This is the most important time of the year for players trying to make NFL rosters. After this weekend’s games finish up, teams have to cut their rosters from 90 players to 75, and then to the final 53 one week later. As sad as I am to say, some of our Ruggers are in the group of players fighting for a spot on their team’s 53-man roster. Here’s an update on our Ruggers.
Hayden Smith, Tight End, New York Jets: Smith is currently the fourth string tight end on the Jets’ depth chart. Which isn’t that good. Smith is behind one-time star Kellen Winslow Jr., Jeff Cumberland and Konrad Reuland. Cumberland is the team’s current starter and the New York Post projects Reuland to make the squad because of his flexibility at fullback along with tight end. This leaves Smith as the odd man out, however the New York Post predicts two scenarios for Smith. One, with him being “stashed” on the Jets’ practice squad again (like last year,) or he could find himself on the 53-man roster as a special teams contributor.
Nate Ebner, Defensive Back/Special Teamer, New England Patriots: Nate Ebner had a successful rookie campaign with the Patriots last season, recording 12 solo tackles and two assists. However Ebner has had a rough training camp due to health issues. The former Buckeye has spent most of training camp on the sidelines and did not play in Thursday’s preseason game in Detroit against the Lions. Currently Ebner is not predicted to land a spot on the Patriot’s 53-man roster and will most likely end up on the team’s injured reserve according to the Boston Globe.
Lawerence Okoye, Defensive Lineman, San Francisco 49ers: Okoye has the longest shot to make his team’s 53-man roster out of any of our Ruggers previously listed. Coming straight from London with no competitive football experience, Okoye had a tough road ahead of him. Through two games this season Okoye has played 10 snaps. In those 10 snaps, Okoye had trouble with his leverage at the line of scrimmage according to Niners Nation. Leverage problems are to be expected for anyone who is just learning the game and especially for someone learning the game against NFL talent. Niners Nation predicts Okoye to miss out on the 53-man roster, but claim one of the 49ers’ eight practice squad spots. The 49ers have a great prospect on their hands, but it will take some time to develop this Rugger; and the practice squad is just the spot for that.
Daniel Adongo, Linebacker, Indianapolis Colts: Similar to Ebner, Adongo has caught the injury bug himself this preseason. Adongo has been out most of camp thanks to a biceps injury. The rugby lock was active for the first time this preseason Saturday, but did not record a tackle. Sadly for Adongo, his injury probably cost him a chance at landing on the Colts’ 53-man roster. But with the size and athleticism Adongo obtains (6’5″ and 257 lbs,) I would expect Adongo to stay on the team’s practice squad as long as he clears through waivers. However I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else scoops up Adongo because of his potential alone.