Roster cut down day always includes some eyebrow raising decisions. First round talents turned third round selections like the New York Jets’ Jachai Polite could be thrown in that discussion. The San Francisco 49ers cut bait on an actual first rounder that they selected in guard Joshua Garnett. There are others like the Oakland Raiders releasing aging linebacker Brandon Marshall, or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers releasing former second round pass rusher Noah Spence.
The Philadelphia Eagles got in on the action too, finding themselves on Pro Football Focus’ list of surprises for not only trimming their roster but taking advantage of other teams’ roster moves. The following are players from that list with quotes from Mike Renner of PFF.
Kyle Lauletta, QB - New York Giants
“This one might be one of the most head-scratching. Not only because Lauletta was a high fourth-rounder last season, but also because he dominated this preseason. He earned a 79.9 overall grade and had a passer rating of 103.8.”
Lauletta was the Senior Bowl darling for many analysts that watched him practice in Mobile, Alabama, including myself, fellow BGN’ers Benjamin Solak and Mark Schofield. While he’ll never wow with a single trait, we saw a quarterback that was quick to process and made a good deal of anticipation throws. For what it’s worth, Lauletta graded out higher for me in the pre-draft process than Clayton Thorson. It’s a long way to go for a win, but I believe the Eagles picked the right quarterback for the practice squad.
Lauletta threw for 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the preseason. Ultimately, the Giants decided to stick with the disintegrating Eli Manning, preseason Hall of Famer Daniel Jones, and You Tube trick shot sensation Alex Tanney.
Stefan Wisniewski, iOL
“Wisniewski earned 70.0-plus grades in five consecutive seasons before an uncharacteristically down 2018 season. The interior offensive lineman only just turned 30, and his experience would seemingly be invaluable for a team competing for a championship – even if only as a backup. His preseason was rough, though, as he earned a 56.3 overall grade on 91 snaps.”
Wisniewski, as Renner notes, was coming off a bad 2018 campaign, which included him being disgruntled over his benching. Despite receiving criticism from some at the time of the benching, Isaac Seumalo clearly played better even with him being a purely replacement-level starter.
The Eagles cleared some cap room by moving on from Wisniewski, but ultimately it was the play of undrafted free agent Nate Herbig and his own issues snapping the ball that precipitated his release.
Treyvon Hester, iDL
“The up-and-coming third-year player showed a ton of promise in 226 snaps last season, earning an 89.7 overall grade. He looked solid once again this preseason with a 70.1 pass-rushing grade. With the embarrassment of riches along the Eagles’ defensive line, though, talent was bound to hit the chopping block.”
The Eagles interior defensive line got so crowded beyond the top three that the Eagles began trading away those assets before cut downs. It was apparent there would have to be difficult decisions to make with the group as the Eagles second and third team routinely dominated during the preseason. The 24-year old Hassan Ridgeway looked the best, and thus he got the not over Hester. Still, the move was surprise, even if it makes sense under a microscope.