Eagles’ updated depth chart after 2021 NFL Draft

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Eagles’ updated depth chart and analysis after 2021 NFL Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles added nine players in the 2021 NFL draft after what was a relatively slow free agency period.

They will also add several undrafted players to their rookie class and my guess is they aren’t done adding yet. They still have some needs to fill and Howie Roseman has added players through free agency and trades late before.

But for now, let’s take a look at the current depth chart with some analysis. Draft picks are in bold, reported undrafted signings get an *:

QB: Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, *Jamie Newman

The Eagles have talked about the importance of competition but I’m not sure anyone is really buying the idea of a true competition between Hurts and Flacco this summer. It seems pretty clear that the Eagles are going to use the 2021 season to figure out if Hurts could potentially be their guy long-term and Flacco will serve as a capable backup. Meanwhile, the reported addition of Newman as a UDFA is an interesting one. The Eagles didn’t use a draft pick on a quarterback but maybe Newman can be that developmental guy. He played at Wake Forest for a couple years, but opted out in 2020 after he transferred to Georgia. At 6-3, 234, he has some dual threat ability that he showed in college but there might be something there.

RB: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, Jordan Howard, Jason Huntley, Adrian Killins, Elijah Holyfield

For now, we’ll go ahead and put Scott ahead of Gainwell but it seems very possible that the fifth-round pick will surpass him this season. The rest of it is hard to figure out. Does Jordan Howard have enough left to make the roster and be a contributor? If he has even a little left, he could be the more bruising inside running complement to the other three in the rotation. After that, Huntley, Killins and Holyfield are all unproven.

WR: DeVonta Smith, Travis Fulgham, J.J. Arcega Whiteside, *Trevon Grimes

WR: Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, *Jhamon Ausbon

Slot: Greg Ward Jr., Quez Watkins, Khalil Tate

Those three would be my starters right now. I’d put Smith at the X, Reagor at the Z and Ward in the slot. Now, Nick Sirianni has talked about moving these guys around, so maybe positions aren’t as important on the field as they are in a depth chart. The fourth receiver is an interesting debate right now. Fulgham obviously had that impressive stretch last season but Watkins came on strong late after Hightower lost playing time. This will really depend on what the new coaching staff thinks about these guy. By the way, Grimes (Florida) was an interesting UDFA signing and has a chance to stick, perhaps on the practice squad.

TE: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Caleb Wilson, Jason Croom, Hakeem Butler, Tyree Jackson, *Jack Stoll

We’re putting Ertz atop the depth chart for now but there still seems to be a very good chance that he won’t be here. That would leave this position a little light if Goedert is at the top of the depth chart followed by Wilson, Croom, Butler and company. Richard Rodgers is still a free agent, so maybe a reunion could be in the future. Either way, you’d think the Eagles would want to go into this season with two reliable options at tight end, especially given how much Sirianni likes to use two-tight end sets. We’ll see what Stoll has to offer.

LT: Jordan Mailata, Andre Dillard, Brett Toth

LG: Isaac Seumalo, Sua Opeta, Ross Pierschbacher

C: Jason Kelce, Landon Dickerson, Luke Juriga, *Harry Crider

RG: Brandon Brooks, Nate Herbig, *Kayode Awosika

RT: Lane Johnson, Jack Driscoll, Matt Pryor

I listed Dickerson as the backup center right now but once he’s fully recovered from his latest ACL surgery, I’d expect him to be the backup at all three interior positions. Now, that could take different shapes. Perhaps if Kelce were to get injured the Eagles would feel more comfortable putting Seumalo at center and Dickerson at left guard. But either way, if any guard or center gets hurt, Dickerson is up. At left tackle, I think Mailata did enough last year to be first on the depth chart at left tackle ahead of 2019 first-round pick Dillard.

DE: Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Genard Avery, Matt Leo, *Jaquan Bailey

DT: Fletcher Cox, Milton Williams, Raequan Williams

DT: Javon Hargrave, Hassan Ridgeway, Marlon Tuipulotu, T.Y McGill

DE: Brandon Graham, Tarron Jackson, Patrick Johnson, Joe Ostman

The starters were very easy to list here. No surprises. After that, the top backup defensive tackles are third-round pick Milton Williams and the veteran Ridgeway. But Ridgeway is coming off another injury and is on a veteran minimum deal so could a strong summer by Tuipulotu give the rookie an edge? It’s possible, especially after Howie Roseman said the Eagles had a Day 2 grade on the DT from USC. Jackson and Johnson, the two rookies, are both listed as defensive ends here. I know the Eagles called Johnson a linebacker, but my guess is he’s more of a stand-up rusher, so I put him here instead of with the off-ball guys. It seems like Avery could have a similar role.

LB: Alex Singleton, Shaun Bradley, Davion Taylor, Rashad Smith

LB: Eric Wilson, T.J. Edwards, JaCoby Stevens, Joe Bachie

I decided to put the Eagles in nickel instead of a base defense, because I assume we’ll see more snaps with two linebackers than three. In this case, I think it’s pretty fair to assume that Singleton and free-agent pickup Wilson are the top guys. And to start the season, I think Edwards will still be the third linebacker. But as the season goes on, maybe the Birds get Stevens, Bradley and maybe even Taylor more involved. Even thought Taylor was a third-round pick last year, I have him behind Bradley, who played more as a rookie.

CB: Darius Slay, Michael Jacquet, Jameson Houston, Shakial Taylor

CB: Craig James, Zech McPhearson, Kevon Seymour

NCB: Avonte Maddox, Lavert Hill

I don’t think the Eagles are done adding corners. I could see them signing a free agent or even trading for one this summer. But for now, this is my best guess. Either way, I consider Slay an obvious starter. And without adding someone, Maddox could be a starter outside in the base package and move inside on nickel downs. Just because McPhearson is an unknown as a fourth-round pick, I have him behind James. But it’s possible he surpasses him as early as in training camp. Taylor is a guy to keep an eye on too; he was with the Colts before and has a background with Jonathan Gannon.

S: Rodney McLeod, K’Von Wallace, Grayland Arnold, Elijah Riley

S: Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, Andrew Adams

Slightly surprising the Eagles didn’t add a safety in this draft class because there are some serious long-term questions here. But Harris and McLeod (once he’s healthy) are the starters. Wallace and Epps are young players with promise. Adams comes in as a free agent and has some experience so maybe the Eagles wouldn’t mind playing him. But he strikes me as more of a special teamer for this team.

P: Arryn Siposs

K: Jake Elliott

LS: Rick Lovato

KR: Boston Scott, Jason Huntley

PR: Greg Ward Jr., Jalen Reagor, DeVonta Smith

We haven’t heard about the Eagles’ adding a punter for competition, but I still think that should be on the table after they lost Cameron Johnston in free agency. The Eagles used Reagor in some situations as a punt returner last year but used Ward and his sure hands more. Smith was Alabama’s top punt returner last year and also returned a handful of kickoffs … but would the Eagles put their No. 10 pick in those spots? We’ll see.

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