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Five To Watch: Defense

We've already highlighted five players to watch on offense tonight as the Eagles prepare to close out the preseason against the New York Jets before Friday's cut day. By 9 PM tomorrow night, the Eagles' roster will be whittled from 75 players to 53 as the team moves on to the regular season. Some of the players listed below are expected to make the team while others are fighting for their spot. Without further ado …

LB Akeem Jordan – Jordan is the only defensive starter slated to play tonight as the veteran linebacker will play one or two series at his new weakside linebacker position. Jordan, who has started 27 games in his five seasons with the Eagles, spent the majority of Training Camp getting reps on the strong side. So Jordan get some game action tonight to get acclimated back to the weak side, a position he's played for the Eagles before. Jordan has a strong preseason and should provide the Eagles with a steady third linebacker to complement DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.

S Oshiomogho Atogwe – Atogwe has been scratched each of the last two preseason games with a hamstring injury, meaning that his only game action as an Eagle came in the preseason opener. Atogwe is fighting to be the top backup safety, but he has to prove reliable for the Eagles to give him that role. Jaiquawn Jarrett is in a similar fight, but Atogwe may be the greater unknown at this point.

CB Curtis Marsh – Marsh is ticketed for the roster and may be the top backup at outside cornerback at the moment. The 2011 third-round pick has been impressive this preseason and if he's earned enough trust from the coaches, the team may choose to only keep five cornerbacks (including Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Joselio Hanson and Brandon Boykin). Therefore, Marsh's play affects the decisions on players like Brandon Hughes and the next player to watch.

CB Trevard Lindley – Lindley has been mostly an afterthought this offseason after the 2010 fourth-round pick arrived back with the Eagles following a 2011 season in which he didn't play any NFL games. Released following the roster cutdown last year in favor of Hanson, Lindley continued working on his game despite the lack of game reps. He was recently lauded by defensive coordinator Juan Castillo as having a quietly impressive offseason, and if Lindley looks like the player the Eagles thought they drafted, he may eke out Hughes for one of the final spots.

DT Antonio Dixon – Dixon is the Eagles' largest defensive tackle, best suited for stopping the run. But the big fella seems to be fifth in the pecking order of defensive tackles at the moment, trailing Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Fletcher Cox and the surprising Cedric Thornton. With Mike Patterson headed to PUP and potentially out for the season, Dixon is the lone remaining big body inside. But including Dixon on the roster would likely mean keeping 10 or 11 defensive linemen, which may be a bit much. Tonight is Dixon's last chance to make the case that he's indispensable.

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