Frank: 10 Eagles sitting on the roster bubble

Frank: 10 Eagles sitting on the roster bubble
August 14, 2011, 6:25 pm
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BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Were still nearly three weeks from final roster cuts down to the regular-season limit of 53.

Before then, players will come and players will go. Guys will get hurt and guys will heal. Some who are performing at a high level now will be forgotten by then. Others who havent really found their niche yet might be making a big impact by then.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said he doesnt even look at the roster numbers this early in the preseason, simply because so much can and will change between now and 4 p.m. Sept. 3, when he has to reduce the roster -- which now has 92 players on it, including three on the Reserve-Physically Unable to Perform list -- by a whopping 39 players.

Still, its not too early to take a look at 10 players who are sitting precariously on the roster bubble 2 weeks into training camp.

Out of the 92 guys in camp, about 30 are locks to make the team and about 30 are locks to not make it. These are 10 guys in the middle.
Phillip Hunt, DE
The numbers are tough at defensive end, but Hunt has been showing up lately, using his first step and quickness to beat offensive tackles fairly regularly. Hunt had some good rushes in the game Thursday night against the Ravens and has had a good stretch of practice as well. The thing with Hunt is that at 245 or 250 pounds, hes only a situational, third-down pass rusher, so he has to continue showing up as a pass rusher to have a chance. The only defensive ends who are really roster locks right now are Trent Cole and Jason Babin. Daniel Teo-Nesheim was a third-round pick last year, so hell likely stick. After that, its a free for all.

Chad Hall, WR
The former Air Force star is the kind of guy everybody counts out when training camp begins, but then he just keeps making big play after big play and by the time camp is over, hes elbowed his way back into the roster picture. As good as Hall was last summer, hes having an even better camp this year. With Jeremy Maclin a PUP candidate, Sinorice Moss banged up lately and Johnnie Lee Higgins not doing a whole lot, Hall could stick as a fifth receiver behind DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper and Steve Smith, who the Eagles continue to believe has a good chance to be available by the opener. If Smith starts out on PUP, Halls chances go up.

Derek Landri, DL
He really showed up in the game against the Ravens, getting work with the first, second and third defenses. Landri isnt just some guy off the street. He started 16 games for the Panthers last year and was fairly productive, with 63 tackles and three sacks. Again, there arent many spots available behind Cullen Jenkins, Antonio Dixon and Anthony Hargrove and -- it appears -- Mike Patterson. If Trevor Laws cant get healthy, it will sure help Landri. Right now, hes fighting the numbers, but hes making it tough for the Eagles.

Eldra Buckley, RB
Buckley is one of those guys Andy Reid just likes having around. Smart player, knows the offense, tough kid, outstanding special teams player. But with the new kickoff rule, a guy like Buckley might not be as valuable as he was in the past. Right now, Dion Lewis is in the lead for that third running back spot, but Buckley always seems to find a way onto the roster.

Mike McGlynn, OL
Last years starting center is fighting for his job these days. McGlynn has been demoted behind Jamaal Jackson and rookie Jason Kelce at center and is now essentially a deep backup guard and emergency center. McGlynn could be a victim of new offensive line coach Howard Mudds scheme, which values smaller, faster, more athletic linemen (Kelce is 6-3, 282 and Evan Mathis is 6-5, 300) over hulking linemen like McGlynn (6-4, 315) or Max Jean-Gilles (6-4, 355), a three-year starter the Eagles didnt try to re-sign. McGlynn did a pretty good job last year as a first-time starter, but he just doesnt seem to fit what the Eagles are doing now.

Jarrad Page, Safety
With Marlin Jackson out with another injury, this time a sports hernia, the recently acquired Page has quickly worked his way into the safety picture. His acrobatic goal-line interception against the Ravens didnt hurt, but Page has been very quick to learn the defense, and on a team without any real experience at safety -- Coleman, Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett are all 23 or younger -- a smart, athletic six-year veteran like Page is a valuable commodity. He doesnt have the team made yet, but its going to be tough to cut him.

Colt Anderson, DB
Another tremendous special teams player that all the coaches like because hes smart, tough and versatile. There are just so many talented defensive backs on this roster, they cant keep all of them. If the Eagles keep six corners, that means four safeties at most, and it might come down to Anderson or Page. If the Eagles trade Joselio Hanson -- which certainly makes sense -- they could keep five corners (Nnamdi, Asante, DRC, Marsh, Lindley) and four pure safeties, plus Anderson. You just kind of get the feeling Anderson does enough good things that he has a good chance to stick around.

Brian Rolle, LB
The Eagles like Rolle, the rookie sixth-round pick from Ohio State, and have been creative looking for different ways to use his unique talents. Hes small and short but is making a case for a roster spot with his power and energy. One of those guys who plays bigger than he looks. If Rolle can be a force on special teams, he could come out ahead in a battle for a fifth linebacker spot behind the three starters and Keenan Clayton, with Rashad Jeanty, Akeem Jordan and Greg Lloyd also in the mix.
Brandon Hughes, CB
Another talented young corner, but they cant keep everybody. Hughes will play somewhere in the NFL this year, and hes going to make it very tough for the Eagles to run him off. Hughes is smart, athletic, fast, around the ball, just a solid young corner. Without a Hanson trade, Hughes prospects look very slim. Even with a trade, hell have to continue performing at a very high level to have a shot.

Austin Howard, OL
The former undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa was one of Juan Castillos pet projects when Castillo was O-line coach. Now, Castillos defensive linemen are making this a challenging summer for Howard. Hes another huge guy (6-7, 335), who probably doesnt fit into what Mudd likes to do. The one thing Howard has going for him is that right tackle is kind of a mess right now, with Winston Justice hurt, Fenuki Tupou hurt and Ryan Harris hurt. With King Dunlap starting for the time being, the only other healthy backup tackles right now are Joe Toledo and Spencer Johnson, who both signed on Saturday, so Howards experience gives him a chance.

E-mail Reuben Frank at Follow him on Twitter @RoobCSN.

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