So I am back with another 53-man roster prediction following last week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. I thought I would give this another go after that contest shed some light on several players who now have a pretty solid case to make the team.
Heading into the final game before the one and only cut-down to 53, we will likely get to see the starters for roughly one half of play. This means that the reps for the backups will be limited which also means that those who do get the majority of playing time in the second half should give us a better idea of who’ll be making the final 53.
There are plenty of camp battles still getting worked out at this point. The team’s fifth wide receiver, fifth or sixth cornerbacks, and linebacker depth are all still fairly up in the air. There are some real players jockeying for the last few positions and this game shall go a long way of deciding who the lucky few are.
Let’s take a look.
My Thoughts: Smith is light years ahead of Cardale Jones at this point and he is the first backup QB in years to be able to make the second-string offense go during the preseason. I feel the best about the QB2 situation than I have in recent memory.
Running Backs (4)
My Thoughts: Newsome has taken full advantage of his increased reps while guys like Russell Hansbrough and Justin Jackson have missed extensive time this preseason. He is a nice middle-ground between the skillsets of Gordon and Ekeler and offers another dangerous presence in the Bolts’ backfield.
Wide Receivers (6)
My Thoughts: I finally have to get over the fact that Dylan Cantrell will likely not make the final 53 since he has missed way too much time while guys like Davis and Artavis Scott ball out in the meantime. I just hope Cantrell can make it to the practice squad as he is far too talented to lose. I included Scott while Liuget is suspended the first four games but once he is back I expect Scott to be the first one out.
Tight Ends (3)
My Thoughts: Outside of a couple catches from Green and some good run-blocking reps from him and Culkin, the tight ends have been the most underwhelming position group in the preseason. They’ve gotten next to nothing in terms of targets through the first two contests and there doesn’t seem to be a ton of time left for any of them to state much of a case. My locks are Green and Culkin while Bowman likely winds up the third tight end by default.
Offensive Linemen (9)
My Thoughts: This group looks to be as solid as it’s ever been in the last 10 years. With Lamp back in the fold and guys like Pulley and Schofield providing starting experience within the backups, the unit should be able to build upon a 2017 season where they allowed the fewest number of sacks in the league. My only worry is depth at left tackle. Schofield has experience at right tackle but Tevi has been close to disastrous this preseason. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Okung’s sustainable health.
Defensive Linemen (10) (Tackles and Ends)
DE Joey Bosa
DE Melvin Ingram
DT Corey Liuget (exempt)
DT Brandon Mebane
DT Darius Philon
DE Isaac Rochell
DE Chris Landrum
DT Damion Square
DT Steven Richardson
DT Justin Jones
My Thoughts: This may seem like a ton of defensive linemen to keep but I can’t help but see a lot more depth to this position group than I previously thought. With the lack of real, solidified talent on the interior, I don’t mind keeping an extra defensive tackle or two in order to keep options open. Richardson has been a stud and can help collapse a pocket better than the majority of these guys. While interior depth is sufficient, I am worried about the drop off in talent behind Bosa and Ingram. I don’t Landrum is as good as McCain was last year and Rochell is still an enigma until we see him in the regular season.
Linebackers (7) (Middle and Outside)
MLB Denzel Perryman
MLB Jatavis Brown
OLB Uchenna Nwosu
OLB Kyzir White
OLB Kyle Emanuel
MLB D’Juan Hines
MLB Hayes Pullard
My Thoughts: Perryman, Brown, Nwosu, White, and Emanuel are all locks for the team. Hines has been one of my favorite UDFAs to make the team from the jump and I think his path is as clear as ever. Bradley loves Pullard and I actually feel he has taken some steps forward with this game over the offseason. I will say that there is a chance they don’t keep this many linebackers but I can’t help but feel that middle linebacker depth is a question and with the recent injury history of Perryman, it isn’t a bad idea to play it safe with this group.
My Thoughts: Williams is likely sitting out tomorrow’s game for precautionary reasons and this’ll allow Davis to maximize his time with the starting unit. Davis recently stated he feels night-and-day more confident this year and hopefully his game backs up his claims. King will hopefully stay at slot corner, barring anymore injuries to Hayward and Williams going forward. Facyson has been the most impressive UDFA up to this point and I don’t think he relinquishes his grasp on the final CB spot.
My Thoughts: Some might think the team needs to keep more than four total safeties but with the amount of different packages they run on top of all the varied personnel groups they like to deploy, I don’t think they need anymore than this quartet. James is finally with the 1’s and it looks to be Addae at FS while James is slotted at SS. Jenkins’ athletic ability keeps him interesting and Phillips experience at nickel/dime linebacker is always welcomed on this team.
Special Teams (4)
My Thoughts: I believe Sturgis will hold on to win the kicking job and I think the punter job is honestly up for grabs between the two former Aggies. In the end, Kaser is the more experienced one and will likely win out based on that, alone. The biggest change here from the last prediciton is that I’m keeping WR J.J. Jones solely based on his performance as a return man. He shows much more assertion in his play which contrasts heavily against Travis Benjamin’s history in the return game.
Did I miss anybody? Any glaring omissions? Who do you think should make the team that I didn’t select? Let me know in the comment section.