hmm, I've been tossing around a few ideas about what to write about the Eagles.
I think I'll start with some musing about what the roster might look like next year. You see, I understand the reasoning behind the Eagles roster composition last year. But this year things are a little different (no dual-role 3rd TE/Longsnapper, no Reno, an acknowledged need to address glaring depth needs on D to name just a few).
Lets start with the an overlooked item: the loss of TE/LongSnapper Mike Bartrum. Sorry to say the quiet, steady professionalism of our 3rd string TE is probably gone, as Bartrum's injury looks like its going to force him into retirement (at least that was the earl prognosis, and I haven't heard anything positive since). That leaves us with Jon Dorenbos as our Long-snapper, but here's the thing, that is all he does. So we're going to have to retain 3 specialists, Kicker - David Akers, Punter - Rocca or Dirk J. and Dorenbos - Long-snapper. That leaves 50 roster slots open.
How would I break them down/see them shaking out at this point? Well, lets baseline this with two assumptions: the Eagles do not acquire any more veteran players (via trade, FA, etc) and that the Eagles' draft brings them 6 picks (for my basis here: 1 DL, 1 LB, 2 DB, 1 RB, 1 TE)
Now lets begin with the obvious 25 men per side of the ball
OL (10) - this assume no draftees, no ufas rising up to make the squad, I think the Eagles could return the same 10 guys as last year and do very well for themselves.
QB (3) - McNabb, AJ, Holcomb (in that order)
RB (3) - Westbrook, Buckhalter, a big young back in the draft (what about Moats?)
FB (1) - Tapeh, or a big young back from the draft
WR (6) - Curtis, Reggie B, Baskett, Avant, GLew, and either Bloom or Bethel Johnson
TE (2) - LJ and Schobel (note the absence of the drafted TE, let it be for now)
DL (10) - I think 5 DEs & 5 DTs are about right. The Top 8 I expect to see on the roster: Kearse, Howard, Cole and Juqua at DE, Reagor, Patterson, Bunkley and Ramsey at DT. The other two spots are flexible, either could be draft picks and/or some combination of Rayburn, McDougle (I cannot believe I just typed that) or assorted SEPTA turnstiles.
LB (7) - Seven LBs is more than the Eagles normally carry. Still, with the need for depth, I can see them (in a 25/25 set) perhaps making room. 3 guys I fully expect to see in Eagles uniforms (2 guaranteed): Takeo Spikes (g), Jeremiah Trotter, Omar Gaither (g). The other 4 would be made up of: Gocong, Tank Daniels, Matt McCoy, Dhani Jones, draft pick. If we use a decent pick for a LB prospect, the competition at LB during camp will be intense.
DB (8) - I debated a 6 LB/9 DB set for a bit, but figure it this way: 4 S, 4 CB is fairly safe. Since I am predicating this on drafting two DBs, it mean that someone (Joselio Hanson most likely) will be out of a job back there (another reason 9 DBs is a decent way to go).
4 CBs: Lito, Sheldon, Will James are set: drafted CB vs Hanson for #4 slot
4 S: Dawk, Mikell, Considine and drafted S
Roster Squeezes: in this scenario, we have a decent one at the Off Skill Positions: 4 Backs, 6 WRs and 2 TEs wouldn't leave room for any drafted Skill positions other than (potentially) a big back. It mean sayonara Ryan Moats for sure (unless Tapeh gets the ax). I have the Birds carrying 6 WR (last year it was 5, but Mahe was the 5th back/PR). With the KR/PR coming from the WR corps I decided to bump the roster group up to 6. If it stays at 5, I would think that means bad things for Greg Lewis.
Further problems at TE, just 2 TEs seems unrealistic for Andy Reid, but Bartrum was our #3 for years, and I don't think we can trot Dorenbos out there...And if we draft one, like I think we could.....yikes....this is where the squeeze might come into play regarding whether or not we really kept 10 each across the lines. I do realize right now that extra spot is being alotted to the LB Corps, and the Eagles could very well keep just 6 there, but if they do, I think they'd do it to keep 9 DBs....
Anyway, that how I see things panning out at this point. Lots of interesting possibilities with the draft just a few weeks away. Is there anything I've missed?