Thursday, September 2, 2010

Intriguing names among other teams' first-wave cuts

NFL teams were forced to cut down from 80 players to 75 on Tuesday, and though the first round of cuts doesn't usually hold a great deal of talent, it's worth scouring for that diamond in the rough nonetheless.

The Miami Dolphins are far from a complete team right now and could use upgrades and/or depth at a handful of positions.

Therefore, here are some players waived by other teams in the past few days which interest me to some degree.

Arizona Cardinals — Dominique Byrd

Originally a third-round pick by the Rams in 2006, Byrd has never lived up to his talent and has just six career receptions and one touchdown in four seasons.

Byrd has the talent to be a good NFL tight end, but his head is questionable and may prevent him from becoming that. He's worth considering as a No. 3 tight end though.

Buffalo Bills — OT Kyle Calloway, NT Lonnie Harvey

Late-round rookies are waived all the time, but rarely does it happen in the first wave of cuts. But that's exactly what happened with Calloway, who was let go by Buffalo despite being selected in the seventh round last April.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Calloway comes from a good program at Iowa and has some upside as an NFL right tackle, but his early release from the offensive line-challenged Bills is not a good sign.

An undrafted rookie in 2009, Harvey has spent time with Carolina and Buffalo. He's a mountain of a nose tackle at 6-foot-3 and 342 pounds and is worthy of practice-squad consideration.

Carolina Panthers — WR Dexter Jackson

Jackson made a name for himself in college at Appalachian State, scoring two touchdowns and subsequently gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated after the Mountaineers upset No. 5 Michigan in 2007.

Drafted by Tampa Bay in the second round the following season, Jackson appeared in seven games as a rookie but has not played in a game since.

At 5-foot-9 and 182 pounds, Jackson offers little on offense and has been sub-par as a returner. However, he has intriguing speed and athleticism and could be worth a look-see as a return specialist.

Chicago Bears — DE Maurice Evans

A highly-touted high school prospect, Evans was kicked off the Penn State squad after being charged with marijuana possession. He subsequently went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Evan has bounced around with four teams (including Tampa Bay twice) over the past year and a half and has yet to stick. While he hasn't been able to put it together yet, he still has upside and is just 22.

Evans has only been on teams that run the 4-3 thus far in his career, but he also projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker at 6-foot-2 and 264 pounds and is practice-squad eligible.

Cincinnati Bengals — LB Rashad Jeanty

The Dolphins worked Jeanty out on the offseason, but told him his ankle needed surgery. Jeanty wound up re-signing with the Bengals and spent all of training camp on the PUP list before being terminated due to a failed physical.

Jeanty is a good special-teams player and solid backup outside linebacker when healthy, although there is no telling when that will be.

Dallas Cowboys — SS Pat Watkins

Drafted by then-head coach Bill Parcells in 2006, Watkins gained starting experienced his rookie season but has been primarily limited to a special-teams role since.

Watkins is still recovering from a knee injury, but one would have to imagine that a big (6-5, 211), fast (4.4 speed) safety with starting experience and excellent special-teams ability would have to interest the man that drafted him five years ago.

Minnesota Vikings — WR Marko Mitchell

An intriguing prospect in the 2009 NFL Draft due to his size (6-4, 218) and speed (4.49 forty), Mitchell lasted just one season with the Redskins as a seventh-rounder. He then lasted just a month in the talent wasteland of Detroit, and just two months in Minnesota despite their problems with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin.

While he's not off to a good start and may not have what it takes to be an NFL receiver, Mitchell has some intriguing tools and upside. His permanent lack of eligibility for the practice squad (after playing 10 games in 2009) will hurt his chances of getting picked up.

New York Jets — WR Aundrae Allison, QB Kevin O'Connell

After two unimpressive seasons with the Vikings, Allison missed the entire 2009 season after suffering a torn ACL with the Jets in the preseason.

I was really impressed with Allison and always liked his potential, but he's no longer eligible for the practice squad and still has injury concerns to go along with developmental issues.

O'Connell is another prospect I liked coming out of college, but he's now been traded or cut by three teams (including the Lions) in three years. I like him as a third quarterback to develop.

Oakland Raiders — WR Paul Hubbard

A sixth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2008, Hubbard has yet to appear in a regular season game. He has good size at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds and is eligible for the practice squad.

Pittsburgh Steelers — OT Adrian Jones

Out of football in 2009, Jones has appeared in 55 games, including 26 starts, since he entered the league in 2004. An experienced guard and tackle, he could be a solid veteran backup lineman to replace Nate Garner.

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