Rookie quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Jake Luton highlight the list of locals who survived Saturday’s NFL cutdown day, as NFL teams trimmed their rosters from 80 to 53 players in advance of next weekend’s season openers.
Snohomish County natives Eason (Indianapolis Colts), Luton (Jacksonville Jaguars), running back Myles Gaskin (Miami Dolphins) and linebacker Devante Downs (New York Giants) all survived Saturday’s cutdown day, making them part of their teams’ initial rosters for the 2020 season.
One county native, cornerback KeiVarae Russell (New York Giants), did not make the final cut.
Last year Gaskin was the only county native to survive cutdown day.
Eason, a graduate of Lake Stevens High School, was selected by the Colts in the fourth round of this year’s draft out of the University of Washington. He was one of three quarterbacks retained by Indianapolis and is expected to spend the season learning as an understudy to veteran Philip Rivers.
Luton, a graduate of Marysville Pilchuck High School, was a sixth-round selection by Jacksonville in this year’s draft. The Herald’s 2019-20 Man of the Year in Sports beat out veterans Mike Glennon and Josh Dobbs to serve as Gardner Minshew’s backup.
Gaskin, a Lynnwood native who attended O’Dea High School, is in his second NFL season. Last year as a rookie he appeared in seven games with the Dolphins, carrying the ball 36 times for 133 yards and a touchdown and catching seven passes for 53 yards. He was one of six running backs kept by Miami.
Downs, a Mountlake Terrace High School graduate, is in his third season. Last season he appeared in two games with the Minnesota Vikings before being released, then was signed by the Giants and appeared in seven games, registering one tackle. He was one of five inside linebackers retained by the Giants, earning a place over Ryan Connelly, who started three games last season before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
Russell, a graduate of Mariner High School, was a late signing during training camp by the Giants. A veteran of three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2016-18, he was not in the league last year. Russell now goes on waivers where he can be claimed by any other team. If he goes unclaimed, he becomes a free agent. In past years Russell would have been ineligible to be signed to a practice squad as he has accrued too much roster time. However, the NFL expanded practice squads from 10 to 16 this season, with six slots available for veterans, so he eligible again.
Surviving Saturday’s cuts does not guarantee a player will be with his team for the opener. Teams that have successful waiver claims will have to make additional cuts.