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The New Reality No.92: Projecting Key Roster Cuts and Keeps

Projecting notable skill position players on the right side - and wrong side - of the upcoming 53-man roster cut down across the NFL

Without segments of cutdowns for NFL rosters in 2017, there will be a huge shake-up on September 2nd when plenty of players are cut to get down to 53-man rosters per team. Here is how I project the status the notable players at each position near the cut line:


CUT Kevin Hogan - Unless Brock Osweiler is traded, Hogan is the odd man out in Cleveland. Hogan has a sub par arm and mobility is his best trait.

Running Back

KEEP De'Angelo Henderson - The Broncos better not try to float Henderson to their practice squad as a few NFL teams would have Henderson as a significant upgrade to their RB3/4 situation. Jamaal Charles looks like a safe roster spot, but Henderson and Charles are likely vying for the same slot.

KEEP Matt Jones - Projecting as the RB4 in Washington, like De'Angelo Henderson other NFL teams would welcome the chance to add Jones if cut. Keeping Mack Brown - as some have projected - over Jones would be a mistake.

KEEP Dwayne Washington - The second-year back looks in better shape than a year ago and Matt Asiata's all-but-guaranteed cut facilitates Washington's spot as the RB4.

KEEP Brian Hill - The Falcons have quality depth at running back. Terron Ward is the savvy veteran as the RB3, but Hill has enough upside of size and movement to not float out beyond the cut line hoping to stash him on the practice squad. Atlanta is likely to keep four backs.

KEEP Jeremy McNichols - The fortunate thing for Tampa Bay is Doug Martin will not count against the 53-man total during his suspension. McNichols is firmly on the cut line otherwise and will need a change of his stock to stick beyond Martin returning.

CUT Senorise Perry would be my choice for the RB4 job in Miami, but I think he gets cut. He warrants consideration from other teams with his size-athleticism combination.

CUT Taquan Mizzell - 'Smoke' has flashed especially in space this preseason, but is likely on the outside looking in for a 53 spot. He will have interest on at least a practice squad assignment somewhere.

CUT Tra Carson - One of my favorite deep backs to track. If he sticks would be RB4 in Cincinnati, but likely practice squad or finding an opportunity elsewhere.

CUT Terrell Watson - A UTH favorite, but time is running out and Knile Davis is more likely to make the roster (if PIT keeps 4 backs) than Watson.

CUT Akeem Hunt - The Houston back has had his moments, but Tyler Ervin ran consistently ahead of Hunt and Blue and Foreman are locks.

CUT Elijah Hood - Oakland would like to stash Hood on the practice squad, but the former top recruit with size on his side would be an upgrade for multiple teams' running back depth chart as their final 53-man back.

CUT Ronnie Hillman - The former Denver back loses tiebreakers to Rod Smith if the pair is fighting for one spot in Dallas. Both are clearly behind Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris.

CUT Donnel Pumphrey - The Day 3 rookie has failed to separate himself from Corey Clement for the RB4 spot in Philadelphia. Pumphrey's upside is as a future Darren Sproles-like replacement. However, Pumphrey has looked pedestrian and unathletic to-date. The sole argument for Pumphrey over Clement is draft pedigree.

CUT KaDeem Carey - With Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and Benny Cunningham locks for the roster, Carey is the easy cut in Chicago and Jeremy Langford might not be far behind.

CUT Andre Ellington - One of the bigger names on this cut list, Ellington's experiment at wide receiver was grasping at versatility to stick around. Elijhaa Penny offers core special teamer upside - plus ideal size for the position - which gives him the nod over Ellington.

CUT Alex Collins - The former Arkansas back is above the roster talent baseline for the NFL, but Seattle is loaded at running back considering the rise of Chris Carson over the past month.

CUT Tim Hightower - With the promise of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert's special teams ability, the older veteran is on the outside looking in for the 49ers top-4 backs.

Wide Receiver

KEEP Jace Billingsley - One of the better stories of the past month, Billingsley has all but locked down the WR5 role in Detroit, offering a punt returner role as well.

KEEP Max McCaffrey - The Packers have a stocked depth chart at wide receiver. McCaffrey has flashed on offense and offers special teams prowess. Malachi Dupre and DeAngelo Yancey, both rookies, are likely on the outside of the 53-man cut line.

KEEP Kasen Williams - More than Williams making Seattle's final roster is the conversation on Amara Darboh, who has mired through nagging injuries on a strong top-5/6 at receiver in Seattle. The draft pedigree should save Darboh for now, while Williams has turned his projection from cut to keep quickly over the past few weeks.

CUT Austin Carr, whom I like, is likely the odd man out notably in New England's receiver group. Matthew Slater is a special teams dynamo and the top-4 is set otherwise.

CUT Sammie Coates Jr - This is one of the bigger names on the list, but I think Eli Rogers and Darrius Heyward-Bey make the roster ahead of Coates. Could be wrong, but Coates and Justin Hunter are the longer shots.

CUT Tre McBride - Yet to see significant opportunity, the signing of Eric Decker and drafting of Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor crushed McBride's chances as a Tennessee 53 spot.

CUT Cody Latimer - Jordan Taylor has been a quality performer this August and Carlos Henderson is safe. Latimer, once a top-60 type dynasty asset on a projection of a starting role, has yet to carve consistent playing time in Denver.

CUT Noah Brown - If the Cowboys keep six receivers, Brown could be safe. However, the top-5 is solid with Ryan Switzer and Brice Butler in the WR4/5 slots. Brown is a boom-bust profile who has not made strong strides up the depth chart this August.

Tight End

SAFE Logan Thomas did not make any headway for the No.2 role, which is held by Nick O'Leary. However, Thomas should be safe as the No.3 option in Buffalo unless there's a big surprise.

CUT Jacob Hollister - He failed to challenge for the TE3 job. He has the talent to emerge elsewhere or the NE practice squad.

CUT Darrell Daniels - The metric marvel is unlikely to secure a 53-man spot in Indy. Worth tracking in deeper TE-premium formats.

CUT Jerell Adams - He had some situational promise last season, but Rhett Ellison offering blocking prowess and the additional of Evan Engram crush Adams' shot to make the 53.

CUT Derek Carrier - A strong metric prospect, Carrier is a likely cut in Washington. Niles Paul and Jeremy Sprinkle are key roadblocks to Carrier securing a spot.