Five Eagles on the Pre-Training Camp Bubble

Training camp is around the corner, and there is still a great deal of uncertainty over who will make the roster, but these five feel like they have a lot of work to do
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Training camp is closing in and then it will be job-winning time for some.

With a roster in transition, there aren’t too many so-called safe roster spots, other than some obvious veterans on the offensive and defensive lines.

Also, keep in mind that Nick Sirianni and his staff aren’t necessarily beholden to players who have been added to this team prior to their arrival. It’s a new day, a new scheme, and a new way of building offensive and defensive game plans.

Who fits?

Who doesn’t?

Here’s an early look at five players who could potentially find themselves on the bubble by the end of August, if not sooner, with either the way they play, the way somebody else on the roster performs at their position, and/or their perceived fit by the coaches.

DAVION TAYLOR. Taking the linebacker in the third round of the 2020 draft was a head-scratcher. Still is.

Taylor is a nice story. Raised a Seventh-day Adventist, he couldn’t play high school football because Fridays are that religion’s holy day, but went to a community college to better learn the game and wound up with a scholarship to the University of Colorado.

Raw would be an understatement to describe him, and his playtime reflected just how raw, with only 32 defensive snaps. He did play 40 percent of the time on special teams and finished with 10 tackles, but this is a crowded room and Taylor could be in trouble.

He is one of eight linebackers on the roster, joining Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, T.J. Edwards, Shaun Bradley, Rashad Smith, and late-round draft picks this past spring, JaCoby Stevens and Patrick Johnson.

Genard Avery is supposed to move to linebacker, but he is still listed as a defensive end on the Eagles’ roster.

If Avery moves to LB as expected, that leaves nine players battling for six spots at most.

MATT PRYOR. What the sixth-round pick from 2018 has in his favor is the ability to swing between guard and tackle, but that may not be enough to save his job, not with the Eagles drafting Landon Dickerson, who could earn playing time at guard this season, and last year's fourth-round pick Jack Driscoll, who could become the next in line to swing between guard and tackle.

Matt Pryor

Matt Pryor

The Eagles have Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, and Nate Herbig at guard. Sua Opeta is also there, but, after playing in eight games with two starts and not distinguishing himself, he too could be gone.

Also, Pryor struggled somewhat no matter where he played, and he was on display quite a bit, making 10 starts and playing in 15 games.

HASSAN RIDGEWAY. The defensive tackle was brought back in free agency for a third go-round with the Eagles, but his first two ended in injury after just seven games.

Hassan Ridgeway felt like the Eagles were the team he wanted to be with and made a quick decision to return as free agency began

Hassan Ridgeway

Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave are the bell cows, but the Eagles drafted two players here, Milton Williams and Marlon Tuipulotu, and last year’s undrafted free agent, Raequan Williams, played well in spots and could be poised to make a big jump from rookie to second-year player.

T.Y. McGill and Willie Henry could also be hurdles that need to be cleared on a roster that will likely keep just five DTs and maybe four.

BOSTON SCOTT. This one might surprise, but the Eagles drafted a running back with a similar skillset in Kenny Gainwell, which could make Scott redundant. 

With a slew of practice squad possibilities at this spot, such as Elijah Holyfield, Jason Huntley, and Adrian Killins, the Eagles could very well keep just three RBs in favor of six WRs.

It’s too soon to do the math, but Scott may not be the roster lock that has been assumed.

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JOHN HIGHTOWER. Quez Watkins could have been this spot, but Hightower is the bubble pick.

The signing of WR Michael Walker on June 11 flew under the radar, but remember, he was added after the new staff had been in place, so maybe it's a signing that could mean something. Clearly, they liked something about him, so it’s difficult to just write him off.

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Walker has special team-ability, at least the ability to return kicks. Neither Hightower nor Watkins played any special teams last year, which is something that should be a requirement of a bottom-of-the-depth-chart receiver.

Watkins, right now, is the better route runner, too. Hightower needs more to his game than just the deep route, and maybe he will show that development this summer.

Right now, though, pencil him for a spot on the bubble.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.