Jaylon Moore

OL Notes: Giants, Radunz, Steelers, Brunskill

After fielding another below-average offensive line last season, one that saw key injuries reconfigure it early on in the campaign, the Giants loaded up on blockers this offseason. Newcomers Evan Neal, Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano are projected to start at right tackle, right guard and center, respectively. Andrew Thomas is the team’s unquestioned left tackle. That leaves left guard as the top competition area. Holdover Shane Lemieux appears to be the favorite for that job, via NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt, who notes the third-year player has been a full participant despite coming off a patellar tendon tear that cost him 16 games last season. Lemieux, who started down the stretch for the 2020 Giants and has received the first reps with the starters thus far, attempted to play through the severe knee injury in Week 1 but ended up missing the season’s remainder.

The Joe SchoenBrian Daboll regime, however, brought in third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu (North Carolina). Although Max Garcia arrived this offseason as well, Rosenblatt adds the Giants view the eighth-year veteran as more of a backup. This sets up a Lemieux-Ezeudu left guard battle, one that will determine if the Giants have three or four new starters up front.

Here is the latest from the NFL’s O-line scene:

  • The Titans lost two starters from their 2021 O-line — left guard Rodger Saffold and stopgap right tackle David Quessenberry — and are aiming to plug in former second-round pick Dillon Radunz. The North Dakota State product, who made just one start as a rookie, is vying for the team’s right tackle gig but also factors into the guard mix, Jim Wyatt of Titans.com offers. Radunz, chosen a year after would-be right tackle Isaiah Wilson became a quick bust, was a full-timer for the Bison from 2018-19 but lost the 2020 season due to the pandemic. The Titans used a third-round pick on Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere, representing another right tackle option. Third-year UDFA Aaron Brewer and ex-Seahawk Jamarco Jones are on the roster as left guard candidates.
  • Daniel Brunskill has started 35 straight regular-season games for the 49ers, slotting primarily at right guard. The fourth-year veteran has shown an ability to fill in at all five O-line spots, and Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes the 49ers would prefer Brunskill as a super-sub rather than as the full-time starter. For this reality to unfold, the team would need a viable replacement. Jaylon Moore, a 2021 fifth-round pick who has moved inside from tackle, represents competition for the 49ers’ right guard position. Given Brunskill’s experience, benching him would be quite the gamble for a team that lost five-year left guard Laken Tomlinson in free agency and looks set to lose center Alex Mack to retirement.
  • Steelers newcomers James Daniels and Mason Cole look set to play right guard and center, respectively, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo, leaving a competition between two 2021 starters at left guard. The Steelers following through on the rumored move of center Kendrick Green to guard, his primary college position, has created a competition between he and Kevin Dotson — a 13-game starter through two years. Pro Football Focus graded Dotson well as a rookie, albeit in a small sample size, but an ankle injury doomed his sophomore NFL season. Green started 15 games last year; PFF graded the rookie third-rounder as one of the league’s worst centers. Given a three-year, $15.75MM deal, Cole coming to Pittsburgh has led to Green’s position switch.

David Bakhtiari Not Playing Vs. Niners

Nine-year veteran tackle David Bakhtiari missed nearly the entire 2021 NFL season after tearing his ACL on New Year’s Eve during the 2020 season. Unfortunately, he will have to continue waiting to play in his first playoff game since January of 2019, as the team announced, via Twitter, that he will be inactive for tonight’s game against the 49ers. 

Bakhtiari had made a return for the Packers’ regular season finale, making the start in Detroit, but only playing 40% of the team’s offensive snaps. Head Coach Matt LaFleur shook off the early exit in a postgame press conference stating, “I wouldn’t say it’s anything we’re concerned about,” but it appears some continual discomfort throughout the week will keep the two-time All Pro from making a postseason return, just yet.

In the absence of Bakhtiari this year, the Packers have employed Elgton Jenkins at the blindside tackle position. Despite the reshuffled offensive line and several other injuries to key players, Green Bay still secured a first-round bye and homefield advantage. They will work tonight to extend their season another week and give Bakhtiari at least one more chance for a postseason return.

Other inactives for the Packers listed for the game tonight were safeties Shawn Davis & Vernon Scott, linebacker Jonathan Garvin, and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The 49ers will be without cornerbacks Ambry Thomas & Deommodore Lenoir, safety Jarrod Wilson, running back Trey Sermon, linebacker Marcell Harris, offensive lineman Jaylon Moore, and defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. Packers’ cornerback Jaire Alexander is expected to play tonight after being listed as questionable.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/10/22

A bunch of teams had their seasons come to an end yesterday, and these front offices are now starting to prepare for the offseason. Today, a number of players were inked to reserve/futures contracts, which allows organizations to retain (mostly) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. We’ve compiled today’s reserve/futures contracts below:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BengalsBrownsRavens and Steelers moves are noted below.

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

Baltimore Ravens

Signed to practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Claimed:

Released:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Signed:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Signed to practice squad:

Ravens Reduce Roster To 53

The Ravens cut down their roster to 53 players today, with the team making the following transactions:

Released

Waived/Injured

Placed on Reserve/NFI

The team also announced a handful of previously reported transactions, which you can find here.

Obviously Pernell and Levine are the two major names on this list, but there’s a chance the veterans land back in Baltimore once the team places a handful of players on IR.

Pernell spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, starting 20 of his 22 appearances. In those 22 games, the 32-year-old collected 53 tackles and six sacks. The veteran also started his career with the Ravens before bouncing between the Bears and Washington. Levine, meanwhile, isn’t a stranger to bouncing on and off the Ravens roster, but he’s still managed to miss only one regular season game for the organization since 2013. That missed game actually came in 2020, when the special teams ace finished with only seven tackles.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/18/21

With the Ravens, Browns, and Rams getting eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend, both teams announced their slew of reserve/futures deals on Monday. As a reminder, these are all non-guaranteed deals, usually for practice squad type players, to help teams flesh out their 90-man offseason rosters.

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Rams

Ravens Cut Roster To 53

The Ravens became the latest team to get down to 53, cutting a slew of players on Saturday via a team announcement. With the moves, Baltimore ended a 16-year streak of keeping at least one undrafted rookie on the roster, another sign of the impact COVID-19 and the reduced offseason had on roster decisions.

Here are the 23 guys who were let go:

Barner played a somewhat prominent role on a couple of Eagles teams and won Super Bowl LII with the team. Since leaving Philly he’s bounced between New England, Carolina, and Atlanta. Ehinger started a game at guard for Baltimore last year, but couldn’t crack the roster this time around.

Richards was a full-time starter with the Falcons in 2018, and appeared in nine games with Baltimore last year, scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery. Townsend was the Raiders’ punter in 2018, and just signed with the Ravens a couple of weeks ago. He probably never had too good a chance of beating out Sam Koch, who has been with the Ravens since 2006. Huntley had a very solid college career at Utah, but wasn’t viewed by too many as a legitimate pro passer.

Ravens Sign 20 UDFAs

The Ravens’ class of undrafted rookies keeps getting bigger and bigger. This week, the Ravens announced the signings of six more UDFAs, bringing their official grand total to eleven, though they’ve actually agreed to take on 19 in total. Here’s the full rundown:

Huntley, a 6’1″ quarterback out of Utah, played against Lamar Jackson as a high schooler in Florida. With the Utes, Huntley started 33 games in total and finished 2019 with a 19/4 TD/INT ratio.

Rechsteiner, a hard-nosed fullback, is a natural bruiser – he’s the son of former WCW/WWF wrestler Rick Steiner and the nephew of Scott Steiner, a.k.a. Big Poppa Pump. At Division III Kennesaw State, he averaged 8.1 yards per carry. With the Ravens, he’ll face an uphill battle in making the roster with Patrick Ricard already occupying the position.

There are also a few notable guarantees in this UDFA class, including Wolf, who received $65K between his $50K base salary and $15K signing bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).