Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

My ‘fantasy’ roster

Posted by Gordon Glantz On September 1

Glantz head shotThis is a pretty simple drill. The real 53-man roster that will start the season, let alone finish it, does not match this, but don’t come between a man and his football fantasies. And the harsh reality is that I’m usually proven right on these matters more often than not, so I want it on the record that the following path to 53 is the better route – if not for the present, but certainly the future, of the snake-bitten Eagles’ franchise.

QUARTERBACK (2): Carson Wentz, Nick Foles

Going Deep: The concerns about Foles’ throwing arm are, just that – concerns. Between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season, I expect him to resuming throwing on a regular schedule and be ready as the clear-cut No. 2. Keep Matt McGloin on speed dial (even though the receivers he almost got killed this summer might not like that idea). Doubt anyone else is signing him. Dane Evans? Eh. I’m OK with a practice squad spot to take some extra throwing away from Foles during the practice week.

RUNNING BACK (5): LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, Byron Marshall

Going Deep: The five who earned roster spots get roster spots. Blount, Sproles and Smallwood are your committee – with Clement as an X-factor waiting in the wings. Marshall is versatile, able to catch the ball and block and return kicks. After being shuttled back and forth between running back and receiver (he did both at Oregon and had 1,000-yard seasons rushing and receiving), Marshall looks more comfortable at running back this year, with the ability to run inside and bounce outside and fight for extra yardage. Because of his background, he could – and still might – moonlight as a slot receiver. This leaves fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey out of the mix, and he would never get through waivers to go to the practice squad (and wouldn’t last long there if he did), so we are going to turn his head injury in the final preseason game into the concussion scare of the century and stash him on IR.

WIDE RECEIVER (5): Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Paul Turner, Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson

Going Deep: This is my fantasy, so I’m cutting Nelson Agholor. I saw more from Hollins on his TD catch-and-run in the first preseason game than I have ever seen from the homeless man’s Jeremy Maclin in three preseasons and two seasons. I’ll take the cap hit, fine. Instead, Hollins and/or Johnson will take snaps away while Marshall and/or the tight ends will get looks in the slot until Turner – the star of last preseason who looked like a decent slot receiver at the end of last season – is healthy. This means the street for Bryce Treggs, who might be more polished than Johnson but would contribute less on kickoff and punt coverage. Converted QB Greg Ward Jr. goes to the practice squad, as does disappointing fifth-round pick Shelton Gibson.

TIGHT END (3): Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Brent Celek

Going Deep: Injuries aside, this group should work well. Ertz might finally break through and become a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end. Burton brings a lot to the table as a motion tight end who can line up in the slot and even the backfield, while Celek is a stoic blocker and team leader who is good for a few big catches underneath. Billy Brown played well enough to earn a practice squad job. See you next year, Billy.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Jason Peters (T), Isaac Seumalo (G/T), Brandon Brooks (G), Lane Johnson (T), Hal Vatai (T), Stefen Wisniewski (C/G), Dillon Gordon (G/T), Josh Andrews (C/G)

Eagles-KelceGoing Deep: Like Agholor, I dropped Jason Kelce (left) and will provide grief counseling for the team’s beat writers. I also axed did-nothing guard Chance Warmack. Only going with eight was risky, and it likely won’t stay this way (eyes will be open for seasoned vets on the waiver wire), but I felt it was better to have 23 offensive players and go with flow with the depth on defense with 27. Why keep a stiff on the offensive line and let go of a guy who can play on the defensive line, right? We’ll put three on the practice squad for safe keeping. Let’s say guard Darrell Greene, center Tyler Orlosky and tackle Victor Solako. And please, football God above, no more Taylor Hart – unless you want to convert him into a member of team security.

DEFENSIVE LINE (11): Brandon Graham (DE), Derek Barnett (DE), Vinny Curry (DE/DT), Fletcher Cox (DT), Timmy Jernigan (DT), Chris Long (DE), Steven Means (DE), Alex McCalister (DE), Destiny Vaeao (DT), Elijah Qualls (DT), Justin Hamilton (DT), Beau Allen (DT).

Going Deep: I love good problems, and this is a good one. Excellent depth here. The quick-and-easy way to solve it would be to trade off a guy like Means or Long (they’d likely love to move Curry, but his contract is too unattractive to other teams). Beau Allen returned to action this week, but he can be inactive on game day for a bit. It’s the more prudent approach, as you wouldn’t want to suddenly find yourself suddenly thin at your deepest spot due to being impetuous.

LINEBACKER (6): Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Joe Walker, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nathan Gerry

Going Deep: Yeah, I cut Najee Goode, and I would do it again. Good for me. Somebody had to do it. Don Cherry, the hard-hitting Villanova product, will go back to the practice squad again. The Eagles brought in two linebackers named Frick and Frack when they released corner Ron Brooks, but it is unclear what that means, other than that one or the other will make the practice squad. Gerry is a bit dinged up, but cutting him and rolling the dice on a practice squad return is risky. IR would be a waste, too. Instead, he can be inactive on game day until he gets healthy but on the active roster in the meantime. The status of Kendricks, who has had a breakout preseason, is worth watching.

DEFENSIVE BACK (10): Jalen Mills (CB), Ronald Darby (CB), Patrick Robinson (CB), Malcolm Jenkins (S), Rodney McLeod (S), Corey Graham (S/CB), Chris Maragos (S), Jaylen Watkins (CB/S), Rasul Douglas (CB), Dexter McDougle (CB)

Going Deep: It pained me to type the name of Robinson, because I know he is more like salt on a wound than peroxide in the long run, but he has been OK in the preseason and seems to have embraced the slot job. Still, if someone better is found – Joe Haden would have been perfect after being released by Cleveland and then signed by Pittsburgh – the ideal scenario would be Mills in the slot. With Douglas a work progress, McDougle looks like a keeper who can also handle the slot. The versatile Watkins is a better insurance policy than likely practice squad returnees C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes (like to see safety Tre Sullivan there, too, although it may not be until some point during the season). Graham, a savvy vet, helps more than he hurts.

SPECIALISTS (3): Caleb Sturgis (K), Cameron Johnston (P), Rick Lovato (LS)

Going Deep: I never thought I’d be typing two of those three names when camp began, but Johnston is an Australian with a big leg and Donnie Jones isn’t getting any younger. Roseman moved popular long-term long snapper Jon Dorenbos and got a draft pick back (a 2019 seventh-rounder from the Saints), which almost unheard of. It was a PR hit, given the popularity of Dorenbos, but Lovato filled in well for him last year and comes at a cheaper rate. At 24, the first player from Old Dominion to play in the NFL is a step faster in downfield coverage than Dorenbos. Sturgis did not have a great preseason, at least in games, but the hope is that he has it worked out.

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