With the end of the preseason comes one of the most maddening times of the season for NFL coaches—the final roster cuts, which inevitably leave worthy players out of a job and thus available to 31 other teams.
Teams have their hands full cutting their rosters down to just 53 players before the Week 1 opener, but the tune can change early on in the season. Injuries take their toll, and teams that aren't happy with certain positions may see an enticing option become available.
These standout players might not be around for long, as teams may snatch them early on in the waiver process. But either way, don't expect them to be without a job come midseason.
Here's a breakdown of players you can expect to see on an NFL roster before long.
Note: Updated list of final roster cuts courtesy of NFL.com
RB Henry Josey (Cut by Philadelphia Eagles)
Henry Josey has done nothing but impress since joining the Eagles this summer, but there simply wasn't enough roster room for him in Philadelphia.
The rookie out of Missouri went undrafted, but quickly landed in Philly after the draft and wasted no time making waves in the preseason. He was consistently one of the Eagles' top backs, rushing 34 times for 224 yards—a strong 6.6 yards per carry—and caught one touchdown pass.
As NFL on ESPN noted, he nearly led the NFL in rushing throughout the preseason:
Most Rush yds 2014 preseason: -Lorenzo Taliaferro BAL 243 -Henry Josey PHI 225 -Joe Banyard MIN 212 -Rashad Jennings NYG 212— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 29, 2014
The problem wasn't his skill or health, it was simply the other options in Chip Kelly's cupboard. LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles assume two of the three running back positions, and the team has looked insistent on keeping at least one or two of these backups: Matthew Tucker, Chris Polk and Kenjon Barner.
However, Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus doesn't think he'll be without a job for long:
Will be surprised if he isn't claimed. RT @caplannfl Eagles are planning to waive RB Henry Josey, source said.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) August 29, 2014
After missing the 2012 collegiate season with a serious knee injury, Josey dominated the SEC in 2013 and proved that he could shoulder the load as a primary back against elite defenses. He's small at 5'8", but carries a load at 195 pounds and can barrel over defenders or get to the outside.
There were questions as to how his skill set would translate in a weak running back class, leading to his undrafted status. But he left no doubt throughout the preseason that he belongs at this level.
Maybe not in Philadelphia's stacked backfield, but Josey is more than capable of a No. 3 running back spot and teams will trip over themselves to get him on their practice squads if that opportunity doesn't open for him.
LB Pat Angerer (Cut by Atlanta Falcons)
Few names on the list of final roster cuts across the NFL are as surprising to see as Pat Angerer's.
The 2010 second-round pick has been one of the most important pieces to the Indianapolis Colts defense since he was drafted. He started nine of the 11 games he appeared in last season. After joining the Falcons over the offseason, though, he had his work cut out for him to make the roster.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted the shock value and added that Angerer is healthy:
#Falcons are releasing LB Pat Angerer, I’m told. Also cut LB Yawin Smallwood, their 7th rounder. A bit surprising on Angerer, who is healthy— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 29, 2014
As told by the former University of Iowa standout's ability to develop quickly into a starter in Indianapolis, Angerer is more than able to make a strong impact in the NFL. In Atlanta, it's more than likely that it just came down to only having a month to learn a system and not being used to contributing on special teams.
Given Angerer was making plays all over the field a year ago as an impact player, teams won't be shy giving him a chance when injuries start to kick in and depth takes a hit. Once he gets established in his new home, he will get back to leading his team in tackles just as he did for the Colts in 2011.
DT Landon Cohen (Cut by Buffalo Bills)
NFL journeyman Landon Cohen was cut by the Bills because they're just too deep at his position, but teams looking to add some depth to the defensive interior will be looking his way sooner rather than later.
The 28-year-old has been a difference-maker for the Bills throughout the preseason. Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone gave him plenty of run, and he far from disappointed. But he was still one of the final players cut before the roster made its way down to 53.
WGRZ.com's Jonah Javad couldn't believe it:
I have no insight as to why Bills cut DT Landon Cohen. Dominant back-up in the preseason. Hopefully he returns in some capacity.— Jonah Javad (@JonahJavad) August 29, 2014
But as Syracuse.com's Matthew Fairburn noted, Buffalo simply had too many defensive tackles on the roster to afford Cohen:
The #Bills cutting Landon Cohen is a surprise to some, but it's a numbers thing. They didn't want to keep five DTs. He was clearly no. 5.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) August 29, 2014
Cohen may not be one of the Bills' top-four defensive tackles, but he's more than capable of winning that job at another stop. And as is always the case when the season starts, certain teams won't be too happy with their interiors after a few games and may look to bring in reinforcements.
He may have to wait around a bit, and that could leave him available for longer than the other players on this list. But after his 10th stop with an NFL team, there's no doubt that he's grown accustomed to waiting for the phone to ring.
He'll be ready when it does.