Meet the Eagles: 2017 opening-game roster

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From left, Donnel Pumphrey (34) Brent Celek (87), Darren Sproles (43) and Zach Ertz (86) runs sprints during training camp.

Here is a look at the Eagles roster:

Quarterbacks

11 Carson Wentz

North Dakota State

Years pro: 2.

6-5, 237

In Year 2, Wentz doesn’t have to become a finished product, but he does have to prove that, with what are presumed to be better weapons and a solid offensive line, he can progress beyond just showing promise. If Wentz isn’t at least in the Pro Bowl conversation by December, it will be a bit troubling.

9 Nick Foles

Arizona

Years pro: 6

6-6, 243

Foles may never be the 27-touchdown, two-interception guy again, but he is a solid, reliable backup who ought to be able to get the team through a game or two if Wentz suffers a relatively minor injury. Anything beyond that and the Eagles, like most teams, would be  in trouble. Foles’ continuing elbow soreness is a concern.

Offensive line

71 Jason Peters

Arkansas

Years pro: 14

6-4, 328

Last year was a renaissance for the most dominant left tackle in Eagles history. But nobody fools the calendar forever. The Eagles will do everything short of swaddling Peters in midnight green Bubble Wrap to get him through the season at age 35.

73 Isaac Seumalo

Oregon State

Years pro: 2

6-4, 303

The first player the Eagles drafted after they took Wentz in 2016 is ready to become a consistent starter, the coaches said. He is a left guard this year but could be auditioning to replace center Jason Kelce in 2018.

62 Jason Kelce

Cincinnati

Years pro: 7

6-3, 295

Kelce is the longest-tenured Eagles starting center since Guy Morriss (1973-83), but his job is not secure. The coaches value his quickness, ability to diagnose defensive fronts, and easy rapport with Wentz. But Kelce does sometimes get overpowered, and if he isn’t really good they might consider him overpriced next year when the dead cap charge for his $6 million salary drops from $2.4 million to $1.2 million.

79 Brandon  Brooks

Miami of Ohio

Years pro: 6

6-5, 335

He is a capable starter at right guard and seems to have resolved the anxiety problems that gave him trouble last season. He actually plays a bit heavier than the listed 335 but moves as if he’s lighter.

65 Lane Johnson

Oklahoma

Years pro: 5

6-6, 317

With last year’s 10-game suspension behind him, Johnson needs to step up and become the consistent Pro Bowl right tackle the Eagles envisioned when they drafted him fourth overall in 2013. He has the talent. The team was  5-1 with him in the lineup in 2016.

72 Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Texas Christian

Years pro: 2

6-6, 320

Last year’s fifth-round pick had to play before he was ready. But by the end of the season, the coaches projected him as a future starter. This year, Vaitai will be the first tackle off the bench.

61 Stefen Wisniewski

Penn State

Years pro: 7

6-3, 305

Last year, the sense was that Wiz was just passing through on his way to a multiyear deal somewhere else. But that didn’t happen, and he’s back as the top sub if a guard or center Jason Kelce gets injured. He is steady and experienced.

 

 

67 Chance Warmack

Alabama

Years pro: 5

6-2, 323

Warmack was the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft by Tennessee but did not prosper with the Titans. Reunited with his college offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland, he is seen by the Eagles as a capable backup at either guard position.

Running backs

29 LeGarrette Blount

Oregon

Years pro: 8

6-0, 250

Initial reactions to Blount’s signing might have been too gushy. He was available well into the spring for a reason, and it’s that he doesn’t have great burst at age 30. But he knows how to find the end zone in short yardage, something the Eagles definitely can use.

43 Darren Sproles

Kansas State

Years pro: 13

5-6, 190

The Eagles kept Sproles completely under wraps throughout the preseason, so it will be a nasty surprise if he shows up for the opener unable to weave and bob at age 34. There were no signs of that happening last season, though. It will be interesting to see if making defenses key on some of the new weapons makes Sproles more dangerous.

34 Donnel Pumphrey

San Diego State

Years pro: rookie

5-9, 176

Expectations were high for the fourth-round pick entering camp, and he’ll play a role eventually as a slot receiver at least. But it’s unclear if Pumphrey did enough in the preseason to deserve to be active on Sundays.

28 Wendell Smallwood

West Virginia

Years pro: 2

5-10, 208

The coaching staff seems to like Smallwood more than the fans, who have grown impatient with a string of Smallwood injuries. When healthy, he is a versatile back and a good kickoff returner.

 

Corey Clement

Wisconsin

Years pro: rookie

5-10, 220

The people’s choice in training camp and through the preseason, Clement, from Glassboro,   has shown power and quickness. He didn’t catch a lot of passes in college, and that’s something Eagles backs are called upon to do.

Wide receivers

Alshon Jeffery

South Carolina

Years pro: 6

6-3, 218

The Eagles wanted a No. 1 wide receiver, and they found a prototypical one in Jeffery. If he’s healthy, look for Jeffery to become the first Eagles receiver to top 1,000 yards since Jeremy Maclin in 2015.

Torrey Smith

Maryland

Years pro: 7

6-0, 205

Smith was miscast as San Francisco’s No. 1 wide receiver the last two years, but for the Eagles he fits well as an experienced starting outside receiver  who can stretch the field.

Nelson Agholor

USC

Years pro: 3

6-0, 198

Agholor underachieved in his first two seasons, although he should not yet be written off. The Jordan Matthews trade opens playing time for Agholor in the slot, where he can fit nicely as the  No. 3 receiver.

Mack Hollins

North Carolina

Years pro: rookie

6-4, 221

After he caught  a touchdown pass on his first touch of the preseason, there is justifiable excitement about Hollins. Look for him to be a depth option and special-teams contributor this season. But his offensive role should grow in coming years.

Shelton Gibson

West Virginia

Years pro: Rookie

5-11, 191

Gibson struggled to start training camp and has a major adjustment coming from West Virginia, but the Eagles are hopeful that his big-play ability in college can translate.

Marcus Johnson

Texas

Years pro: 1

6-1, 204

Johnson spent part of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad. A good offseason moved him up the depth chart, and he will provide depth and special- teams ability.

 

 

Tight end

Zach Ertz

Stanford

Years pro: 5

6-5, 250

Ertz has generated attention the last few summers for a potential breakout season, and though he hasn’t reached the Pro Bowl his statistics rank him among the top five tight ends in the NFL the last two seasons. A healthy season could propel Ertz to the Pro Bowl.

Trey Burton

Florida

Years pro: 4

6-3, 235

Burton’s role has grown each season since he arrived in Philadelphia, and the Eagles gave him a second-round tender in restricted free agency during the offseason. His close connection with Carson Wentz helps on offense, where he could see time in the slot.

Brent Celek

Cincinnati

Years pro: 11

6-4, 255

The Eagles’ longest-tenured player has seen his role reduced in recent years, although he’s still valued as a blocker and a respected figure in the locker room. This could be his final season in Philadelphia.

 

Defensive line

51 Steven Means

Buffalo

Years pro: 3

6-3, 263

Even though he was on the roster last season, and Marcus Smith was released in July, nothing was guaranteed to Means. But a strong preseason forced the Eagles to keep him as the fifth end.

55 Brandon Graham

Michigan

Years pro: 8

6-2, 265

The Eagles hung a carrot in the form of an incentive-laden contract restructure in front of Graham, who did everything but record a satisfactory number of sacks last season. He should be motivated.

56 Chris Long

Virginia

Years pro: 10

6-3, 270

If the preseason was any indication, Long still has plenty of gas in the tank. He’ll be part of the rotation at defensive end and should be a steadying veteran presence in the locker room.

 

75 Vinny Curry

Marshall

Years pro: 6

6-3, 279

The pressure is on. Curry failed to live up to the five-year, $46.25 million contract he signed last offseason. He has this year to deliver, but rookie Derek Barnett is breathing down his neck.

 

91 Fletcher Cox

Mississippi State

Years pro: 6

6-4, 310

He may not have been as dominating as he was the two previous years, and he may have been affected by the extra attention from offensive linemen and the public after his $100 million contract. But Cox is still a force.

93 Tim Jernigan

Florida State

Years pro: 4

6-2, 295

The Eagles gave up little to acquire Jernigan, who is on the last year of his contract. But they are expecting the switch to a 4-3 defense to benefit the tackle as a pass rusher.

94 Beau Allen

Wisconsin

Years pro: 4

6-3, 327

He tore a pectoral tendon in April, and there was initial concern that he would miss part of the season. But Allen made a speedy recovery and should be the first tackle off the bench.

96 Derek Barnett

Tennessee

Years pro: rookie

6-3, 259

The top draft pick will likely open the season behind Curry. The Eagles don’t want to rush Barnett, but it could be only a matter of time before he supplants the starting right end.

97 Destiny Vaeao

Washington State

Years pro: 2

6-4, 299

The undrafted rookie played in all 16 games last season, but he was quiet throughout camp and the preseason mainly because of injuries. Will he be active on game days again?

98 Elijah Qualls

Washington

Years pro: rookie

6-1, 321

The sixth-round rookie was slowed by an injury early in camp, but he showed consistent improvement once he returned.

Safeties

23 Rodney McLeod

Virginia

Years pro: 6

5-10, 195

McLeod’s effort was scrutinized late last season, but technique seemed to be more the problem. He had a strong summer and could benefit from a second season in Jim Schwartz’s system.

24 Corey Graham

New Hampshire

Years pro: 11

6-0, 196

Another of Schwartz’s former players from Buffalo, Graham should fill a variety of roles — third safety, special-teams contributor, and possible slot corner.

26 Jaylen Watkins

Florida

Years pro: 3

5-11, 194

The trade of Terrence Brooks paved the way for Watkins to make the team. He lost the No. 3 safety job to Graham, but being versatile enough to play corner helped his cause.

27 Malcolm Jenkins

Ohio State

Years Pro: 9

6-0, 204

Jenkins wears many hats on defense. He makes most of the calls and checks in the secondary. He plays strong and free safety and even sometimes at slot corner. He is also one of the unit’s leaders.

42 Chris Maragos

Wisconsin

Years Pro: 8

5-10, 200

Maragos was one of the Eagles’ most reliable performers on special teams over the previous three seasons. He’s only a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency safety, though.

Linebackers

58 Jordan Hicks

Texas

Years pro: 3

6-1, 236

Hicks started all 16 games last year, playing 95 percent of the defensive snaps. He had a team-high five interceptions.

53 Nigel Bradham

Florida St.

Years pro: 6

6-2, 241

Bradham is the defensive enforcer. He played 97 percent of the team’s defensive snaps last season at strong-side linebacker, both in nickel and base packages.

95 Mychal Kendricks

California

Years pro: 6

6-0, 240

Kendricks is the Eagles’ most athletic linebacker, but he didn’t get on the field a lot last season because the Eagles played so much two-linebacker nickel, and he was the odd man out. He is an outstanding blitzer on a team that doesn’t blitz a lot.

52 Najeh Goode

West Virginia

Years pro: 6

6-0, 244

He is a versatile backup who can play all three linebacker spots and is a top special-teams player.

59 Joe Walker

Oregon

Years pro: 2

6-2, 236

A 2016 seventh-round pick, he spent his rookie season rehabbing an ACL tear. He’s a smart player with good size and speed and  can play both middle and strong-side.

54 Kamu Grugier-Hill

Eastern Illinois

Years pro: 2

6-2, 220

The Eagles claimed him off waivers last September after he was cut by the Patriots. He was an important part of Dave Fipp’s No. 1-ranked special-teams units.

 

 

Cornerbacks

41 Ronald Darby

Florida State

Years pro: 3

5-11, 195

Acquired from Buffalo in a mid-August trade, Darby is the Eagles’ best corner since Asante Samuel. He finished second in 2015 in voting for NFL defensive rookie of the year.

31 Jalen Mills

LSU

Years pro: 2

6-0, 191

Mills played 661 snaps as a rookie, both inside and outside. He has the guts of a burglar, but needs to become a more consistent player.

32 Rasul Douglas

West Virginia

Years pro: rookie

6-2, 208

The third-round pick has enticing size and physicality for the position. He’s still a work in progress, though. He had eight  interceptions last year at West Virginia.

 

21 Patrick Robinson

Florida State

Years pro: 8

5-11, 191

Robinson, whose 49 career starts are the most of any Eagles corner, has spent most of his career outside but was moved inside midway through training camp. Jim Schwartz said his quickness can be an asset against the division’s tough slot receivers.

 

22 Sidney Jones

Washington

Years pro: rookie

5-11, 191

Jones was considered one of the top two corners in the draft before rupturing his Achilles tendon in his pro day workout. He won’t be ready until at least midseason.

 

36 Dexter McDougle

Maryland

Years pro: 4

5-10, 196

Acquired in a trade with the Jets on Aug. 27, he missed his rookie season with an ACL tear. He played in 20 games the last two years for the Jets, mostly on special teams.

Kicker

6 Caleb Sturgis

Florida

Years Pro: 5

5-9, 192

Sturgis set a team mark with 35 field goals last season. He started off slowly in the summer but finished strong. The Eagles have yet to see how he kicks in pressure situations.

Punter

8 Donnie Jones

LSU

Years Pro: 14

6-2, 221

Jones’ consistency after 13 seasons has been remarkable. The fourth-down gambling Doug Pederson cut into his attempts last season, but Jones still had a high percentage of punts inside the 20.

Long Snapper

45 Rick Lovato 

Old Dominion

Years Pro: 1

6-2, 249

The Eagles will turn to Lovato to replace longtime long-snapper Jon Dorenbos. Lovato played three games for the Eagles last season and impressed with his snapping this summer.