KeiVarae Russell

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/18/18

Today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Washington Redskins

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Signed:

Practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Claimed:

Cut:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Practice squad:

* = international player
** = practice squad exception

Bengals Trim Roster To 53

For the time being at least, Michael Johnson will not be part of the Bengals’ 53-man roster. The longtime starting defensive end does not appear among Cincinnati’s regular-season contingent, signalling a changing of the guard opposite Carlos Dunlap.

While Johnson could well return, with Cincinnati.com’s Paul Dehner Jr. tweeting this is a possibility because of the team trying to protect as many young players from the waiver wire as possible, he’s again off the roster. Johnson spent a year with the Buccaneers in 2014 but returned to Cincinnati a year later.

He’s been a Bengals starter in five of the past six seasons, but third-round selections of Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson last year — along with 2018 third-rounder Sam Hubbard — made the 31-year-old talent a less important commodity. Johnson registered five sacks last season and has 44 in his career.

As for the rest of the Bengals’ cuts, here are the other players who aren’t on the 53-man roster.

Released as vested veterans:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

The placement of Barkley on IR and the waiving of Woodside leaves Jeff Driskel as the Bengals’ only Andy Dalton backup. It would be logical if the Bengals examined the waiver wire this weekend for a possible signal-caller addition.

Bengals Claim KeiVarae Russell Off Waivers

The Bengals have claimed rookie defensive back KeiVarae Russell, according to Rand Getlin (on Twitter). The Chiefs surprised everyone in the football world when they released the third-round rookie earlier this week. To make room, the Bengals cut guard Trey Hopkins. KeiVarae Russell (vertical)

[RELATED: Chiefs Restructure Justin Houston’s Contract]

Getlin reported yesterday that it was a “special teams numbers game” that led to Russell’s release. It’s fair to say that there is some agent-driven spin involved in that take. While there may be some truth to that, it’s extremely rare to see a third-round pick released in September. Any way you slice it, the selection of Russell was a failure by the Kansas City front office.

Russell racked up 60 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and six pass deflections in his final season at Notre Dame. The cornerback ran a 4.43 second 40-yard-dash at his Pro Day, helping to solidify his draft stock in the spring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Cut Third-Round CB KeiVarae Russell

In April, the Chiefs thought enough of KeiVarae Russell to make him the 74th overall pick in the draft. Today, they decided that Russell is not deserving of a spot on the 53-man roster. The Chiefs are releasing the third-round rookie, as Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweetsKeiVarae Russell (Vertical)

Getlin writes that it was a “special teams numbers game” that led to the defensive back’s release. Even if there was a roster crunch, it’s not often that you see a third-round rookie released in September.

Russell, a Notre Dame product, missed the 2014 season due to an honor code violation, which put his final season of eligibility in NCAA limbo. He returned in 2015, and started in 11 games before suffering a fractured tibia. In his shortened season, Russell restored much of his draft stock as he tallied 60 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and six pass deflections. After that showing, Russell decided that he would go pro rather than play out his senior year.

After running a 4.43 second 40-yard-dash at his pro day, Russell could quickly pick up interest from other teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Sign Entire Draft Class

The Chiefs have now signed their entire 2016 draft class, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter link) that the club has inked the lone holdout, third-round defensive back KeiVarae Russell. Russell was chosen with the 74th overall pick, which Kansas City picked up in a draft day trade with the Buccaneers.KeiVarae Russell (Vertical)

Kansas City didn’t make a selection in the first round of the draft, trading down with the 49ers in order to a acquire a second-, fourth-, and sixth-round pick. The Chiefs were reportedly interested in quarterback Paxton Lynch, but after the Broncos traded up to select him at pick No. 26, KC decided to move back and pick up more draft capital. The club also didn’t originally have a third-round pick, as that selection was forfeited as a result of a tampering incident (though, as noted, the Chiefs did eventually pick up a third-rounder).

The class in its entirety:

Kansas City Chiefs

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Draft Updates: Hackenberg, Cowboys, Lions

Washington‘s quarterback depth chart for the coming season looks set, with Colt McCoy set to act as the No. 2 option behind starter Kirk Cousins. But it seems the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of adding a developmental QB to its roster as a third option. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Penn State signal-caller Christian Hackenberg is making a pre-draft visit to Washington today.

Hackenberg projects as a day two pick, and it’s not clear if Scot McCloughan, Jay Gruden, and company have genuine interest in nabbing a QB that early, but the fact that Washington is bringing him in for a visit signals that the club is keeping its options open.

Here are a few more draft updates from around the NFC:

  • The Cowboys worked out Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott earlier in the pre-draft process, and are now bringing him to their facility for an official visit, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • Florida Atlantic safety Sharrod Neasman is also paying a visit to the Cowboys this week, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link). However, before heading to Dallas, Neasman is heading to Atlanta today to meet with the Falcons, says Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, adding that the Lions have also either worked out or hosted the safety.
  • Notre Dame cornerback Keivarae Russell revealed (via Twitter) that he visited the Lions. We heard on Monday that Detroit is one of the most active teams when it comes to exploring defensive back prospects leading up to the draft.
  • Speedy Notre Dame wideout Will Fuller is making a visit to Halas Hall to meet with the Bears today, per Greg Gabriel of 670 The Score in Chicago (Twitter link).
  • The Buccaneers have worked out and shown significant interest in Northwestern fullback Dan Vitale, who could be a late-round pick, tweets Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

NFL Draft Rumors: Russell, Hall, Henry

Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell declared for the 2016 NFL draft, as Pete Thamel of SI writes. Russell missed the 2014 season due to an honor code violation, which put his final season of eligibility in NCAA limbo. For his part, Russell says that he planned to declare regardless of the NCAA’s decision. Russell’s missed year stemmed from academic dishonesty and he knows that he’ll face questions about that from interested teams in the coming months.

Here’s the latest draft news:

  • Texas A&M defensive end Daeshon Hall is leaning towards entering the draft, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (on Twitter). Hall, who stands at 6’6″ and weighs 260 pounds, registered 54 tackles, a career-high 7.0 sacks, two pass deflections, and two forced fumbles in 2015.
  • Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry announced that he will apply for early eligibility into the NFL draft. “After a great deal of prayer and reflection, I have made the very difficult decision to pursue my childhood dream and enter the 2016 NFL Draft,” Henry wrote. “I have grown so much as a person and player these past three years at the University of Arkansas. I have enjoyed my experience more than I could have ever imagined.”
  • Arkansas offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, who projects more as a guard in the pros, also intends to enter the 2016 draft, Chase Goodbread of NFL.com tweets.
  • Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell officially announced that he’ll enter the NFL Draft, as Joe Schad of ESPN.com tweets.