A new NFL season is upon us and every team has a chance to capture the crown this season! While there are some earlier favorites to win, including the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots, there is always the dark horse team that catches fire late in a season. Even people that claim to understand the NFL will tell you that the league has its moments of confusion and unpredictability. The football odds this 2017 season prove as much. Sports fans who think they have the game of football figured out have been shocked out of their arrogance by ridiculous wins and losses.
It all begins with the draft which itself is no less complicated. It is generally believed that players drafted in the first four rounds are guaranteed to a roster spot on their respective teams for at least one season. However, there have been plenty of high draft picks that have been cut, to the shock of even experienced pundits and analysts.
One example is Dorian Johnson. The Arizona Cardinals’ decision to draft Dorian in the fourth round was a shock. It was discovered during a routine blood test at the NFL scouting combine that he suffered from a chronic liver issues which many thought might make him un-draftable, but then Arizona swooped in and picked him up. Johnson’s tenacity and work ethic were never in question. His removal from the team was understandable. He suffered a foot injury that erased his coveted agility. One assumes that Arizona didn’t think he would ever recover to the same level of movement, so they cut him.
Zach Banner didn’t have the luxury of an injury to explain why he was cut despite being drafted in the fourth round by the Indianapolis Colts. Considering his lethargic movements and the manner in which he was consistently beaten off the edge by inside and outside moves, the Colts take the blame for drafting an athlete that added nothing to their offense. Luckily, Banner was picked up on the waiver wire by the Cleveland Browns who were in need of depth at the offensive tackle position.
Jake Elliot only made a little bit more sense as a fifth round pick for the Cincinnati Bengals. The athlete isn’t really the all-round stud prospect the Bengals should have been looking for at that point in the draft. By all accounts, Zane Gonzalez should have been given priority. However, for reasons only the Bengals understand, they gave Jake Elliot a shot. Despite starting 3-3 on field goal attempts in the preseason, he ultimately failed to deliver on expectations. After missing three of his last four attempts in the final two preseason games, the athlete’s place on the Bengal’s practice squad makes sense. Despite making the practice squad, it appears that Randy Bullock will be the team’s kicker for the season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not blunder quite as drastically as Jeremy McNichols made sense as a fifth round pick. He showed signs of bringing the same level of patience and deliberation as Steelers star Le’Veon Bell. However, he failed to bring the same physical traits to the table. Not only was he incapable of adapting to the Tampa Bay playbook, but he blundered in executing his assignments. The coaching staff eventually decided to make him a scarce component on the field during the preseason. McNichols was offered a spot of the Bucs’ practice squad, however, he declined and decided to sign on to the 49ers’ practice squad. It seems more likely that he will face action in San Francisco than Tampa Bay.
Unlike McNichols or even Elliot, DeAngelo Yancey was actually good. In fact, there was no better team for the wide receiver to go to than the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately for Yancey, Green Bay has a lot of really talented receivers ahead of him in the depth chart. The talent on the team was such that there were always better athletes waiting to go onto the field ahead of him.
With options like Max McCaffrey and Malachi Dupre, one can hardly blame the Packers for sending Yancey to the practice squad. Because Yancey has real talent, one assumes that he will get another shot at showing the Packers what he can do when paired with Aaron Rodgers.