This is the First 53, and you know it will change for the Philadelphia Eagles because this is the nature of this NFL and this is the mentality of Executive Vice President / General Manager Howie Roseman, who will continue to lead this list 2022. The 53 will become 70 (16 practice squad players plus International Programs player Matt Leo) and we know the door is still swinging.
You’re an Eagles fan and that’s why you’re here, and you have every right to be excited about what’s happening at One NovaCare Way. An offseason plan that began the night the Eagles landed in Philadelphia after their playoff loss at Tampa Bay, greeted by ice and the harsh reality of a journey that ended took another turn on Tuesday with the inauguration of The First 53. Some of the highlights. , and then some observations…
1. Roseman traded with New Orleans for versatile defender Chauncey (C.J.) Gardner-Johnson and a seventh-round draft pick in 2025, sending draft picks (a fifth-rounder in 2023, a sixth-rounder in 2024) for a player who gives the Eagles another piece in the secondary. Coach Nick Sirianni would not specify how the Eagles plan to use Gardner-Johnson, a terrific nickel cornerback/safety with the Saints and a player the Eagles saw excel at the University of Florida. He’ll have a chance to make an immediate impact, but it’s a day-by-day process here, as Gardner-Johnson will have to learn the system to the point where the coaching staff sits down with him on the field in the regular season. . However, it is promised. Gardner-Johnson was a high-level starter in New Orleans and the Eagles are always looking for versatile, physical players who love the game. It fits into these categories.
2. All five of the 2022 draft picks made the initial 53-man roster. Tight end Grant Calcaterra said after Saturday night’s game in Miami that he was tested as a line blocker and that he felt he did well, and clearly he did. He is the third tight end behind Dallas Goedert and Jack Stoll. Linebacker Kyron Johnson has shown tremendous explosiveness throughout the summer and as he grows and adds strength and bulk, he will have a chance to expand his repertoire. Initially, Johnson has a chance to earn reps on special teams. Obviously, defensive tackle Jordan Davis, center Cam Jurgens and linebacker Nakobe Dean showed up every day at Training Camp and learned and improved and earned the trust of the coaching staff.
3. Three undrafted players made the 53: safety Reed Blankenship, cornerback Josh Jobe, and offensive lineman Josh Sills. Blankenship was a five-year starter and three-year captain at Middle Tennessee State and impressed the coaching staff from Day 1 with his football intelligence, toughness and versatility in the secondary. Roseman cited former Eagle Quintin Mikell as a comparison, and while he didn’t say Blankenship was on Mikell’s level, an 11-year NFL player, the initial path and some characteristics are there.
Jobe is a great Alabama cornerback who has done a good job in coverage against the best in college football and the Eagles want to work with a young player who has that kind of strong background and athletic skills . Sills played in 52 games at West Virginia and Oklahoma State, and he quietly threw people around in Training Camp and in preseason games playing guard and tackle. He is 6-6 and 325 pounds and Jeff Stoutland looks forward to working with him. Sills was good enough that the Eagles released veteran tackle Le’Raven Clark and young veteran guard Jack Anderson.
Defensive tackle Milton Williams
Defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu
4. Roseman said that the offensive line, because of the depth that the team had gathered, was the hardest group to sift through the way to the 53-man roster. Not a surprise. The Eagles returned to their lineup from last season and added Jurgens in the Draft and brought in some impressive undrafted players, with Sills leading the list.
5. There are five wide receivers on the roster – A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal and Jalen Reagor.
6. There are two quarterbacks on the list – Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew. Roseman indicated that the Eagles would certainly have another quarterback in the building, likely on the practice squad.
7. The Eagles carry three running backs at this point – Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell.
It’s all a fluid situation, as Roseman acknowledged and as you all know by now. The Eagles can claim waivers from the roster, and if so they will find out Wednesday if any of those players have been awarded. There are veterans who were released on Tuesday that the Eagles can immediately add to the roster, so that’s always a possibility. It is, as they say, a work in progress.
And that’s the kind of attitude the Eagles are taking in all of this. It has been suggested on social media that the Eagles “went all out,” given the offseason moves they made and with the Gardner-Johnson trade announced, and that this is a compliment to the way Roseman and the their staff have updated the list, it is not. really true What the Eagles have done so brilliantly is to walk the high wire act of doing everything they can to win as many games as possible for 2022 and at the same time add a large amount of future NFL Draft capital – an extra first-round pick in 2023 and an extra second-round pick in 2024, for example.
Going “all in”, to me, means mortgaging part of the future for the present and the Eagles didn’t even come close to doing that. They took advantage of their situation and maximized their assets and here we are with a team that is “going in the right direction,” as Roseman said on Friday, as the team conducted its driving practice before the final of the pre-season the following night. “The list is in a better place than last year, we feel, but we have a lot of work to do.”
All this is true. The Eagles haven’t won a game yet, so no one is losing perspective here.
“We’re going to have a good week and a half of practice and we’re going to have a challenge with a Detroit team that’s going to be fired up in Detroit,” Roseman said. “And we’re just going to take it week by week here. A lot of things are happening this season. There will be ups and downs. I’m excited to go on this journey with this group, but we have a lot of work to do to prepare for that.”