Here is a position-by-position look at who stays, who goes when the Philadelphia Eagles make their final roster cuts:
There was more suspense over the competition between Tebow and Matt Barkley for the No. 3 quarterback job than for any other roster position. Barkley may have performed slightly better in early preseason games, but he didn’t make the definitive statement it would have taken to return for a third season. Chip Kelly’s apparent lack of enthusiasm about Barkley combined with his decision to sign Tebow suggested that Barkley needed to win by a knockout. Tebow’s superior performance Thursday against the Jets clinched it.
RUNNING BACK (4)
It wouldn’t be shocking if Raheem Mostert beat out Barner for the fourth spot. But Barner has the Oregon connection to go with his two punt returns for touchdowns. Mostert will likely wind up on the Eagles’ practice squad -- if he isn’t scooped up by another team fascinated by his sprinter’s speed.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
It came down to Ajirotutu and Jeff Maehl for the final spot. Maehl’s best case was as a special-teamer, but the Eagles specifically signed Ajirotutu for his special-teams play. Pencil in Rasheed Bailey, who made a nice touchdown catch Thursday night, for the practice squad.
TIGHT END (3)
The catch here (no pun intended) is Ertz’s recovery from surgery. If he is on track to play in the season opener, that will be the trio. If Ertz will have to miss a game or three, there’s a chance the Eagles keep Eric Tomlinson on the 53-man roster. But that would mean keeping one fewer offensive lineman or defensive back. Ertz, Celek and Burton will be the three tight ends as the season gets going.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Tackle seems a little thin, but we’re listing Andrew Gardner and Matt Tobin as guards here. They also can play tackle. So can Allen Barbre, for that matter, so there is enough depth at every position along the line. Gardner wound up playing every down at right guard with the first team. That was an indication that he was playing well, but also that John Moffitt, the former Seahawk, wasn’t ready to claim the job. It wouldn’t be surprising if Malcolm Bunche claimed the fourth guard spot here, but Andrews played ahead of him Thursday night. Julian Vandervelde is the odd man out at center. There’s a chance that Vandervelde makes the team as a center/guard combination in place of one of the pure guards. But it also feels as if the Eagles are looking to add new blood to the bottom of their roster and cut ties with some of the guys who have been lingering on the fringe.
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
Ends Brandon Bair and Cedric Thornton can play defensive tackle in a pinch, allowing the Eagles to go light at defensive tackle. Undrafted rookie Travis Raciti could claim a spot, but he’s more likely to end up on the practice squad. Having five ends makes sense when one (Curry) can also play as an outside linebacker and a few (Bair, Cox, Thornton) can line up at defensive tackle. Seventh-round pick Brian Mihalik could wind up on the roster, but he seems more like a candidate for the practice squad.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
This was an odd situation all summer. Chip Kelly traded for Alonso and drafted Hicks in the third round because he wanted depth at this position. Then Alonso, Kendricks and Ryans were unavailable for most of the preseason. Najee Goode played well in their absence, but falls victim to the numbers.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)
If one of the late arrivals to camp, Deontae Skinner or Diaheem Watkins, distinguished himself, there’s a real chance of Smith being released one year after being drafted in the first round. But that seems unlikely. Jones also can play inside, so that gives the Eagles some flexibility.
The big competition for one starting cornerback spot never really materialized. Rowe, the second-round draft pick, shows promise, but he also seems to be on a long learning curve. Biggers, an under-the-radar free-agent pickup from Washington, looked good by comparison with all the rookies around him. Watkins helped himself with an interception against the Jets. Look for Denzel Rice, Randall Evans or both on the practice squad.
Another spot where a competition failed to materialize: Thurmond, a converted cornerback, was never really challenged for the starting safety job. Maragos makes it as a special-teams standout. It wouldn’t be surprising if Chris Prosinski or Ed Reynolds won a job instead of Couplin, but Couplin seems to have the most upside. It seems like a long time ago that Reynolds intercepted two passes against the Colts.
The Eagles signed Kip Smith as a punter to compete with Jones, but he wound up doing Parkey’s job for much of the preseason. Nevertheless, it appears the Eagles will ride with the same three specialists as last season.