The Eagles practice squad for 2018
NFL teams have some interesting decisions to make. Not only for their 53-man rosters but for their practice squads as well. The Eagles practice squad might be more interesting than most. Each team is allowed 10 practice squad players. On September 2, one hour after the waiver claim period, NFL teams are allowed to begin assembling their practice squad roster.
According to the NFL, no player is allowed to sign anywhere, including with the team they spent the preseason until all 32 teams have simultaneously gotten the green light from a Personnel Notice that their contract has been “terminated via the waiver system”.
What are the rules for practice squads?
The NFL allows each practice squad up to four veterans. However, these players can’t have accrued more than two seasons in the NFL. Players can not be on a practice squad for any more than three seasons. A team can sign someone off of another team’s practice squad, but they must go directly on the 53-man roster.
Destined for the Eagles practice squad in 2018
There are a few guys who I think are locks for the Eagles practice squad roster. In his press conference this week, Doug Pederson mentioned that the last preseason game is important for practice squad decisions. He also mentioned he’s been watching closely to see who he thinks will make it through the waiver period.
The guys I think the Eagles will ensure are on the practice squad roster if they do not make the 53-man roster include DT Bruce Hector, Josh Adams, Tre Sullivan, Jordan Mailata, and Billy Brown. I know there is still a chance that the Eagles keep some if not all of these players on the 53-man roster. However, if they don’t make the final cut, these are players the Eagles will want to get on the practice squad.
Why these defensive players?
Each player mentioned previously has shown glimmers of NFL caliber talent. Depending on what the Eagles decide to do in some spots based on injuries, Hector is a guy they will ensure stays in Philadelphia. Hector had an impressive camp and preseason. He notched six tackles and a sack throughout the first three preseason games. He’s done a good job of creating pressure as well. Depending on where Tim Jernigan is in the recovery process, there might be an extra DT taken on the 53-man roster. If not, Hector will fall to the practice squad.
Bruce Hector is getting work with the top FG block unit. Been playing well on defense. If I had to make a 53 today, I’d have him making it as a reserve DT.
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) August 27, 2018
Another player on the defensive side of the ball who could end up falling to the practice squad is Sullivan. Sullivan was having a good preseason, and it looked like he would make the roster until the Eagles resigned Corey Graham. Throughout the first three games, Sullivan recorded 14 total tackles. Since the Eagles signed Graham and it looks like they will keep Chris Maragos on the roster this year, Sullivan will fall to the Eagles practice squad. He is a guy they like and want to keep around for 2019 after they lose Maragos and Graham.
Players on the offensive side who would be practice squad studs if they make it there
Now we move to the offensive side. Mailata and Adams both might not make it to the practice squad if they don’t get a roster spot. These are two guys who have been in the news. Other teams have their eyes on them as well. Mailata and Adams might get roster spots for that reason. I think the Eagles are looking for excuses to hand them roster spots. Because for these guys, there’s a good chance another team snatches them off waivers.
Shot 8 – So impressed by rookie LT Jordan Mailata. A true dancing bear with his size and athleticism, playing in the third football game of his life, and he looks like a natural. Strong punch in pass pro, he's picking up stunts, got movement in the run game as well #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/1fqn2v89ZH
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) August 24, 2018
I don’t see both of them slipping through the cracks. However, if there is a way to get both of them to the practice squad to prepare for next year when the Eagles will potentially lose Jay Ajayi as well as Darren Sproles and potentially a guy like Jason Peters, Adams and Mailata will be fantastic to have ready to go.
One other guy who I think is a definite lock for the Eagles practice squad is Brown. Brown spent last season on the practice squad after a good showing in the preseason. Brown impressed with his soft hands and his reliability as a young player. However, with their star rookie of the year Dallas Goedert coming in, I doubt the Eagles will want two young, inexperienced players in a position they rely on so heavily. Depending on Richard Rodgers’s injury that might open up a spot for Brown. However, I think the Eagles will play it safe and keep Ertz, Goedert, and Rodgers at the tight-end spot, and save Brown for next year when Rodgers contract is up.
All eyes are on the Birds
The Eagles are the team in the spotlight. They won the Super Bowl and clearly have a genius as a GM. Because of this, other teams are watching the Eagles closer than usual. Unfortunately, this might mean our practice squad will be more difficult to form. Players placed on waivers might get snatched up quicker because they have been watched closely.
It will be interesting to see how Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson handle this. Will they use phantom injuries to keep guys? Will they outsmart other teams? Or will they let veterans go to make room for younger players? Who knows. All I do know is football is back and we’re about to see some action on and off the field.