This is the worst part of the start of the NFL season. Teams have made massive cuts to their 90 man rosters, leaving nearly half of all players who were on teams at the start of camp without a job. It’s a difficult reminder of the business aspect of the league. But with 2018 waiver claims underway, there come opportunities for someone to land with a new squad.
There were several waiver claims placed Saturday night, putting young players on 53-man rosters. Perhaps a change of location is what is needed to pull the best out of someone. Or perhaps the depth of that player’s original team clouded their judgement.
The excitement of a waiver claim potentially rising through the ranks is natural, even if it is rare. It’s unlikely we’ve seen any stars change hands (well, aside of Khalil Mack) this weekend. But odds are we’ve seen some quality contributors find new homes.
Here are the five best waiver claims placed on Saturday night and completed on Sunday.
DL Carl Davis – Cleveland Browns
A fourth-year defender out of Iowa, Davis was a casualty of the depth along the Ravens’ front. Sure, Davis, who was the 90th overall selection in 2015, didn’t live up to his potential in Baltimore. But in Cleveland comes much more a demand to get him on the field.
If Davis can acclimate and find rotational snaps, putting him next to budding starter Larry Ogunjobi on the defensive interior makes a ton of sense. There, Davis can utilize his two-gap skills from college to let Ogunjobi get clean one on one reps, while also affording LB Joe Schobert room to scrape laterally.
WR Chad Hansen – New England Patriots
New England’s original 53 man roster had, wait for it, three wide receivers on it. Well, four if you count Matthew Slater and his…*squints*…one career reception in 141 games.
The Patriots needed to pick the bones of the rest of the league, which is something they’ve done as well as anyone for years now. Mission accomplished. The Patriots also claimed former Seattle WR Amara Darboh, giving them two young receivers to add to the room.
Hansen was the more dynamic of the two, and he has better hands. That’s a nice edge over Darboh and should help keep Chad on the roster this season. Hansen was a big play target at Cal, perhaps he can reclaim some of that magic in a thin group of pass catchers in New England this season.
DL Al-Quadin Muhammad – Indianapolis Colts
Muhammad is a relative unknown, a 2017 rookie who logged one tackle for the New Orleans Saints last season before getting cut this summer.
Muhammad also had a rocky road at the college level, enduring some disciplinary issues (he was suspended for the entire 2014 season for an altercation with another student) that forced him to get focused on the important things in life.
He’s down to a second life in the NFL, so the time is now or never. Muhammad had some fun flashes on film and, despite poor athletic testing, won with impressive quickness during his time with the Miami Hurricanes.
On a roster that is clearly hungry for competition amidst the pass rushers, Muhammad could make some noise.
DL Mario Edwards Jr. – New York Giants
Edwards is one of the most accomplished players to hit the waiver wire. With 24 career starts in Oakland, the 6-foot-3, 280 pound defensive lineman brings his physical style of play to the Giants, where he’ll replace former Youngstown State product, Avery Moss.
It’s an upgrade for the Giants, and should bring physicality to a defensive line that has seemingly made that it’s trademark. Next to Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson, Edwards will help combat the physical rushing attacks in the NFC East.
Don’t look for Edwards to be a breakout player, but he’ll certainly be a part of the rotation on the defensive front (along with Kerry Wynn and B.J. Hill) until Olivier Vernon returns from an ankle injury.
DL Ifeadi Odenigbo – Cleveland Browns
The second-year man from Northwestern was looking like a strong candidate to make the Minnesota Vikings. A strong showing against Seattle (six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble) in Week 2 seemingly had Odenigbo in. It wasn’t meant to be, Minnesota’s defensive depth proved too much to overcome.
In Cleveland, Odenigbo can serve as a replacement for Carl Nassib, whose lack of pass rush counters coming out of Penn State was the only thing more offensive than his financial advice. Odenigbo’s promising NFL Combine and sturdy build may position him as a big addition in the initial waive of 2018 waiver claims.