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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
Almost one month ago, the NFL cut their preseason in half, making it incredibly difficult for incoming fringe players and draft picks to get a chance to prove themselves.
Earlier this week, the NFL agreed with the NFLPA to completely eliminate all four preseason games and that makes it all but impossible to see what those players have.
That fact has lead to the early release of some players hoping to prove themselves in these games.
The first to go was former Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, who was hoping to make the team as a receiver.
Tate was in perhaps the best position to succeed with Greg Ward Jr. in camp as an example and seemed to had a pretty good shot at making the practice squad as all of our writers projected him to land on the squad out of camp.
A little under a week ago, center Keegan Render and corner Trevor Williams were released.
Render was more likely to be a camp body, but with teams looking to carry less people to try and prevent an outbreak, those players will likely need to wait until next year to look for a position.
Williams, a former Penn State player, is a veteran who showed great ability a few years ago, but has struggled with injuries. In a normal camp scenario, he could have been a major surprise for the team, perhaps along the lines of Patrick Robinson, but the Eagles are more likely to roll with the guys they are more familiar with at this point.
Additionally, Williams had been best suited for the slot but Cre’Von LeBlanc, who has been a top-tier option in that position, is once again likely to be depth as the Eagles wound up signing an elite slot corner to a bargain deal in free agency.
On Sunday, the Eagles released an additional five players: defensive tackle Albert Huggins, defensive end Daeshon Hall, corner Tremon Smith and receivers Marcus Green and Shelton Gibson.
The pair of Smith and Green were most valuable as returners, but the Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor and John Hightower as additional options that could be greatly effective in that role.
Shelton Gibson made an impact by drawing a pass interference in the playoffs last season, but was a known quantity to the team as someone who was unlikely to make an impact, particularly in the totally revamped receiver room. Gibson would likely have been the lowest receiver on the depth chart to start camp.
Albert Huggins, a piece of that fearsome Clemson defensive line in 2018, showed some promise, but ended up buried on the depth chart with the addition of Javon Hargrave, return of Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway and the showings from Anthony Rush late last season. The team could look to re-sign him if an injury occurs, but Tim Jernigan also remains unsigned as an option should the team need to add depth.
The most surprising cut was Daeshon Hall, who was a standout last preseason before winding up on injured reserve with minimal playing time in the regular season. Hall was obviously behing Graham, Barnett and Sweat and was likely to find himself behind 2019 draft pick Shareef Miller. This move would make it seem that the Eagles are still counting on Joe Ostman to contribute and push for a spot this season after his potential breakout season ended with injury before it started in 2019.
The Eagles now figure to have 83 players in camp, though one (Matt Leo) can be with the team without counting toward the roster total. More moves may take place in the coming weeks to lower that number closer to 80.