Eagles’ Roseman talks keeping Arcega-Whiteside

The Philadelphia Eagles got their roster down to 53 on Tuesday, and there were some surprises. Philadelphia waived wide receivers Travis Fulgham and John Hightower as 2019 second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was able to stay on as the fifth wideout for the team.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman explained why the team decided to release Fulgham and Hightower.

“I think the first thing is with [WR] Travis [Fulgham], here’s a guy who obviously had a heck of a stretch for us last year. And we looked at it that this was a new year and this was a new beginning, and we wanted to go based on what we saw and take the whole process into play.

“When you talk about [WR] J.J. [Arcega-Whiteside] and what he did during camp and his contributions on offense, his willingness and his desire to be an excellent special teams player, which you saw during the preseason, and the whole picture of that and how it fits into the group at receiver.

“And then, when you talk about numbers – again, we don’t look at it just as who we’re keeping on the 53. We look at it as who we’re keeping on the 70. So, we try to figure out to the best that we can — obviously, a lot is going to happen in the next 24 hours — about how that puzzle comes about.

“We’ve always been like this here, and one of the things we talked about a lot when we were interviewing Coach [Sirianni] and really throughout this whole process being together is how we want this to look. That’s why you see we’re so heavy on the offensive line and defensive line. It’s a priority for us. When you do that, you’re going to have to make sacrifices at some other spots.”

Last season, Fulgham, 25, had 38 catches for 539 yards and four touchdowns. The third-year receiver had a stretch of three straight games with a touchdown reception, while the 25-year-old Hightower, a 2020 fifth-round pick, had ten catches for 167 yards.

Here is a list of players released by the Eagles on Tuesday:

Released the following players:

  • Andrew Adams
  • Le’Raven Clark
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • DT Hassan Ridgeway
  • TE Richard Rodgers
  • CB Kevon Seymour

Waived the following players:

  • Grayland Arnold
  • G/T Kayode Awosika
  • WR Travis Fulgham
  • WR John Hightower
  • RB Jason Huntley
  • CB Michael Jacquet
  • CB Craig James
  • DE Matt Leo
  • Sua Opeta
  • WR Andre Patton
  • C/G Ross Pierschbacher
  • Elijah Riley
  • LB JaCoby Stevens
  • DT Raequan Williams

Placed the following players on Reserve/Injured:

  • Blake Countess

Placed the following players on Reserve/COVID-19:

  • DT T.Y. McGill

Eagles’ Hightower patterns his game after Stefon Diggs

John Hightower and his family will always remember April 25, 2020, as the day he drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s also the day his grandmother became famous. After Hightower found out the Eagles were selecting him in the fifth round, his grandmother yelled out:

“We are to going f______ Philly!” 

Hightower’s tweet of his grandmother’s excitement has been retweeted over 2000 times

The former Boise State wide receiver is excited to go to Philly, and he is excited to be a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, which he told the media via a conference call on Saturday.

Q. This is such a deep draft class with wide receivers. Do you feel like you might’ve gone higher in other years? How do you feel about where you were selected in this draft? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: I’m not worried about rankings or anything. I’m just thankful for the opportunity.

Q. How excited are you and your family? We saw the video of your grandmother. What was the moment like at home celebrating with family and friends? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: I had a long journey to get here, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity. Everybody is excited. I’m excited. Just ready to get to Philly.

Q. Congratulations to you. Can you tell me about your track background and how much that helps you, but also how you adapted to playing football?

JOHN HIGHTOWER: I was running track before I started playing football, so the track background definitely helped me. My track coach definitely played a big part in my life. He’s like a second father to me. Helped me get to track meets that my mother wasn’t able to transport me to.

It’s been a long journey. Track definitely helped me on the football side of things with my quickness, being able to outrun defenders. It has been a great journey with track, and obviously football paid off.

Q. You’re a pretty tall receiver, 6’2″, 6’3″. Is there anybody you’ve kind of patterned your game after that you look and say, I want to be like that guy? Any professional receivers?

JOHN HIGHTOWER: Yes, sir. [Bills WR] Stefon Diggs. He’s from Maryland also. He plays great. Great route running. He’s passionate about what he does. I definitely play my game behind Stefon Diggs.

Q. You were in a really deep draft class of wide receivers. A lot of really good players. Going into the draft, did you expect to go sooner? Were you thinking day two? What’s the wait been like for you having to go all the way to the 200th pick? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: As far as rankings and all that, I was never a guy that paid attention to that. I’m just thankful for the opportunity. I just need to get my foot in the door, prove what I can do, and from there I’ve always been successful.

Q. The Eagles have added a lot of speed at wide receiver this weekend. They have DeSean Jackson. They drafted Jalen Reagor in the first round. You, Quez Watkins; traded for Marquise Goodwin. How do you see that unit? How important do you think that unit is for success in the NFL? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: I just see that as people I could learn a lot from. It’s a lot of great receivers.

I’m just going to go in there, do what I can, learn from them, and do the best that I can.

Q. And how do you think you would stack up in a race with all those guys? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: I don’t know. It would be a great race. Only time will be able to tell with that. Just see how I’ll be able to do.

Q. You’re on the older side for a draft prospect, but you haven’t played wide receiver for that long. How much development do you think you still have left in you? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: I feel like I can learn a lot at receiver. Different coaches bring out different things in receivers, so I’m just ready to learn from our receiver coach and just build on that, get better.

Q. Each year in college you’ve averaged a touchdown for every five or six receptions. I think the career numbers, if I add them up right, are 113 receptions and 21 touchdowns. What do you attribute your consistency to and why do you think you’re so able to find the end zone as successfully as you do? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: My receiver coach at Boise State always told us to take advantage of every opportunity you get. So every opportunity that I got, I just tried my best to take advantage of it. Tried to score every time I would get the ball, run great routes, get open, try to get the ball, and score.

Q. Do you feel that you need to add strength to deal with the bigger, more physical cornerbacks in the league? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: I feel like I can work on every aspect of my game. So not only strength, route running, catching the ball. I’m always willing to get better. So whatever it is I need to get better at, I can get better at it.

I’m not really worried about defenders being stronger than me. I’m just willing to get better.

Q. You’re from the DMV; you went to JuCo in Mississippi; then ended up at Boise state; now you’re going to Philadelphia. What was that journey like just from the perspective of being in all those different physical places, playing in so many different places, and how do you think that shaped you to where you are now? 

JOHN HIGHTOWER: Every school I went to was different, obviously one being in Mississippi, one being in Boise, the community was different.

But I feel like everything helped me not only as a player, but as a man. Living in Mississippi, it was difficult. I had to learn how to get through those times.

When I got to Boise, my future pretty much brightened then. I learned that I was able to be an NFL receiver and I just had to work at it. Just get better every day. My receiving coach helped me to get better every day, and I’m here today talking to you all.