Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie technically served as Philly's No. 3 corner in 2011, but Hanson took nearly as many snaps because he was usually on the field in nickel defense. He took 222 coverage snaps lined up in the slot, per Pro Football Focus, while Rodgers-Cromartie took just 106.
With DRC moving into the starting lineup and the 31-year-old Hanson out the door, we've received a strong indication from the coaching staff that the confidence level in youngsters Brandon Boykin and Curtis Marsh is high.
Unless the Eagles plan on signing another veteran, they'll enter 2012 with the rookie Boykin serving as the nickel corner and Marsh playing the role DRC played last season and backing up both outside cover guys.
On the surface, it would appear this cornerback group is shallower than it was with Asante Samuel and Hanson in place last year, but the Eagles clearly like what they've seen from Boykin (a fourth-round pick this year) and Marsh (a third-round pick in 2011).
Hanson was released at this very point last year before re-signing with the team four days later. I don't expect that to happen this time because he's a year older now, he was cut despite his contract not being an issue this time, and Boykin has looked extremely good thus far.
Add Boykin and subtract both Samuel and Hanson, and you're left with a young unit that is down a top-five man from last year. As a result, there's a good chance both Trevard Lindley and Brandon Hughes return for depth purposes.
Other Eagles Roster Moves of Note on Cutdown Day
Trent Edwards in at Quarterback, Mike Kafka Out
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane was first to report it, and now it's been confirmed by PhillyMag.com: Edwards will be the No. 3 this season. Great decision by the Eagles, who had no idea who they were getting with Kafka. I really do think this is a smart move by the Eagles, who could use Edwards' veteran experience in the locker room and on the sideline.
Antonio Dixon Odd Man Out on the Defensive Line
Some figured the Eagles might keep 11 linemen, but in the end Dixon was cast aside as the final cut. They couldn't work out a trade but ultimately cut him loose and now Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton will back up Derek Landri and Cullen Jenkins.
Chad Hall, Marvin McNutt and Mardy Gilyard Out at Wide Receiver
That means the Eagles are certain to keep undrafted rookie Damaris Johnson so that they can have another option in the return game with Hall gone. Gilyard isn't a surprise cut, but McNutt was a true disappointment. They had expected the rookie sixth-round pick to step up and try to fill Riley Cooper's shoes early.
Keenan Clayton Out at Linebacker
Not a huge surprise because the 2010 fourth-round pick was getting no time with first-teamers in camp and the preseason, but this pretty much assures us that Brian Rolle and Jamar Chaney will be on the final roster. When the team announced it had released Clayton the roster had already been pared down to 56 men.
Oshiomogho Atogwe Out at Safety
The experiment officially failed, and now the Eagles are thin at safety. Jaiquawn Jarrett looks as though he'll survive after playing better later in the preseason, but Phillip Thomas was also cut. That means Colt Anderson must be healthy and ready to serve as the fourth safety.