Written by The Blitz Team
We are just a few weeks away from teams kicking of training camps. Each team will start of with a 90-man roster and in a little over a month they will work that down to a 53-man roster. This a process that can be difficult to navigate through and it’s stressful players that are on the roster bubble. Sometimes players find themselves in the right situation where the team lacks depth at a position so it offers them a better chance to make the roster. For this month’s All32, we take a look at players we believe have a chance at making the 53-man roster.
Baltimore RavensDeshon Elliott (S)
DeShon Elliott was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Players that get drafted on the third day are not guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster. Elliott came into a situation where he can earn his spot on the Ravens. Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle are locks to be the starting safeties in 2018, but, father time will catch up to them eventually. The organization must look beyond this season and start planning for their future secondary.
Elliott was viewed by some as a Day 2 talent, so he can be a quality starter at the next level. During his final season at Texas, Elliott had 63 total tackles (8.5 for a loss) and 6 interceptions. He can work his way onto the roster by earning a spot on special teams with his tackling ability. He will be able to be groomed by Jefferson and Weddle. Elliott not only has a chance to make the 53-man roster, but he could be one of the Ravens’ starting safeties in the future.
Cincinnati BengalsAuden Tate (WR)
Auden Tate was nearly “Mr. Irrelevant” in this year’s NFL Draft, taken three spots before the final pick. However, he has a chance to be relevant on this Bengals receiving corps that has question marks outside of AJ Green. He has great size for the position at 6’5”, but didn’t blow anyone away with his 4.68 40-yard dash at the Combine. Tate’s best shot at making the final roster may come from continuing to be a red zone threat. He won’t create much separation from NFL cornerbacks unless it’s vertically. If used the in the right scenarios, he can certainly find a place on this Bengals team searching for a way back into the playoff picture.
-Perry Griffith IV
Cleveland BrownsDrew Stanton (QB)
The Browns’ quarterback position has been a complete train wreck for the better part of two decades. Last season, the Browns started rookie DeShone Kizer in 15 of their 16 games. He was a below average starter in his first season, and the Browns ultimately decided to trade him to the Green Bay Packers in a deal that netted them safety Damarious Randall. Cleveland responded by trading their 2018 3rd round pick to the Buffalo Bills for Tyrod Taylor. After declaring him the starter, they also selected Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield with the 1st overall pick of the 2018 draft. While Browns’ fans are rejoicing about their upgrades at the most important position in football, there was one move that they made that really was ingenious.
The Browns signed veteran backup quarterback Drew Stanton to a 2-year deal worth $6.5 million. While that may not excite fans like the acquisitions of Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield, it is an important deal nonetheless. I know that many Browns’ fans responded to the signing of Stanton by saying he would just get cut after training camp. Not so fast, my friend.
John Dorsey has said all along that they prefer to let Baker Mayfield sit for a year and learn behind their veteran quarterbacks. If that is truly the case, Mayfield may not even suit up for the first several games of the 2018 season. That would mean that Cleveland would indeed need a veteran backup. Drew Stanton fits the bill. Now, let’s assume that all goes well, and Baker Mayfield is ready to take over in 2019. The Browns would presumably let Tyrod Taylor sign elsewhere and obtain an additional draft pick in 2020. If Mayfield was the starter, they would again need a backup quarterback in 2019. And, you guessed it, Drew Stanton makes sense once again. So in essence, the Browns did in fact sign Stanton to be the backup quarterback for the next 2 seasons for 2 different quarterbacks. It was an ingenious signing by Dorsey, and I completely expect Stanton to make the roster even though many fans and media members believe he is on the 53 man roster bubble.
Pittsburgh SteelersKeion Adams (OLB)
I believe that this year’s roster for the Steelers will look relatively similar to last year’s as far as returning players go. However, they have some open spots that will need to be filled as well, which includes outside linebacker. Currently, the Steelers have three roster locks at outside linebacker with TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Anthony Chickillo. With last season’s departure of James Harrison, along with Arthur Moats becoming a free agent, that leaves the fourth spot at the position up for grabs. Keion Adams is a player that I believe can earn that spot.
Adams was selected by the Steelers in the seventh round on the 2017 NFL Draft out of Western Michigan and unfortunately was forced to miss his rookie season due to injury. He was a player that the Steelers believed could compete for playing time as a rookie as he was an intriguing prospect coming out of college.
In his four years at Western Michigan, Adams accounted for 126 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, and 14.5 sacks. Coming off a shoulder injury, he still remains someone who is high on the radar for the Steelers. Adams will be in competition with undrafted linebacker Farrington Huguenin for the fourth outside linebacker spot. If he comes out and performs as expected during camp, I believe that Adams will win this battle and be in the rotation for the Steelers this season.