The 2021 season will be an intriguing one for the Philadelphia Eagles, as the organization will discover if it has its next franchise quarterback in Jalen Hurts. New head coach Nick Sirianni hasn't officially named the second-year quarterback the starter, but the franchise has put the offensive weapons around Hurts -- giving him every opportunity to entrench himself as the Eagles' QB of the future.
Philadelphia added DeVonta Smith in the first round of the draft to give Hurts a No. 1 wide receiver, while franchise great tight end Zach Ertz remains on the team -- after an offseason which the front office failed to trade him. Having Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the roster makes the Eagles' passing game significantly better, even if the club and Ertz are at a standstill regarding his future. The Eagles also return a healthy Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson, both of whom could help the offensive line establish itself as one of the league's best.
Ryan Kerrigan, Eric Wilson, Steven Nelson and Anthony Harris were significant veteran additions on defense, a unit that boasts one of the best pass rushes in the league. (Philadelphia was third in sacks last season.) The defense has impressed in camp, and is expected to be improved under new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
The Eagles are in a rebuilding year, but the organization believes they can compete for the division title -- especially in an NFC East where the division champion finished 7-9 last season. No team has repeated as NFC East champions since the Eagles in 2004, and the last five times Philadelphia finished last in the division, the team made the playoffs the following year.
Here is the Eagles' 53-man roster.
Note: Asterisks denote rookies.
Tyree Jackson/Jack Stoll
The most intriguing position remains wide receiver. Smith is the No. 1 option, 2020 first-round draft pick Jalen Reagor will be lined up primarily in the slot, and Quez Watkins emerged as the third starter after an impressive training camp. The Eagles are keeping five wideouts, but that could change with veteran options available to sign.
Miles Sanders is the clear No. 1 running back, but who will be No. 2? Kenneth Gainwell -- a fifth-round pick -- will compete with Boston Scott or snaps, as those two will likely split carries throughout the year, similar to what the Indianapolis Colts offense did under Sirianni and Frank Reich. Gainwell has been impressive this preseason as a runner and receiver, while Scott is arguably the best pass-catching back on this team.
The offensive line had a battle at left tackle between Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard. Mailata was the clear winner here and will start at the position while Dillard will provide quality depth. Landon Dickerson, depending on his recovery from a torn ACL in December, could compete for a starting job down the line now that's he's off the PUP list. He's a valuable sixth lineman at guard and center should the Eagles sustain any significant injuries.
The Eagles have significant depth on the line at all positions, making the unit one of the biggest strengths on this team. Jack Driscoll, Nate Herbig, Dillard and Mailata all earned substantial playing time over the last two years -- snaps that will benefit this team in 2021.
Third tight end Tyree Jackson made the team but will be placed on injured reserve with a back fracture.
Ryan Kerrigan, Derek Barnett
Derek Barnett, Ryan Kerrigan
Alex Singleton (WILL), Genard Avery (SAM)
Zech McPhearson*/Avonte Maddox
Zech McPhearson*/Avonte Maddox
Josh Sweat has been the best player in camp, earning the starting nod at defensive end opposite Brandon Graham. Derek Barnett will play a lot of snaps on this defensive line, as the Eagles will rotate on the edge. Expect to see Milton Williams play some defensive end as well. The defensive tackle rotation appears set with Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox as the starters and Williams (a third-round pick) and Tuipulotu (sixth-round pick) as the backups. Philadelphia has plenty of depth on the defensive line, a strength of this team.
Wilson will start at the MIKE while Alex Singleton will play at WILL. For the first time in years, the Eagles appear to have two solid starters at linebacker with solid depth to boot. Look for Kerrigan to play some SAM with Genard Avery, as the Eagles will sometimes use an extra pass rusher. Davion Taylor will return from his injury and be in the linebacker mix once he gets back to game speed.
Darius Slay is the No. 1 cornerback with Nelson starting opposite of him. Avonte Maddox will line up in the slot and Zech McPhearson will play both the slot and outside with Craig James making the roster as the fifth corner. Harris and Rodney McLeod are the starters at safety -- when McLeod is healthy. If McLeod isn't ready for Week 1, Marcus Epps will fill that role. Epps was a surprise at safety in 2020 and played his way into competing for a starting role.
Get the latest Eagles news from insider Jeff Kerr by downloading the CBS Sports app. Will Nick Sirianni boom or bust as an NFL head coach? Can Jalen Hurts live up to the hype? Get the CBS Sports app and find out. If you already have the app, you need to select the Eagles as your favorite team to get up-to-the-minute headlines.