Where the Top 5 NFL Roster Cut Candidates Should Land
All NFL teams have to trim their roster by 9 p.m. EST on Friday, and there will be players that get cut who could fit extremely well on other NFL teams. The NFL allows a 53-man roster for all NFL teams, and some teams are going to cut players that can play in the league. There should be many players moving tonight.
Teams have to determine if the players that get cut can fit with their team and the schemes they run on offense and defense. There are some pretty obvious examples of teams that have needs in certain areas.
Let’s take a look at the five players who were cut that can still play in the NFL and the teams that are the best fit for them.
Brian Hoyer and the Green Bay Packers
Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
The Green Bay Packers are a team that has dominated the player personnel game for many years. They always do a terrific job in the draft and free agency, and they generally do not have a blatant weakness in the makeup of their team.
There is a difference this year and it is at the backup quarterback position. Currently, Graham Harrell sits as the primary backup to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Harrell is simply not good enough. The Packers would be in a bad situation if Rodgers were to miss any time, and it is a situation the Packers could remedy easily.
The New England Patriots released backup quarterback Brian Hoyer today, and the Packers would be wise to reach out to him as quickly as they can. Hoyer is an instant upgrade over Harrell and is a player that the Packers could rely on to lead the team because of a Rodgers injury.
Hoyer played in a pro-style offense at Michigan State and entered the NFL with some nice quarterback traits. He has a quick release, a strong arm and throws the ball with excellent touch. He is also a smart player who moves well in the pocket.
He has learned in the New England system for three seasons and was cut after his fourth training camp with the team. Hoyer is an enormous upgrade over Harrell, and the Packers need to make this move right away before Hoyer gets picked up elsewhere.
They can’t enter the 2012 NFL season with such a liability at backup quarterback.
Dale Moss and the Miami Dolphins
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
The Miami Dolphins are missing big-play abilities from their group of wide receivers. They lack the ability to attack teams vertically, and the offense needs a player that can make things happen down the field.
Dale Moss is an athletic freak and exactly the player the Dolphins need. He is young and can grow with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins are clearly rebuilding, and it would not hurt them to add such a potentially big down field threat.
Moss has only played football for one year at South Dakota after playing basketball for four years. Moss is 6’3-1/2” and 213 pounds, and he can flat out fly. Moss has some extremely explosive legs and just needs to learn the game.
Moss ran a 4.45 second 40-yard dash, recorded a vertical jump of 41.5” and broad jumped 10’10” at his pro-day workout. These are unbelievable numbers for a big wide receiver and he could help the Dolphins with his athletic skill.
The Green Bay Packers signed Moss as a free agent after the draft, but the position is loaded in Green Bay. The Dolphins do not have that luxury, and they need to accumulate as much talent at the position as they can.
It requires a little out of the box thinking, but Moss is a player the Dolphins could use now and in the future.
Dominique Franks and the Detroit Lions
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
The Detroit Lions have a depth problem in their secondary. They cut Alphonso Smith and that leaves them with five cornerbacks. It is a priority for the Lions to add a cornerback over the next few days before the regular season starts.
Franks is a young player but he does have some experience playing cornerback in the NFL. He played in 14 games for the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, starting four games and intercepting two passes last year.
The Falcons have three elite cornerbacks on the roster in Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel. Franks looks to be out in Atlanta because of the trade the Falcons made to acquire Asante Samuel in April.
The Lions do not need a superstar in this process. They need a player that can provide depth and stability in the back-end of the defense. They do not need a player with too much gamble either, as they are trying to limit the big plays they give up in the passing game.
Franks is under contract for two more seasons at a very modest salary, and he can help bring depth to the position for the Lions. Franks would be a solid addition to the secondary of the Lions.
Trai Essex to the Arizona Cardinals
Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
The Arizona Cardinals have a gigantic hole at the left tackle position, and they need to address the problem if they want to protect their quarterback. The Cardinals are in a lousy spot here.
Cardinals starting left tackle Levi Brown suffered a torn triceps muscle and is out for the season. They already had protection issues, but this is a massive blow to the offensive line. The Cardinals need to find someone to fill in and stabilize their line.
The Pittsburgh Steelers cut backup left tackle Trai Essex, and the Cardinals would be smart to add him to their offensive line. He is a proven veteran and he can stabilize the protection for newly named starter John Skelton.
Essex is an inexpensive fix as he signed a one-year $825,000 contract with the Steelers in 2012. It makes sense for the Cardinals to add a player that can help protect the quarterback now before the injuries begin to pile up at the quarterback position.
Tim Hightower to the San Diego Chargers
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
It is abundantly clear that Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is not going to be able to handle a full workload in the NFL. He is an extremely injury prone player and he is going to miss games to start the season because of a broken clavicle.
Backup Ronnie Brown is going to take over the starting job while Mathews is out, but the Chargers need an upgrade over Brown for the long-term. They need to find a back that can make plays out of the backfield for their offense.
Tim Hightower is a talented running back. He is a player that can make plays running and catching the ball. Hightower would be an asset in the Chargers offense, as he can pick up the blitz and help in pass protection on third downs.
The Washington Redskins cut Hightower, and he would be a solid addition to the running back group for the Chargers. They are going to need to use several backs while Mathews is out, and Hightower would be an excellent addition to that group.