In this edition of “Mosher’s Mailbag,” I answer a question about the roster turnover since the Eagles hired Chip Kelly to replace Andy Reid.
Q. How many pre-Chip era players will make the 2014 roster?
- Bo Souvannavong (@Bosouvannavong1)
A. Actually, several. Although the roster has undergone significant turnover since the team hired Kelly on Jan. 16, 2013, to replace Andy Reid, several holdovers from the Reid era will be on the team in 2014, including four-fifths of the starting offensive line and most of the starting offense.
By my count, at least 24 players who were brought in by Reid have a better-than-average chance of making this year’s team. That’s almost 50 percent of the roster. I also counted 14 likely starters, which is more than half of the starting lineup.
Reid left Kelly with a stocked offensive cupboard. Quarterback Nick Foles, running backs LeSean McCoy and Chris Polk, tight end Brent Celek and the expected starting receiver tandem of Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper were all drafted during Reid’s tenure.
Everyone on the starting offensive line except for right tackle Lane Johnson came to the Eagles under Reid, as did backups Dennis Kelly and Julian Vandervelde, Vandervelde is probably the only Reid-era offensive linemen who’ll have to fight to preserve his roster spot.
On defense, starting ends Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox predate Kelly’s arrival. Backup end Vinny Curry, entering his third season, looks safe to make the team.
At linebacker, three-fourths of the projected starters were holdovers from the Reid regime. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin is the only starter brought in under Kelly. Right now, it appears as if backup outside linebacker Brandon Graham, a former first-round pick under Reid, will still be on the team.
The starting secondary is almost entirely Kelly’s, assuming second-year safety Earl Wolff edges veteran Nate Allen to start opposite Malcolm Jenkins. But the team’s best playmaker in the defensive backfield, slot corner Brandon Boykin, belonged to Reid’s final draft class.
On special teams, on of the best camp battles this summer should be Reid’s kicker, Alex Henery, grappling with Kelly’s kicker, Cary Spear, for the one spot. Long snapper Jon Dorenbos is another mainstay from the Reid regime.
Even if some Reid-acquired players who are on the bubble right now, such as wideout Damaris Johnson or tight end Emil Igwenagu, don’t make the team, the roster will still bear plenty of Big Red’s fingerprints.