looking in.
Geoff Mosher: “I do agree that theoretically they would only want to keep two [quarterbacks] and not have to occupy another roster spot, but there might be something about Nick Mullens that they feel is worth hanging on to, to have that third quarterback, because he’s not an old guy and he’s not a rookie free agent. He’s a guy who’s played in this league quite a bit for a third-string quarterback.”
Adam Caplan: “When he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017, the word around the league was this guy doesn’t have it, he doesn’t throw the ball very well, doesn’t have a very good arm. You got to give Kyle Shanahan credit. Kyle Shanahan really developed this kid. He’s only 26 years old, that’s not all the quarterback at all and he was a good story. Look, I know he played poorly against the Eagles and he got benched that game but the kid is a very accurate quarterback […] He’s a good processor, he’s a decent athlete not a great athlete but he can move. Now he’s not a big guy, he’s just under 6-foot-1, he’s not gonna wow you with a big physical presence like Flacco is. But he can process well, and you and I are told that’s really big with this offense here.”
Caplan: “To me, [the last RB spot] is gonna be between Boston Scott and Kerryon Johnson. Johnson is a much better pass protector and that’s got tremendous value. He’s also been a starting running back, that’s got more value. We know what Boston Scott is and to me Kenny Gainwell can be that change up, so that’s why right now would go with Kerryon Johnson.”
Mosher: “I’m gonna pick Jordan Howard to stay and Kerryon Johnson to go. Now my issue is, I think if both guys are healthy, both guys are in shape, everything’s fine – I think that Kerryon Johnson is more naturally talented than Jordan Howard. I think he catches the ball better, he’s obviously very good in pass protection although so is Jordan Howard but I think he’s just a better overall runner. He’s a higher draft pick, he’s probably a better athlete even with the injuries, but Jordan Howard has been here, and as bad as he was last year, he found his way back onto the team and now he’s back again. I think Jordan Howard kind of enters camp in the lead, and it’s up to Kerryon Johnson, as you said he’s got to pick it up a little bit, and really show that he can trump Jordan Howard. Right now, I’m giving the slight edge to Jordan Howard, but I’m not seeing both of these guys on the team together.”
Caplan: “[Four receivers] are locks: Smith, Reagor, Fulgham and Ward are all making it. I struggle with a fifth guy. Look the light could go on for Hightower or Arcega-Whiteside or Watkins, anything is capable of happening we know that, never say never. Arcega-Whiteside has shown nothing for two years. He does give them size and physical style of play, which some of the other guys are not known for and that gives them a little bit of an edge, but he’s on the outside looking in. To me, he’s a long shot to make it, he’s got to prove himself. He has to have the training camp of his life, this is his third training camp and he needs to stay healthy, we know he has had some minor injuries. But he’s got to show that he has value and he doesn’t really have special teams value, so it’s gonna be hard for him to make it.”
Mosher: “At left tackle, Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard, I mean that’s the highlight of the camp. I would still like to think, as we sit here today, that whoever loses can still be a valuable backup on this team and that they don’t have to be traded or moved or anything.”
Caplan: “Mailata is not going anywhere, no chance […] Even if Mailata loses the job, which I highly doubt but if he does, he’ll be the backup right/left tackle, that’s exactly what would happen.”
Mosher: “So his yards-per-reception in college last year was kind of tricky to understand until you put in perspective. He averaged 15.9 yards per catch, which was in the 65th percentile. So it’s not amazing, it’s not terrible, it’s pretty good. But when you take into account, and this is unbelievable, he led college football in screen catches and screen yards along with deep catches and deep yards. Think about the versatility of that and how if he wasn’t such a great screen weapon how his yards per catch would probably be up in the 90th percentile because he led college football in deep catches and deep yards –but he was just such a good screen weapon.”
– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff contributor to InsideTheBirds.com
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