Marcus Johnson

Eagles Inactives: Corey Graham playing; just 6 players to sit out

USA Today Images

Eagles Inactives: Corey Graham playing; just 6 players to sit out

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Because they have just 52 players on their active roster, the Eagles needed to list just six players as inactive on Sunday morning.

Ronald Darby (ankle), Destiny Vaeao (wrist), Shelton Gibson, Chance Warmack, Marcus Johnson and Steven Means are inactive against the Chiefs this afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

Corey Graham, who came into the weekend listed as questionable with a hamstring injury, is active. That will allow Malcolm Jenkins to play at times as the Eagles' nickel cornerback because Graham can take over at safety.

Johnson is inactive after playing in the opener.

Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring) was added to the Injured Reserve on Friday, so he obviously isn't playing and doesn't need to be on the inactive list.

This will be the first NFL game for second-round CB Rasul Douglas, sixth-round pick DT Elijah Qualls and recently-acquired kicker Jake Elliott, who replaced Caleb Sturgis (hip). Sturgis is on IR.

After keeping just three listed cornerbacks active last week when Darby went down, the Eagles have four active on Sunday: Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Douglas and McDougle.

After having just two draft picks active in the season opener, the Eagles will have four active -- Derek Barnett, Douglas, Mack Hollins and Qualls -- on Sunday.

Here are the Chiefs' inactives: QB Tyler Bray, CB D.J. White, LB Reggie Ragland, OL Jordan Devey, OL Parker Ehinger, WR Jehu Chesson, DL Jarvis Jenkins.

Howie Roseman finalizes Eagles' roster for now and the future

Howie Roseman finalizes Eagles' roster for now and the future

Howie Roseman said he built the Eagles' roster with an eye not just on today, but also on tomorrow. The 53 best players not just for the short term, but for the long term.

And that means keeping guys like Marcus Johnson, Donnel Pumphrey and Elijah Qualls, who might not play this year but could one day be impact players.

“We’re not trying to sacrifice the roster as it goes into Washington (for opening day)," Roseman said Saturday. "We’re trying to compete and win as many games as we possibly can.

"But we also don’t want to be short-sighted about losing guys that we think down the (line) could become starters. Guys who look like they have traits to become a starter and have a high ceiling, we’re going to try to invest in those guys and be more patient with them."

This is a departure for the Eagles and Roseman, who in past years has simply kept the players he feels are most ready to play now.

That has meant cutting ties with promising young players like Eric Rowe, Jordan Poyer, Alejandro Villanueva and even Jaylen Watkins, who's back now but was released before his second season.

“I think that when I was (general manager) in ’13 and ’14 and we’re winning 10 games, you’re sitting there and you’re going, 'Hey, let’s try to win a playoff game, let’s try to get over the hump," Roseman said.

"And now we’ve got a 24-year-old quarterback, and that doesn’t mean we don’t want to win right now, because we do. But we also want to build this the right way. Some of that means doing some things (to trust) in our development system."

For example?

Johnson, a second-year pro who earned his way onto the 53-man roster but as the sixth receiver, probably won't even be active this year unless there are injuries.

But considering that Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith could both be gone next year, keeping Johnson under contract is significant.

"I think Marcus Johnson is a huge plus for us," Roseman said. "You look at a guy like that — who came back after a year and took a big step and looks like (he has) traits to be a starter — and what our coaches and conditioning staff and trainers did with a guy like that and you say, ‘Hey, you worked with these guys, what’s their ceiling? What can it be?’

"And we’re trying to be more developmental, certainly on the guys who aren’t on the 46 than we have been maybe in the past."

Roseman emphasized that the 46 guys who will dress on game day need to be the 46 best players the Eagles can get their hands on.

But there are 17 other spots available that the Eagles control — the seven guys who don't dress out on game day and 10 players on the practice squad.

That's the part of the roster Roseman kept in mind when the Eagles made final cuts Saturday.

"I think it's important for us when we make these decisions, we're talking about the 46, the 53 and then the 63," he said. "We want to make sure our coaches have the best 46 guys that they need to go into Washington. And then from there, there are also guys that we want to develop, that we want to sit there a year from now and hope that they have taken another step."

Pumphrey, who made the team despite struggling throughout the preseason, also fits into that category, as does wide receiver Shelton Gibson, who made the team despite having trouble catching the ball during most of camp.

"We knew that if Shelton went back to school and didn't come out early, he's probably drafted higher and that we were going to have to spend time to develop him and his skill set," Roseman said.

"And he does have a (unique) trait. He had more 50-yard receptions than anyone in college football last year. He can take the top off.

"Consistency for a rookie is, obviously, something that sometimes takes some time. But he works really hard. He has the traits we're looking for to develop into a player."

Nothing worse than seeing a guy who started out with the Eagles but never really got a chance enjoying success with another team.

The site of Rowe celebrating a Super Bowl championship with the Patriots a few months after the Eagles gave up on him — and continued to struggle at cornerback — certainly resonated with a lot of Eagles fans.

"We don't want to lose a guy that, a year from now or two years from now we think has starter traits," Roseman said. "We feel good about having a plan to develop these guys.

"When we make the decision to pick them, we have conversations like, ‘Hey, this guy may not be ready Day 1, this guy may need some time, here are the things he may need to work on.’

"We try to balance that. But we are also going to make a concerted effort to try to develop them and spend the time not just reading off cards on scout team, but really spending time with them and developing the person and the player and try to help them on some of the deficiencies that maybe they have."

Eagles 53-man roster breakdown: Heavy at RB, light on O-line

Eagles 53-man roster breakdown: Heavy at RB, light on O-line

The Eagles on Saturday released their initial 53-man roster.

As of now, they'll go with five running backs, six receivers and just eight offensive linemen.

Here is the roster at the moment:

QB (2): Carson Wentz, Nick Foles
The Eagles cut Matt McGloin, so they'll stick with two quarterbacks, apparently content with Foles' elbow situation. 

RB (5): LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, Donnel Pumphrey
The Eagles went very heavy at running back. It's pretty uncommon for teams to carry five running backs, so we'll see what they do here. Clement and Pumphrey both made the initial 53-man roster. Byron Marshall was cut Saturday.

TE (3): Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton
Many thought undrafted Billy Brown would have a chance to make the squad but he was cut, leaving the top three. 

OL (8): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Chance Warmack, Stefen Wisniewski
The Eagles are extremely thin on the offensive line, specifically at tackle after cutting Dillon Gordon and Taylor Hart. Maybe they'll look to add a lineman on waivers. Also cut Saturday were interior linemen Darrell Greene, Josh Andrews and Dallas Thomas.

WR (6): Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Marcus Johnson, Shelton Gibson
The Eagles' fifth-round pick Shelton Gibson made the cut after a very disappointing beginning of training camp. Johnson made the team after spending 2016 on the practice squad. 

Bryce Treggs and Greg Ward were the two wideouts cut Saturday.

DE (5): Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Derek Barnett, Chris Long, Steven Means
Alex McCalister didn't make the cut and the Eagles stayed with five defensive ends. 

DT (5): Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Beau Allen, Destiny Vaeao, Elijah Qualls
Justin Hamilton made a strong push but Qualls, the sixth-round pick, did enough to lock up his spot on the team. 

LB (6): Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, Najee Goode, Joe Walker, Kamu Grugier-Hill
Nate Gerry, who was a fifth-round pick, was the only draft pick to be cut. He's transitioning from college safety to NFL linebacker. 

CB (5) Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, Rasul Douglas, Dexter McDougle
McDougle, who arrived less than a week ago, made the roster over players like C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes. And then he signed a one-year extension. Jomal Wiltz was also cut Saturday. 

S (5): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, Chris Maragos, Jaylen Watkins
It turns out Watkins' versatility is still pretty appealing to the Eagles. He stuck around as the fifth safety. 

LS (3): Rick Lovato; P: Donnie Jones; K: Caleb Sturgis
Jones beat out undrafted punter Cameron Johnston to keep his job.