Josh Doctson is back in the NFL. The former first-round pick latched on with the Cardinals on Friday, agreeing to join their practice squad.
The veteran wide receiver auditioned for the Cards last month. This will end a lengthy stay in free agency and give Doctson a chance to move back onto a regular-season roster for the first time in nearly two years.
Although Doctson caught on with the Jets in 2020, he opted out of last season and then saw Gang Green cut him earlier this year. Doctson’s most recent instance of being on a 53-man roster in-season came in 2019. The Vikings, however, cut him in November of that year.
The TCU product operated as a starter for multiple Washington teams in the late 2010s, eclipsing 500 receiving yards in 2017 and ’18, but the 2016 first-rounder has been unable to stick with another team for a full season since.
Doctson will join the likes of Rasul Douglas and Chris Banjo on Arizona’s taxi squad. The team also signed defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter, cornerback Antonio Hamilton and offensive lineman Michal Menet to its P-squad. For the second straight year, teams can carry up to 16 players on practice squads.
The Dolphins have joined the club of teams to officially get down to 53 players on cutdown day. Here’s the list of of players from Miami that will be looking for new homes in the coming days:
Placed on season-ending IR:
- CB Javaris Davis
- RB Gerrid Doaks
- CB Tino Ellis
- LB Shaquem Griffin
- LB Kylan Johnson
- DT Benito Jones
- RB Patrick Laird
- DE Jonathan Ledbetter
- WR Kai Locksley
- WR Kirk Merritt
- LB Calvin Munson
- TE Chris Myarick
- WR Malcolm Perry
- OG Durval Queiroz Neto
- RB Jordan Scarlett
- QB Reid Sinnett
- DE Jason Strowbridge
There are some reasonably big names on this list, including LeBlanc and Harvey-Clemons among the vested veterans getting outright released. LeBlanc played a sizable role in the Eagles’ secondary last season, and started nine games for the Bears as a rookie back in 2016. Harvey-Clemons was a decent-sized part of Washington’s defense in 2018, but his role was reduced in 2019 before he opted out of the 2020 seasons.
You’ll likely recognize some of the waiver cuts as well, including Griffin. The brother of star cornerback Shaquill Griffin, the linebacker was attempting to make the team after a few years with the Seahawks. Laird started four games for the Dolphins in 2019 and received 62 carries that year, but he was mainly a special teams guy last season.
Carradine was part of the Dolphins’ final cuts back in August after he started three of four preseason games and registered only a single tackle. The former 49ers 2013 second-round draft pick has failed to live up to his draft status thus far, totaling 77 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and one forced fumble in 45 career games. Since Carradine was released before Week 1, the Dolphins were not required to guarantee his salary of $880K for the 2019 season.
Ledbetter, an undrafted free agent from Georgia, signed with the Dolphins back in May, and started for the organization in last week’s ugly loss against the Ravens. Ledbetter played well in the contest, however, making four tackles and registering half a sack, while playing 66% of the team’s defensive snaps.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald passes along a veritable treasure trove of notes for Dolphins fans today, so let’s dive right in:
- Although free agent acquisition Jordan Mills was disappointing in minicamp and was replaced at right tackle by Jesse Davis, Jackson says the Dolphins are still very much open to having Mills man the RT position. The club will give him a chance to redeem himself in training camp and may elect to keep Davis at guard, where he played last year. Zach Sterup is also in the mix for the right tackle job.
- Jackson believes that running back Kenyan Drake has been woefully underutilized to date and that he should be getting 12 to 18 carries a game. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics support Jackson’s opinion, citing Drake’s ability to win after early contact and force missed tackles. However, PFF also says Kalen Ballage should serve as Miami’s primary third-down/receiving back, which Jackson’s eye test does not support. Jackson says Ballage looked “unnatural” as a receiver out of the backfield during the club’s offseason program, and he even says the embattled Mark Walton could be the Dolphins’ best receiving back. Drake and Ballage will have plenty of opportunity to prove their worth in 2019, which is an especially crucial year for Drake, a 2020 free agent.
- UDFAs often have a better chance of cracking the roster of a rebuilding team like the Dolphins then they would on a club with playoff aspirations, and Jackson says Miami hopes at least one of the its undrafted defensive linemen — Dewayne Hendrix and Jonathan Ledbetter — will make the cut. Ledbetter, one of the best collegiate DEs at stopping the run, is attempting to diversify his game by refining his pass rush skills.
- The team also has several UDFA cornerbacks that merit some attention, and the new coaching staff had plenty of luck developing that type of prospect in New England. 2018 UDFA Jalen Davis flashed in minicamp this year, and while the Dolphins have taken a look at him both outside the numbers and in the slot, his size (5-10, 185) may make him better-suited to a slot role.
We’ll wrap up the 2019 undrated free agent process with the Dolphins, who have announced the signing of the following 18 UDFAs:
- Ryan Anderson, C (Wake Forrest)
- Shaq Calhoun, G (Mississippi State)
- Wesley Farnsworth, LS (Nevada)
- Terrill Hanks, LB (New Mexico State)
- Montre Hartage, DB (Northwestern)
- Dewayne Hendrix, DE (Pittsburgh)
- Tyler Horton, CB (Boise State)
- Trenton Irwin, WR (Stanford)
- Patrick Laird, RB (California)
- Jonathan Ledbetter, DE (Georgia)
- Aaron Monteiro, T (Boston College)
- Chris Myarick, TE (Temple)
- Nik Needham, CB (UTEP)
- Rob Rolle, S (Villanova)
- Cory Thomas, DT (Mississippi State)
- Tre’ Watson, LB (Maryland)
- Preston Williams, WR (Colorado State)
- Stone Wilson, P (FIU)
Most evaluators pegged Miami’s six-draft class as mediocre, but the Dolphins may have hit it out of the park with their undrafted free agents, as Thor Nystrom of Rotoworld ranked the Dolphins’ UDFAs as the second-best crop in the NFL (behind only the Saints). Calhoun is particularly interesting, as the poor state of Miami’s interior offensive line could give him a real chance at a roster spot. Williams, who was barred from testing at the scouting combine due to a 2017 altercation with a woman, is another Dolphins UDFA with a shot to make the 53-man roster, as Brad Kelly of The Draft Network writes.