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No Preseason for UCF NFL Hopefuls in 2020

What does it mean for UCF UDFAs?

Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the NFL Players Association agreed to a proposal by the league to remove the remaining preseason games and to lower the training camp rosters from 90 to 80 players.

The preseason is an invaluable tool for players trying to earn a roster spot to prove their worth on the field, especially for undrafted free agents and other fringe players. Losing that opportunity hurts. While NFL teams have not posted their official depth charts, there are multiple sites and publications, such as ESPN and OurLads, that have published depth charts. There are a number of former UCF Knights that were UDFAs this offseason or are fringe roster players at risk of not making the cut.

Nevelle Clarke - Minnesota Vikings

Houston v Central Florida Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

At first glance, Clarke might be viewed as a safe bet in Minnesota. The Vikings are thin experience wise at the cornerback position after losing Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes and drafting three corners to go along with some undrafted free agents, including Clarke. Nevelle got a rare signing bonus guarantee, but he needed a preseason to help separate himself from other young players with better reputations. Right now, Clarke is not in the top four at either corner position. The signing bonus might give him a leg up on getting on the practice squad.

Nate Evans - Jacksonville Jaguars

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 04 UCF at Cincinnati Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Jacksonville running a 4-3 and the roster not overloaded with linebackers, Evans has a chance to make the roster depending on his versatility to potentially learn one of the other linebacker positions and being the third guy. There is room for him as a strong side linebacker.

Adrian Killins Jr - Philadelphia Eagles

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 04 UCF at Cincinnati Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Killins had arguably the highest hill to climb to stick to an NFL roster before the preseason got nixed due to his lack of size. Right now, Killins is 5a/5b with fellow rookie Michael Warren. Philadelphia does not need five running backs on the roster and while neither might make the cut, Warren is much closer to a prototypical running back and should have an easier time finding a practice squad or bottom end roaster position somewhere.

Jordan Franks - Cincinnati Bengals

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 UCF at Cincinnati Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It has been a pleasant surprise to see Jordan Franks in the NFL after being in Jordan Akins' shadow at UCF. Franks has been hanging on to a roster spot for a while now, but with the glut of tight ends(seven as of the writing of this) on the Bengals’ roster, that time looks like it's going to end. Franks did get to play some in 2018 due to injuries, but was on the practice squad all year in 2019.

D.J. Killings - Las Vegas Raiders

Tulsa v Central Florida Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Killings hasn't had good luck keeping healthy in his career as he's ended up on the injury reserve in each of his three years in the league. He was on the active roster for a week and has served on the practice squad a few times, so he at least has that to hang on to. Depending on where you look, he's currently listed third corner on the right side on the high end and outside of the top four on the low end, which means he has a shot to stay on the roster if he has a good camp.

Wyatt Miller - Dallas Cowboys

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 UCF at ECU Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After spending the vast majority of his rookie year on Cincinnati's practice squad, he was signed by Dallas and has a great shot of sticking around. Miller is listed as both a guard and a tackle depending on where you look and as high as second string. With the strong need of linemen on any roster, it looks like Miller is in great shape.