Buffalo released cornerback Reggie Lewis, making him, the previously released Steve Rissler (Dallas) and punter Eric Wilbur (Houston and Jacksonville) the only players let go so far. The final roster reductions to 53 will likely not be as kind to quite a few of them. Here's a look at what feedback the first group of aspiring pros from the 2006 national champions of college football are getting in pro football to this point.
Some rookies have the luxury of knowing they're virtually guarunteed a roster spot. First round picks Jarvis Moss and Reggie Nelson are in that category, but they've also received positive reviews in Denver and Jacksonville, respectively. Moss may well be a starter for the Broncos (in part due to Ebenezer Ekuban being out for the year with an Achilles injury) and Nelson is expected to start for Jacksonville despite missing their last two preseason games with an ankle injury.
Moss wasn't the only former Gator selected by Denver. Marcus Thomas went to the Broncos in the fourth round and has thus far avoided any trouble for off-field issues. Denver believes he will eventually be a star, but he may begin the year on the team's inactive list. Two other Gator defensive linemen went to San Francisco to play in what is going to be a new look 3-4 scheme this year. Third rounder Ray McDonald's not likely to start but has been praised for his performance, while Joe Cohen is reportedly third string as a nose tackle after being a fourth round pick. None of these three guys should have to sweat the end of the week cuts.
The rest of the Florida draftees are in trouble, although they all still have a chance. Cornerback Ryan Smith was a sixth round pick by Tennessee, but has made little impact. He declared for the draft in large part because it was hard to imagine he could have a better final season at UF to help his chances. Smith's physical tools don't stand out as special, and since he has not been making plays in Titans camp the odds are he will not make the team.
At least Smith's been able to get on the field, which is more than Deshawn Wynn's done at running back with Green Bay. The seventh rounder has missed three weeks of Packers' camp with a quadriceps strain, prompting durability and desire questions. He's expected to see action in their final game which will likely determine his fate.
Dallas Baker has struggled in Pittsburgh's camp and is unlikely to make their squad. There's conflicting information on whether the seventh rounder will even be a part of Pittsburgh's practice squad after cuts. It's going to be a very close call in San Diego for Brandon Siler. Initial reports were not promising, but a good third preseason game has kept him in the mix for their last linebacker position.
Among free agent signees, some appear to have a better chance than others. Chris Leak hasn't gotten many opportunities in Chicago, but might be able to stick around on the practice squad unless third string quarterback Kyle Orton's injury is more severe than believed. Jemalle Cornelius seems to have made a positive impression in Buffalo. At minimum, he seems likely to get an opportunity to be a part of their practice squad. Earl Everett has been written about favorably with Cincinnati as well. Steven Harris, the third Gator DL to sign with Denver, has had little written about him thus far. That's also the case with fullback Billy Latsko in Carolina. Brian Crum is not expected to make the Kansas City practice squad at linebacker. By Sunday, all of them should know their fates.
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