"Obviously, we had big expectations for both of those guys," Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said last night on a conference call.
And then there was Lorenzo Booker . The Eagles traded for the running back during last year's draft, surrendering a fourth-round pick to Miami. The team said then that it considered Booker a draft pick since it had coveted him the year before. But Booker, who was hardly used last year, was also cut last night.
Smith, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound defensive end, was drafted in the third round in 2008. He was the Eagles' third selection and the 80th player taken overall. After he was picked, Smith admitted he was taken aback because he had hardly spoken to the Eagles' coaches.
Smith, even though he was taken so high, was viewed as a bit of a project because he had only recently beefed up to 250 pounds. As a senior at McNeese State, he weighed 217. Smith spent all of last season on the 53-man roster, but he was never activated on game days.
During this preseason, Smith mostly ran with the third team, so it was difficult at times to gauge his progress. But when the Eagles claimed Jason Babin off waivers and the former first-round draft pick made an immediate impact, Smith soon became the odd man out.
"He wasn't as productive as we thought he would be in the preseason," Heckert said. "He was in a battle there with Jason Babin."
Smith did have an interception and six tackles in the preseason, but those numbers paled when compared with Babin's 14 tackles and three sacks.
When the Eagles drafted Ikegwuonu in the fourth round they knew they were taking damaged goods. The 5-11, 200-pound cornerback tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee prior to the NFL combine. He also had a burglary charge - one he was eventually acquitted of - hanging over his head.
"Obviously, he was a little behind in everything as a player," Heckert said of Ikegwuonu, who spent last season on injured reserve. "We still like Jack, and we'll see what happens here in the next day or two."
The Eagles also waived guard Mike Gibson , who was chosen in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.
Eckel among the cut Kyle Eckel got to play for his hometown team, and despite the bad news he received yesterday, the Episcopal Academy product said he wasn't bitter about being waived.
"It's tough," the former Eagles fullback said. "It's an added element to the whole thing. Who's to say it's over for good? But it was honor to play for the Eagles ."
The Eagles informed Eckel yesterday afternoon that he wasn't one of the four running backs to make the 53-man roster. The fullback lost out to Brian Westbrook , LeSean McCoy , Leonard Weaver , and Eldra Buckley .
Weaver, a fullback, was signed from Seattle in the off-season, so Eckel knew he had to prove his versatility wasn't expendable. He could play both fullback and halfback and was a willing special- teams participant. But Buckley caught on, and Eckel saw hardly any snaps at halfback.
In 2007, Eckel was released by the Patriots, only to be re-signed. He's not ruling that possibility out with the Eagles , who picked him up last October.
"I was told to stay in shape and be ready," Eckel said. "You kind of look at the roster, and guys get banged up in this game all the time. I'll stay ready for any team."
The other cuts Along with Smith, Ikegwuonu, Booker, Gibson and Eckel, the Eagles got rid of defensive tackle Dan Klecko, linebacker Matt Wilhelm , tight end Matt Schobel , cornerback Trae Williams , defensive end Josh Gaines , linebacker Tank Daniels , safety Reshard Langford , wide receiver Danny Amendola , center Dallas Reynolds , guard Paul Fanaika (a seventh-round pick this year), tight end Rob Myers , and fullback Marcus Mailei .
Some of the players let go could find themselves on the Eagles' practice squad. The team can add up to eight players. Practice squad players, however, can be claimed by other teams if the player is willing to leave.
The Eagles placed tackle Fenuki Tupou , a 2009 fifth-round pick, on injured reserve with a chest injury. He joins linebacker Stewart Bradley and tight end Cornelius Ingram , both of whom have torn ligaments in their knees.
Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.