Predicting the First 15 Cuts

The 'less-interesting' portion of the roster cuts is usually more predictable.

For these predictions, we'll go by position, and explain why the following players were axed (or, if no players are axed, why the position remains untouched in this portion of cuts).

QUARTERBACKS

None

The final preseason game will be about GJ Kinne's underdog mission to throw Matt Barkley overboard and take the number three spot behind Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez. There's no reason to cut anyone just yet here.

RUNNING BACKS

None

Once again, the final preseason game will be key for this position. LeSean McCoy will sit, as will Darren Sproles most likely. Chris Polk is, at press time, nursing a bad hamstring. Henry Josey, Matthew Tucker, and David Fluellen have all had their moments this summer, and August 28 against the Jets provides the ultimate proving ground for arguing their case. Maybe Chip Kelly cuts all three of them, who knows? If the coach is going to carry four backs, there's no better time to impress.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kadron Boone, BJ Cunningham, Will Murphy

There's just such an overload at the position. Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, and Josh Huff (barring going on the PUP list or sitting out for an extended time) are guaranteed jobs. Brad Smith, Ifeanyi Momah, and Arrelious Benn are the next tier, fighting for one or two spots. Jeff Maehl, Damaris Johnson, and street rookie Quron Pratt have shown enough to at least make it to the final round of consideration. May as well just bleed a few out now, and these three make sense.

TIGHT ENDS

Blake Annen, Trey Burton

We already know the big three making the team. Emil Igwenagu can play the fourth preseason game as a space-filler (to put it harshly). If either Annen or Burton are still here within a week, then Igwenagu got cut, and Kelly's interested in putting one of the rookies on the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Karim Barton, Kevin Graf, Donald Hawkins

The four non-suspended starters will probably sit August 28, while Allen Barbre gets extra reps. Lane Johnson will of course play in the summer finale as well. The solid back-up line will start, leaving room for a few fringe guys like Josh Andrews and Michael Bamiro a chance to mix in later on, probably futilely. Honestly, I've never even heard of Graf. I thought it was an alias for someone.

SPECIALISTS

Carey Spear

Despite Alex Henery's missed 47-yarder Friday night, Spear hasn't even been allowed onto the field. Pretty good sign the brief "Murderleg" era is being overthrown quickly.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Wade Keliikipi, Alejandro Villanueva

The 90-man roster is thin enough at the position, but these seem to be two safe cuts. Former Army Ranger Villanueva has a great story to tell, but it hasn't translated into NFL promise just yet. The only fringe guy with a chance right now is Frank Mays, and he may be too raw at the moment to stick.

LINEBACKERS

Josh Kaddu

There's some interesting battles going on for spots, notably the Casey Matthews/Emmanuel Acho/Jason Phillips tussle for the fourth inside spot, while Travis Long makes a case for an outside role. Kaddu is the low-man on the linebacker pole, along with the suspended Jake Knott, and looks rather expendable.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Roc Carmichael, Keelan Johnson, Daytawion Lowe

The corners that play the final outing will include Nolan Carroll, Jaylen Watkins, and probably Brandon Boykin in limited action. Curtis Marsh could certainly be cut, but something tells me he'll get the extra game compared to the also-unimpressive Carmichael. As for safeties, with Nate Allen and Earl Wolff pushing for a starting job, the battle could carry over into the Jets game, making it feasible for two safeties to go. Davon Morgan and Ed Reynolds look like fringe survivors to that point.

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