<
>

New running backs highlight Eagles' 53-man roster

PHILADELPHIA -- Here’s a player-by-player look at the Philadelphia Eagles ’ 53-man roster:

QUARTERBACK (3)

Sam Bradford: The main thing was getting him to the season in one piece, but Bradford added some excitement with his 10-for-10, three-touchdown night in Green Bay.

Mark Sanchez: The Eagles are hoping he doesn’t have to play at all, but he gives them a solid backup if anything happens to Bradford.

Stephen Morris: The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Morris went to the University of Miami and spent last year on Jacksonville’s practice squad -- but he’ll be remembered as the guy who took Tim Tebow’s place.

RUNNING BACK (4)

DeMarco Murray: In limited preseason action, Murray gave a glimpse of how his downhill running style will look in Chip Kelly’s offense -- the reason Kelly signed him to replace LeSean McCoy.

Ryan Mathews: He is bigger and stronger than you expect and should be an effective supplement to Murray’s work in the running game.

Darren Sproles: Kelly seems determined to use Sproles more than he did last season, and that may mean playing wide receiver as well as running out of the backfield.

Kenjon Barner: The speedy back from Oregon may play more on special teams than in the offense, but he showed in the preseason that he can do both effectively.

TIGHT END (3)

Zach Ertz: Surgery to repair a core muscle injury cost him most of the preseason. Will it affect his regular season?

Brent Celek: He still starts because he’s a fine blocker, but Kelly likes to point out that Celek is pretty good at catching the ball and running with it too.

Trey Burton: He is the emergency quarterback if Bradford and Sanchez get hurt in a game, but Burton should also get his fair share of playing time as a tight end.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

Jordan Matthews: He continued to line up in the slot through the preseason, but Matthews does provide a big target for quarterbacks in the middle of the field.

Riley Cooper: Cooper remained in the starting lineup through camp, but it won’t be surprising if he yields his job to Nelson Agholor.

Nelson Agholor: The first-round pick showed his potential by taking his first preseason reception to the end zone.

Josh Huff: He didn’t do much in the preseason, but Kelly and the coaching staff remain high on the second-year player from Oregon.

Miles Austin: It was hard to get a sense of Austin’s role during the preseason, but he brings a veteran presence to a young receiving corps.

Seyi Ajirotutu: He is on the team for his special teams skills, but is the kind of big receiver that Kelly likes.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

Jason Peters: Peters says he dropped some weight to regain some of the quickness he felt he lost late in the 2014 season. He has looked like the same dominating player this preseason.

Allen Barbre: One reason Kelly was willing to part with Evan Mathis was his belief that Barbre could fill the left guard spot capably. Peters likes working with him, which goes a long way.

Jason Kelce: Playing with new guards on either side of him, Kelce hasn’t missed a beat during the preseason.

Andrew Gardner: That big competition for the right guard job never really materialized because Gardner made the job his right from the start of camp.

Lane Johnson: Johnson spent part of the offseason doing MMA training. It will be interesting to see if he takes the next step toward the Pro Bowl in his third season.

Matt Tobin: He never really made his mark in the competition at right guard, but will back up at guard and tackle.

Dennis Kelly: A holdover from the Andy Reid era, Kelly recently was praised by Chip Kelly as a good fit in the Eagles’ offensive scheme.

David Molk: He got a fair amount of playing time last year. That should help him, although the Eagles hope he isn’t needed at center this year.

Josh Andrews: Andrews made the jump from the practice squad to the 53-man roster with a strong camp and preseason.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (2)

Bennie Logan: Logan has developed into an excellent player in the thankless position of nose tackle. He’s a key to the Eagles’ run defense.

Beau Allen: As a rookie last year, Allen was able to fill in for Logan with no major drop-off in productivity.

DEFENSIVE END (5)

Fletcher Cox: Chip Kelly described Cox as the Eagles’ MVP last season. He is equally strong against the run and rushing the passer.

Cedric Thornton: An underrated player, Thornton is especially effective as a run defender.

Vinny Curry: Curry sacked opposing quarterbacks nine times as a backup last year. He should get some playing time at outside linebacker this year as well.

Taylor Hart: He was inactive for all 16 games as a rookie, but Hart added some bulk and should be able to get on the field this season.

Brandon Bair: A solid player, Bair can be used as either a defensive end or a tackle.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)

Connor Barwin: Barwin went to the Pro Bowl after last year’s 14.5-sack season and is a key player in the Eagles’ defensive scheme.

Brandon Graham: Graham got a new contract and a starting job after the Eagles released Trent Cole. He said his goal was to get two sacks a game this year.

Bryan Braman: A core special teams player, Braman had two preseason sacks, which could indicate that he’s able to play more on defense.

Marcus Smith: Brandon Graham got 5.5 sacks last year as the primary backup on the outside. The Eagles would love for Smith to fill that role this year. Can he?

Brad Jones: The veteran came over from Green Bay and can play inside or outside, as well as on special teams.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (4)

Mychal Kendricks: His new contract was a sign of the Eagles’ commitment to the talented playmaker.

Kiko Alonso: In a brief glimpse during the preseason, Alonso looked very much like the tackling machine he was as a rookie in Buffalo before tearing his ACL.

DeMeco Ryans: The presence of Kendricks and Alonso could help Ryans stay fresh or cause him to get out of his rhythm as quarterback of the defense.

Jordan Hicks: The third-round pick got a lot of preseason work because the top three guys were sidelined so much. That should serve him well if he’s pressed into action during the season.

CORNERBACK (5)

Byron Maxwell: The big question is whether the $63 million free agent can step up to the lead role after serving as Richard Sherman’s sidekick in Seattle.

Nolan Carroll: The coaches rave about Carroll’s offseason approach, enough so that they made him the starter after he was unable to beat out Bradley Fletcher last year.

Eric Rowe: The second-round pick had a busy preseason and he seemed to learn from his mistakes.

E.J. Biggers: An under-the-radar signing from Washington, Biggers showed a knack for making plays and could be a solid addition on defense as well as special teams.

Denzel Rice: The undrafted rookie beat out draft picks Randall Evans and Jaylen Watkins for a spot on the roster.

SAFETY (4)

Malcolm Jenkins: After signing as a free agent in March 2014, Jenkins is now the longest-tenured defensive back on the team.

Walter Thurmond: Maxwell was the marquee signing while Thurmond was almost an afterthought. But he was asked to move from cornerback to safety and won the starting job.

Chris Maragos: He can play safety if needed, but Maragos is a core special teams player first.

Jerome Couplin: A case of appendicitis shortened his preseason but Couplin did enough to earn a roster spot.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Cody Parkey: After going to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Parkey must adjust to the longer PAT distance this year.

Donnie Jones: The punter dropped an Eagles record 34 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line last season.

Jon Dorenbos: You almost never notice him. That’s about the most you can ask for from a long-snapper: consistency and competence.