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Explaining why Eagles kept these 5 roster bubble players

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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps more interesting than which players the Philadelphia Eagles cut on Saturday was the roster bubble players they decided to keep on the final team. These players aren't totally safe because it's always possible the Eagles cut them if an upgrade comes along, but for now they're here. Let's make sense of why these players were able to stick around.

RB Kenjon Barner

Barner earned his spot on the roster by making big plays not only on special teams but offense as well.  He even had two special teams tackles. Having played for Oregon didn't hurt, but #DuckBias aside, Barner had a legitimately good summer. It makes sense for the Eagles to keep four running backs because DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews are both injury prone while Darren Sproles is aging. Getting Barner for free from the Carolina Panthers last offseason turned out to be a pretty decent pickup.

Barner finished the preseason with 55 rushing yards on 15 attempts (3.7 average) for one touchdown. As a receiver, he caught four passes for 72 yards. He returned 13 punts for 223 yards (17.2 average) and two touchdowns.

DB E.J. Biggers

Early on in training camp, I kept forgetting Biggers was even on the team. Slowly but surely he made himself noticeable -- in a good way. Biggers played well in practice and even during the first two preseason games. He looked nothing like the Biggers who played for Washington. But then the old version of E.J. showed up during the Eagles-Packers game. He was beaten repeatedly by backup wide receivers and backup quarterbacks. That wasn't very encouraging.

Still, Biggers showed more good than bad this summer. He also has experience playing nickel cornerback (where he mostly played with Washington last year), outside cornerback, and safety. The Eagles are hoping he can be serviceable. He might see most of his time in the slot.

CB Denzel Rice

I didn't think there was even a slight chance Denzel Rice was going to make the Eagles. He was the 880th overall draft prospect this year as rated by CBS Sports. Along with Rasheed Bailey, Rice was one of the only two undrafted free agents who didn't receive ANY kind of signing bonus from the Eagles.

Rice had a pretty good summer. He was always active during practice. If he wasn't breaking up passes, he was forcing fumbles by stripping wide receivers. He also made two special teams tackles (plus one assisted tackled) in the preseason. Rice turned out to be a really pleasant surprise for Philadelphia.

S Jerome Couplin

The Eagles originally signed Couplin away from Detroit's practice squad late last season. He never played in any games, so the Eagles basically just wanted to stash him. Couplin has good size for the safety position (6-2, 215 pounds) so he looks the part. He also played the part this summer. He finished the preseason with nine tackles, including one for a loss.

Couplin finished the preseason as the No. 2 overall safety as graded by Pro Football Focus. He was active in run support. He was only targeted three times in coverage and allowed two receptions for a total of a mere eight yards.

OL Josh Andrews

I had Andrews on my 53-man roster prediction all the way back in June, so obviously I deserve a ton of credit here. OK, just kidding, because I didn't keep him on my recent editions. I should have known better.

The Eagles like Andrews, who spent the entire 2014 season on the practice squad, because of his versatility to play both guard and center. Andrews had a good preseason as far as PFF is concerned. Andrews finished with the third best run blocking grade of any offensive guard.