Five things we learned from how the Eagles built their 53-man roster

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Philly Sports Network 01 September, 2021 - 09:53am 10 views

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The Eagles let go of both Travis Fulgham and John Hightower in favor of J.J Arcega-Whiteside. While this seems like a foolish move on the surface, you have to look beneath the surface

The Eagles brass hired Sirianni who was known for developing players and bringing the beat out of them. JJAW was personally selected in the second round by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. What better way to impress your boss than to turn a pumpkin into a chariot within your first year?

Now I’m not saying JJAW is the next great thing but with Sirianni by his side, there’s no doubt that we’ll see an improvement in JJAW’s game. He’ll be a big factor in special teams and expect him to get more usage in the red zone area but we may be seeing JJAW turn the corner pretty soon.

The Eagles kept all of their rookies except one, JaCoby Stevens. I’m sure the assumption is that Stevens will land on the practice squad but there’s no such thing as a guarantee in the NFL.

In recent years, the Eagles have let go of young talent in favor of veterans. For example, the fact that they dropped Casey Toohill in favor of keeping Alshon Jeffery on the roster. They ended up losing Toohill to the football team out in Washington.

It seems that Howie and company have learned from their mistakes. This roster has a significant amount of youth within it that the coaching staff will be looking to develop. Most teams give their young guys a significant shot every year. The previous coaching staff wasn’t so friendly to that idea unless you could produce it right away. Developing these young guys will be a huge priority for Sirianni in his rookie season.

The Eagles are more than stacked on both the defensive line and offensive line. The team has been plagued by injuries in both parties for the last several seasons. Now it seems that they’ve added enough insurance to avoid any setbacks this season. There’s also a telling sign within the number of linebackers that they let. Several of them may be used to rush the passer and bring the heat on the offensive line.

The team is currently prepared to start the season with only three running backs. They have their three-down back in Miles Sanders, their receiving back in Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott. To my surprise, there is no bruising back. The team previously waived Kerryon Johnson earlier in the offseason and have now waived Jordan Howard. I do believe the team will bring back Howard once they settle who will end up on IR but for now it’s a risky approach to have only three backs.

Another position with a lack of depth is cornerback. The team is only going in with Darius Slay, Steven Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, and Josiah Scott. They truly only have two proven corners on the roster, an inconsistent Avonte Maddox, and two young guys. That’s not an ideal plan when this team has been plagued at that position for the last several years. It’s going to be interesting to see who they add within the next day or two to help in the secondary.

31 years old, Devoted Husband & Father, Eagles & Sixers Enthusiast. Co-Host of Flippin’ the Birds.

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Eagles explain why Arcega-Whiteside made roster over Fulgham

NBC Sports 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

Not only did J.J. Arcega-Whiteside make the Eagles’ initial 53-man roster for the 2021 season … but he made it over Travis Fulgham.

Being a high draft pick definitely didn’t hurt JJAW’s cause, but the Eagles are giving a much different reason for why he made the roster over Fulgham.

“I think the first thing is with Travis, here's a guy who obviously had a heck of a stretch for us last year,” general manager Howie Roseman said. “And we looked at it that this was a new year and this was a new beginning, and we wanted to go based on what we saw and take the whole process into play.

“When you talk about J.J. and what he did during camp and his contributions on offense, his willingness and his desire to be an excellent special teams player, which you saw during the preseason, and the whole picture of that and how it fits into the group at receiver.”

One player is an underachieving second-round pick who has failed to do much of anything during his first two years in the NFL. The other came out of nowhere last season to be one of the best receivers in the NFL for a month.

During his magical five-game run last year, Fulgham had 435 receiving yards. During JJAW’s entire two-year NFL career, he has 254.

But here’s thing: Arcega-Whiteside was better than Fulgham (and John Hightower) this summer.

Maybe the Eagles would have protected Arcega-Whiteside no matter what happened. But based on the merit of this summer, they had a real case for legitimately keeping him.

And it wasn’t even like JJAW had some magical camp because he didn’t. In fact, he had a better training camp going into the 2020 season. But if you didn’t know who they were, where they were drafted, what they did before, and you watched all 17 practices and three games this summer, you would have walked away from it thinking Arcega-Whiteside was the slightly better player.

It seems like the area where Arcega-Whiteside really made this team was on special teams. Never known as much of a special teamer, the former second-round pick worked hard in that area this summer.

He had a big touchdown catch against the Jets in the third preseason game, so it’s funny that the tackle he made on the ensuing kick might have counted for more.

“J.J. really did a good job this year on special teams,” head coach Nick Sirianni said, “and sometimes that's the thing at the end of the day that is the separator of what's happening on special teams and what he can do over there in Coach [Michael] Clay's room.”

Of course, the Eagles didn’t draft Arcega-Whiteside with the No. 57 pick back in 2019 to play special teams. And they didn’t draft him to be a big-bodied slot receiver. It’s disappointing to think that he was the final receiver to make the roster and could potentially be in danger as the roster continues to shuffle.

That’s just where JJAW’s career is right now. It’s not much, but he at least gets to stick around for a little while longer. He’s earned that.

First look at the Eagles’ 2021 depth chart

Bleeding Green Nation 31 August, 2021 - 03:13pm

How many wins do you see from this group?

Quarterback (3) — Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, Gardner Minshew

Running back (3) — Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell

Wide receiver (5) — DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

Tight end (4) — Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, Tyree Jackson

Offensive tackle (5) — Jordan Mailata, Lane Johnson, Jack Driscoll, Andre Dillard, Brett Toth

Offensive guard (3) — Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig

Center (2) - Jason Kelce, Landon Dickerson

Defensive end (5) — Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Tarron Jackson

Defensive tackle (4) — Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu

Linebacker (7) — Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, Davion Taylor, T.J. Edwards, Genard Avery, Shaun Bradley, Patrick Johnson

Cornerback (5) — Darius Slay, Steve Nelson, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott

Safety (4) — Rodney McLeod, Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, K’Von Wallace

Long snapper (1) — Rick Lovato

Out for the entire 2021 season.

The Eagles can start signing players to their 16-man practice squad starting on Wednesday.

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