This summer is a vital one for the Philadelphia Eagles, as the franchise is looking for a repeat trip to the Super Bowl with one of the best rosters in football. Even on a talented roster like the Eagles have, there are some position battles that need to be settled.
Some of these camp battles will be settled in practice, but the preseason will play a massive role in determining jobs. There are some starting jobs to be decided for the defending NFC champions, along with filling out other crucial spots on the roster.
Plenty of positions are up for grabs in Philadelphia this summer. These are the ones to keep an eye on once training camp starts.
Competitors: Reed Blankenship, Terrell Edmunds, Sydney Brown, Justin Evans
The Eagles have two open spots at safety, even though there is a depth chart heading into training camp. Blankenship earned a first-team spot in minicamp based on his performance from last season, but he’ll have to earn that spot in August. Edmunds was the veteran signing in March to replace Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson and is a favorite to occupy one of those jobs.
Brown is the wild card here. The Eagles didn’t draft him in the third round to sit the bench in Year 1 at a position of need, so he’ll be playing sooner rather than later. Brown could be starting Week 1, but will it be with Edmunds or Blankenship?
Evans is also a free agent signing, but he also provides depth. He’s also competing for a roster spot.
Competitors: Nicholas Morrow, Christian Elliss, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley
Nakobe Dean has one of these two spots (and has the green dot calling the defense). Who’s paired next to Dean this fall is still up in the air. Morrow was the veteran free agent signing that is on the first team heading into camp. Elliss was the breakout player in minicamp and the biggest challenger to Morrow for that starting job.
Taylor is still in the picture, but will be competing for a roster spot. Bradley is a key part of the special teams unit and will have a chance to compete for more playing time. Taylor did have a strong start in training camp last year and could re-enter the picture.
The Eagles may seek to upgrade here.
Competitors: Quez Watkins, Olamide Zaccheaus
Philadelphia is deeper at wide receiver than many realize, as the Watkins-Zaccheaus battle for playing time is a good problem to have. Watkins was the No. 3 wideout last year and had his struggles, yet provides speed in the slot. Zaccheaus had a career high in catches and receiving yards in 2022. He had better yards per route run and target separation — in an offense more limited than the Eagles.
Zaccheaus is a legitimate threat to unseat Watkins for the No. 3 job. Again, the Eagles are very deep at wide receiver with Watkins and Zaccheaus as the No. 3 and No. 4.
Competitors: Arryn Siposs, Ty Zentner
Siposs has been the team’s punter the last two seasons, yet was 30th in net yards per punt last season (30.6). His percentage of punts inside the 20-yard line was 19th in the league (36.4%). His gross yards per punt was 26th (45.6). Certainly the Eagles can improve here.
Philadelphia signed Zentner as an undrafted free agent to compete with Siposs. This battle will be determined in camp and the preseason, even as Siposs has the upper edge after performing better in the open minicamp practice (with Nick Sirianni watching).
Competitors: Cam Jurgens, Tyler Steen, Jack Driscoll
This will be one of the more intriguing battles in camp after Isaac Seumalo departed in free agency. Jurgens is the front-runner for the job (the Eagles would like him to win it and get some snaps before he eventually takes over for Jason Kelce at center).
Steen’s performance in training camp will go a long way. Philadelphia views Steen as a guard after he played left tackle at Alabama, making his 6-5, 315 frame even more imposing on the interior of an offensive line. How quickly Steen picks up the offense and develops under Jeff Stoutland will play a factor in who wins the right guard job. The Eagles could be grooming Steen to be the right guard when Jurgens eventually goes to center.
Driscoll is the No. 3 tackle, so he’s probably out of this competition even though he has played right guard in the past.
No. 2 TE
Competitors: Dan Arnold, Grant Calcaterra, Tyree Jackson, Jack Stoll
Arnold is the clear front-runner to win this job after the Eagles signed him in free agency to back up Dallas Goedert. Calcaterra will compete for the job, as the 2022 sixth-round pick shined in spots as a pass catcher in his rookie season.
Injuries have gotten the better of Jackson, who will be battling for a roster spot with Calcaterra. The No. 2 tight end job will benefit any pass catcher, but blocking will factor into the equation too. This is where Stoll comes in, as the Eagles are looking to improve running the football in “12” personnel.
Arnold helps the Eagles create better spacing, which is why he’s a heavy favorite to win this job. Stoll is also a strong contender for a roster spot.
RB depth chart
Competitors: Rashaad Penny, D’Andre Swift, Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, Trey Sermon
All five of these running backs can make the Eagles, but where they fall in the pecking order will be settled in training camp. Penny and Swift are the two favorites to share the bulk of the carries after the Eagles revamped the position. What happens if Penny suffers an injury? Who shares the carries with Swift?
Gainwell had a disappointing regular season, but had an excellent postseason to enter his way toward a key role in 2023. Scott will compete for a higher spot on the depth chart with him after returning on a one-year contract, providing reliability in a reserve role and as a kick returner.
The Eagles kept Sermon on the active roster all last season despite not being active on game days the majority of the year. They clearly believe Sermon has talent as he’ll get a chance to earn a spot and crack the rotation.
All five of these players are worth the watch this summer.
No. 3 QB
Competitors: Ian Book, Tanner McKee
The Eagles are locked in with the top two quarterbacks in Jalen Hurts and Marcus Mariota. Who will man that No. 3 spot that Nick Sirianni likes to carry around?
Book is a mobile quarterback (6-0, 206), but McKee has a completely different skill set as a pocket passer with his size (6-6, 231). The Eagles drafted McKee in the sixth round, so he’ll get every opportunity to unseat Book this preseason.
In a preseason where Nick Sirianni rarely plays starters, Book and McKee are going to get a lot of snaps.
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