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2018 Patriots practice squad: New England signs four players, including quarterback Danny Etling

The third stringer is one of four men to return.

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots’ first practice squad is starting to take shape. After all but three of the team’s previously released players made it through the waiver wire unclaimed, the Patriots have been able to reach agreements with the first four of them, according to multiple media reports:

QB Danny Etling

DT Vincent Valentine

LB Harvey Langi

RB Ralph Webb

Seeing New England bring back those four guys certainly is good news for the team as they add more depth at their respective positions and will be given more time to grow behind the scenes – something all four need: Etling was inconsistent during training camp and the preseason, while Webb was unable to crack the deep running back rotation in front of him.

Langi, meanwhile, has been out with a kidney injury since the Patriots’ first preseason game and will likely need additional time to get back to full speed. Valentine, like Langi, ended the 2017 season on an injury-related reserve list but has plenty of upside. Seeing the Patriots keep him around – especially with both Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton scheduled to hit free agency next offseason – is a good move for New England.