How have former Practice Squad Power Rankings members played this season? Let’s take a look
How have former Practice Squad Power Rankings played this season once they’ve received The Call?
Glad you asked.
Here at The Practice Squad Power Rankings, our alumni aren’t just forgotten once they courageously but enthusiastically venture onto a 53-man roster. Quite the opposite actually.
Every week, along with scanning practice squads for potential new members, the play of alumni is constantly tracked. Keeping tabs on those former members is vital. Now, you must remember, coming from the practice squad isn’t as glorious as I make it out to be. It’s the lowest totem pole member on a club. One mistake can be deadly to a future roster spot. Early draft picks get more playing time, more attention, more leeway when it comes to lack of production.
But the eight PSPR call ups have flashed when given the opportunity to showcase their skills. And it’s time to check in on how they’ve performed.
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I’ll start with Robert Davis,, because he’s No. 1 in my rankings, and, umm, he had a nearly identical combine to Jones at nearly an identical size. And, by the way, his film at Georgia State was impressive. Also, he’s now on a Philadelphia Eagles team in dire straits at the receiver spot due to injury, and is just sitting there, twiddling his thumbs on the practice squad. That needs to change soon.
He made an 11-yard reception in Week 4 for the Redskins and hasn’t been on an NFL field during a regular season game since.
Another receiver, Keelan Doss, the first alum in Practice Squad Power Rankings history, has six catches for 79 yards on the season. The team traded for wideout Zay Jones on Oct. 7, but on Oct. 20, Doss turned five targets into three grabs for 54 yards in Oakland’s loss at Green Bay has yet to get back on the field after that contest. Weird.
Washington Redskins safety Jeremy Reaves has seven tackles in minimal playing time over the past four games for the Redskins. He too could — and should — be in line for more action down the stretch as starter Montae Nicholson has been a liability for Washington this season.
Another Raiders wideout, Marcell Ateman has only two catches in 2019, but they’ve gone for 70 yards — a gain of 36 in Green Bay and a 34-yard snag on Nov. 3 against the Detroit Lions. He only has been on the field for 61 snaps this season, 10 of which have come in his last two contests. He was inactive in Week 10. Maybe he shouldn’t be in the future.
Stanley Morgan has three receptions for 18 yards on the season for the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s in line to continue to play more though with A.J. Green still on the shelf. In Week 10, the rookie receiver was on the field for a career-high 38 snaps.
Adrian Colbert received The Call on Sept. 26 because the Seattle Seahawks poached him from the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad, but he has yet to play for Pete Carroll’s club in 2019 and is down from the team’s 53-man roster on its practice squad.
Duke Williams of the Buffalo Bills has six catches for 58 yards and a game-winning touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. But the 26-year-old wideout was injured in the team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and hasn’t been active since. His teammate, Vincent Taylor, played well in his debut with Buffalo in Week 9 against the Redskins, however, was passed over on the active roster for the newly signed, former first-round pick Corey Liuget in Week 10.
These rankings will be updated throughout the season, as more players move onto practice squads while some get The Call.
1. Robert Davis, WR, Eagles
2. Kyle Sloter, QB, Cardinals
In the preseason, the 6-foot-5, 217-pound former undrafted free agent quarterback from Northern Colorado completed 76.5% of his throws at a hefty 8.7 yards per attempt with four touchdowns and one interception. He flashed plenty of velocity of his throws — especially at the intermediate levels — good pocket patience, and impressive throw-on-the-run ability in the Vikings‘ play-action, bootleg heavy attack.
3. Adrian Colbert, S, Seahawks
Colbert grad transferred to Miami for his redshirt senior year and tallied three pass breakups and a pick in seven games. His officially unofficial time at the Miami Pro Day was 4.38, and some scouts in attendance clocked him as fast as 4.25. Colbert’s blistering time was likely a big reason he was picked by the 49ers in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Because of his explosiveness and production as a rookie, Colbert debuts at No. 2 in the Week 3 rankings. As a rookie in 2017, Colbert received a “high-quality” grade of 73.1 from Pro Football Focus on 530 defensive snaps for the 49ers. He broke up five passes and had one interception while making 32 tackles.
4. Jason Cabinda, LB, Lions
Cabinda averaged 89 tackles, 5.6 tackles for loss, 3.6 pass breakups and 2.3 sacks over his final three seasons at Penn State. While he didn’t run the 40 during the pre-draft process, he didn’t appear to be a super-fast linebacker but was always around the football due to quick processing skills and an always humming motor. He displayed refined block-defeating skills with the Nittany Lions and was not a liability in coverage. After going undrafted last year, my Raiders and saw the field late in the season. He didn’t dazzle but fared well on the inside, finishing with 21 total tackles and a “high quality” PFF grade of 73.6 on his 164 defensive snaps.signed with the
5. Deontay Burnett, WR, 49ers
With the Trojans, during his age 18/19 season in 2016, he accounted for an adequate 17.3% of the receiving yards and scored 21.2% of the team’s receiving touchdowns — on a squad with JuJu Smith-Schuster. After that, in 2017, when Darnold was incredibly hyped in draft circles, Burnett upped his market-share figure to 26.6% — not amazing, but not absolutely brutal — and scored 34.6% of the receiving touchdowns. He can get open.
6. Anthony Johnson, WR, Chargers
Johnson was myin the 2019 class. I loved the completeness of his game at nearly 6-2 and 208 pounds while at Buffalo. He won in traditional chain-mover type ways: shielding with his body, strong hands in tight coverage. He was impressive tracking the football down the field and excelled after the catch in a deceptive way. He accounted for a whopping 39.7% of the Bulls’ receiving yards as a junior and 32% in an injury-riddled senior campaign.
7. Obi Melifonwu, S, Patriots
Melifonwu played five regular-season snaps for New England a season ago and registered a tackle and allowed one catch for 5 yards. There’s plenty of mystery surrounding him, as he barely saw the field with the Raiders after they made him the No. 56 overall selection in the 2017 Draft. It wouldn’t shock me in the least if Belichick got the most out of him if and when he sees the field.
8. Kerrith Whyte, RB, Bears
You know how I feel about preseason statistics. For Practice Squad Power Rankings, they’re awesome. Whyte did accumulate just 55 yards on 18 carries (3.1 yards per) in four exhibition showings, however, per Pro Football Focus, the rookie forced six missed tackles on those rushes, giving him in a forced missed tackle rate of 33.3%.
9. Dillon Mitchell, WR, Vikings
Mitchell was the unquestioned top target for Justin Herbert in 2018. He accounted for a very encouraging 36.7% of Oregon’s receiving yards and scored 10 touchdowns. His game is predicated on slippery movements at the line and especially after the catch. Also, Mitchell is fast down the field. He ran 4.46 at the combine and tracks the football well on those long balls.
10. Antoine Wesley, WR, Ravens
Wesley was a clear redshirt candidate, simply because of his spindly frame. At the combine, he measured in at just over 6-4 and 206 pounds. At Texas Tech, Wesley was as natural of a hands-catcher as I scouted in this past year’s draft class. I’m serious. And with incredibly long 34-inch arms, mitts just under 10 inches, and a 37-inch vertical, Wesley boasts a mammoth catch radius.
ELIJAH HOLYFIELD, RB, PANTHERS: Holyfield was a classic “plays faster than he timed” prospect. At Georgia, finally in a full-time role after Nick Chubb and Sony Michel departed to the NFL, his feet were impossibly light, and his vision was outstanding. His contact balance was consistent each week too. That led to him being my No. 2 back in the 2019 class … before the combine. Holyfield tanked there. At a little over 5-10 and a bulky 217 pounds, he ran 4.78 and had a vertical jump in the 4th percentile at the running back position.
Those figures were the catalyst for him going undrafted, and while he did lose the No. 3 ball-carrier battle to Reggie Bonnafon in the preseason, Holyfield averaged a respectable 4.0 yards per carry on his 20 rushes. More importantly, he finished second only to Bonnafon among Carolina running backs in yards after contact per rush at a hefty 3.25, per Pro Football Focus. Holyfield is a natural runner who sees blocks before they’re made, and he has a nice blend of quickness and functional power to be a contributing No. 3 running back in the NFL, although he won’t run away from anyone in the open field.
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