Cut Day Surprises

Every year, right before the season, each NFL team has to cut down from 75 to 53 players on the roster.  This is one of the saddest days of the year as an NFL hopeful, but it’s also the time of year when fans can get a real look at what their favorite team’s roster is going to look like entering the season.

Every season, there are several players who get cut that suprises me.  This year, there are only a few real surprises, but some nonetheless.  Below, I’ve outlined the surprise cuts at each position.

QB – Matt Leinart and Thaddeus Lewis, Buffalo; Vince Young, Green Bay; Tim Tebow, New England; David Carr, New York Giants; Tyler Wilson, Oakland

Leinart and Thad Lewis were only signed to fill in for the Bills, who only had Jeff Tuel healthy after Kevin Kolb went on IR.  It was surprising that the Bills didn’t hang on to one of them, particularly because Lewis looked pretty good in his final season, and it seemed reasonable to think that he might fit in the offense behind the mobile E.J. Manuel.  Vince Young was a surprise until the Packers brought in Seneca Wallace, who is definitely an upgrade at the backup position.  Tim Tebow isn’t really a surprise, but I have to wonder what the Patriots were hoping to get out of him with the top two QB spots already set before they brought him in.  David Carr has been there a long time, so it’s telling that the rookie Ryan Nassib beat him out at the backup spot.  Tyler Wilson was a fourth round pick who looked good early in the off-season and it seems premature to give up on him so early.

RB/FB – Ryan Torain, New York Giants; Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh; Alexander Green, Green Bay; Shaun Draughn, Kansas City; Evan Rodriguez, Miami

Torain was on a last chance effort to make a squad, vying for time behind David Wilson while Andre Brown is out with a broken leg.  The Giants went with youth over Torain.  Dwyer fell out of favor with the Steelers, but has looked good at times.  It’ll be surprising if nobody picks him up.  Green and Draughn both were contributors last year and I thought they were sure to make the roster.  Rodriguez was the closest thing to a fullback Miami had before signing Tyler Clutts, and his versatility looked like it might save him.

WR/TE – Tandon Doss, Baltimore; Jordan Shipley, Jacksonville; Chris Harper, Seattle

Doss was a guy I was really high on coming out of college, thinking he had a little T.O. kind of ability to him.  Clearly, he was outplayed by other youngsters in Baltimore, but it was surprising that he was cut.  Shipley has been bouncing around the league but it’s surprising he can’t stick on a roster at least as a chain mover.  Harper was a fourth round pick, and it’s rare to see someone that highly drafted fail to make a roster his rookie year.  He was outplayed by Jermaine Kearse in the offseason.  No TE cuts surprised me.

OL – Senio Kelemete, Arizona; Zebrie Sanders, Buffalo

Kelemete and Sanders are both players that had a tremendous amount of talent and development potential coming into the draft last year.  This year, they’ve been cut by their respective teams.  While neither player had good rookie seasons, and neither was particularly highly drafted, it’s still surprising to me that these two young talents find themselves without jobs this week.  It’ll be interesting to see who picks them up and whether or not someone else can turn them into NFL starters.

Admittedly, there really weren’t any surprising cuts on the defensive side of the ball.  Most of the defensive players that were cut were expected to be cut.