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August 29, 2019

Four players who impressed in Eagles' preseason finale vs. Jets

It goes without saying that we had slim pickings to choose from when looking for players that impressed in the Eagles 6-0 loss to the Jets to close out the preseason Thursday night.

But, as professionals, we pushed through the pain that was Preseason Week 4 and found what few bright spots we could.

The Eagles have two days to sort out their 53-man roster by Saturday, so the events of Thursday evening could have a huge impact on helping the squad configure it's make up. 

Here's a look at the four players we were most impressed by:

Josh Hawkins

He may not be the best coverage cornerback who was on the field Thursday night, but he may have been the most impactful. The 26-year-old from ECU was not only all over the field and seemingly in on every single play early in the game, he also made a few very impressive open field tackles with seven on the night (plus a deflected pass).

He added icing to the cake nabbing the Eagles' second turnover of the entire preseason, a third quarter interception:

Hawkins has 32 NFL games — three of them starts. He began his career with the Packers where he made the 53-man as an undrafted free agent two seasons in a row. He has had stints on the Panthers, Chiefs and Eagles practice squads (he joined the Eagles last December). Hawkins was pressed into service late in the season as the Eagles lost players in the secondary like flies dropping out of the sky. Hawkins is an extreme long shot to make the active roster this year, mostly due to his weaknesses in man coverage. However, he is a good bet to make it to a practice squad again.

Alex Singleton

The Eagles have some question marks at linebacker, with Kamu Grugier-Hill out with an injury for a few weeks (at least) and Nigel Bradham still slowly returning to action from his own injury concerns. Which means there could be an opening for a role player to make the team at linebacker. Singleton, a journeyman who has played for five different pro teams (including the CFL) is competing against Nate Gerry, T.J. Edwards and L.J. Fort for a spot on the 53-man. He made a great case Thursday.

Singleton made a team-leading 16 tackles and had a big QB hit on a night that saw him dart all over the football field. He should have recovered a fumble late in the game (on a fantastic "punch out" by Jason Thompson), but he was ruled to have just touched the out of bounds mark on a play that showed fantastic awareness.

Singleton is a good candidate to make the practice squad if he isn't on the active roster, as he was with the Patriots and and the Vikings, though he might make more money if he returns north of the border. In Canada, Singleton was a two-time CFL All-Star compiling four sacks and 328 tackles in three full seasons.

Daeshon Hall

We featured Hall after Preseason Week 1, when he first burst onto the scene. We avoided including him in Weeks 2 and 3 even though he played like a star again. We wrote a feature on him back before the week began, on Hall's battle with Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller for a roster spot. But we have to mention him again.

Thursday night, Hall clinched preseason MVP with another strip sack — his fourth QB takedown of the preseason — and pressure after pressure on the Jets signal-caller. And he did it all while missing time with a shoulder injury early in the game. Hall also made a splash with a big QB hit early and drew a double-team that helped teammate Hassan Ridegway get a sack.

Here's Hall's big play:

The Eagles may elect to carry five defensive ends thanks to Hall's performance this preseason. He's put too much on tape to make it through waivers to get on the practice squad.

Cameron Johnston

Yeah, it's the fourth preseason game — there isn't much to pick from. But we aren't kidding with Johnston. With the Eagles offense sputtering nearly every time they got the ball, the Eagles punter booted eight punts, the first seven of which went for an average 50.5 yards per kick — a rate that would have led all NFL punters in the 2018 regular season. He had a long of 67 yards, pinned five kicks inside the 20 — and even did this (though we still don't quite know why)...

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