With just 53 roster spots and 10 practice squad slots available on 32 NFL teams — and 90 players on each as training camp continues — it’s inevitable that some very good players will slip through the cracks simply due to a numbers game situation or an overabundance of talent in one particular position.
The Eagles are no exception, and a few players who might be shoe-ins with other teams could find themselves fielding offers from other organizations come September. Here’s a look at five such guys:
Corey Clement, RB
Blocked by: LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, Byron Marshall, Donnell Pumphrey
Cement has been a workhorse in practice with a few Eagles running backs sitting out from time to time and he has been effective and comfortable carrying the ball in every kind of drill. Unfortunately, the South Jersey native would need a miracle to make the team with so many quality backs ahead of him.
“I think he looks elusive,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “I think he even looks more elusive since he’s come back and lost a little bit of weight. He’s smart and he knows what he’s doing. I think he runs hard. He’s into it. He just seems like he’s a football player. I think he has that aggressive mind-set that you need for running back.”
Marcus Johnson, Shelton Gibson, WR
Blocked by: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins
In the unlikely event the Eagles decide to carry six wide receivers onto their active roster, Johnson has a fighting chance — but he’ll have to beat out Paul Turner, Gibson and Bryce Treggs for the spot. It’s more likely that he returns to the practice squad or heads to a new team.
“To be honest, the first day that I got here I knew it would be a day-by-day fight,” Johnson said. “I just present the best I can every day and it will take care of itself.”
Gibson hasn’t had the best camp and is also a candidate to hit the practice squad or — with his 5th round pedegree — land a job with another NFL team. His best hope is to become a valuable special teams piece.
Matt McGloin, QB
Bocked by: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles
It seems more and more likely that the Eagles will carry two quarterbacks to their 53-man roster, and Foles — who is familiar with both the Eagles and Doug Pederson — has the leg up. If he is the No. 2, the Birds could elect to cut McGloin’s more managable contract and add Dane Evans to the practice squad, or sign a quarterback off the street to the squad after teams make their cuts.
Elijah Qualls, DT
Blocked by: Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Beau Allen, Destiny Vaeao
Qualls has been a training camp darling thus far and has a realistic shot of making the 53-man roster, but he is likely the No. 5 man at a position that will probably have four guys on the team. He’ll need to beat out the veteran Allen and last year’s draft pick Vaeao to make the team and has an uphill battle undersized at just 6-foot-1.
“He’s got natural leverage. That’s a kind way of saying he’s short,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “He’s hard to handle for some of these guys. Again, we only saw him for those first couple days… But he’s got natural leverage. He’s got the low center of gravity. He’s active.”