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5 players the WFT should consider poaching

Baltimore Ravens v Washington Football Team Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The 53-man roster cutdown occurred yesterday. Initial construction of the practice squads happened today, and now, we’re left with about a week and a half to finalize the roster before the Washington Football Team’s first game, against the Chargers.

While Washington’s practice squad is nearly fully populated at this point, to my mind, there’s still room for improvement, both on the practice squad and even on the full roster. What follows is a scouring of the practice squads of the other 31 teams in the league for potential players who could be claimed, and immediately elevating to our starting roster.

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Curtis Robinson, LB (Broncos)

Robinson was a former team captain at Stanford with outstanding athletic measurables. He was all-PAC 12 honorable mention both his junior and senior seasons, leading his team in tackles his senior year. Though an undrafted selection by the Broncos this year, Robinson has made an impression in camp:

Inside linebacker is one of the harder ones to predict as the Broncos could take four or five inside linebackers and both Robinson and Wade have made strong cases to be that fifth choice. Robinson, an undrafted rookie out of Stanford, likely has a slight edge only because he’s been with the team since the beginning of camp

Omari Cobb, LB (Chiefs)

Cobb was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chiefs after the 2020 draft. A tackling machine for Marshall in 2019, he collected 114 tackles, 17 TFLs, and 2 sacks. He, like, Robinson, is a superior athlete.

If you want the best practice squad players, you look at the best teams. The Chiefs’ linebacking corps is strong, and loaded with high draft picks. Cobb simply couldn’t push his way onto this stacked roster. He looked very good in the preseason however. I suspect he would be an improvement over David Mayo.

Jake Verity, K (Ravens)

My concerns about the teams kicking game have been hammered repeatedly at this site. I simply don’t trust Dustin Hopkins to be anything better than an average kicker, and his kicking trajectory seems to be on a downward trend.

Verity, the all-time leading scorer at East Carolina, hit 4 of 5 of his field goals this preseason, including a 53 yarder and 44 yarder, and was 6 of 7 on his extra points. Despite having one of the best kickers in the league in Justin Tucker, the Ravens have taken it upon themselves to groom kicking talent to create commodities. Having found no trade takers for Verity, they cut him and then recovered him to their practice squad. Asked about Verity, Tucker offered the following:

“I’ll just say, I’ll be shocked if he’s not on somebody’s 53-man roster to start the season. Jake [Verity] has come in with a great attitude, great work ethic, and you don’t just find your way on an NFL roster, regardless [of] if it’s 90 or 53 men, without being a good football player, without being talented, and Jake certainly has that. He came in with good technique already, and he’s just getting better and better. He’s got great power, [and] he’s just getting better and better. So, I’m excited to see what the future has in store for him. I know we all are. I would also be surprised if we don’t get a [draft] pick for him. I think there is a track record that we have of … Like you said, we’re able to develop not just our specialists, but we develop everybody here. We’re all trying to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be, and he seemingly has put himself in a position to not just be a starter on Week 1 somewhere; I think he’s put himself in a position to help our team out as well, by hopefully getting something for him.”

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Matt LaCosse, TE (Patriots)

LaCosse was taken as an undrafted free agent by the Giants after the 2015 draft. He bounced around several practice squads before signing a 2-year, $4.8M deal with the Patriots in 2019. That season, LaCosse caught 13 receptions for 131 yards and a TD. In 2020, he took the COVID opt-out.

LaCosse was respected in New England, but the team has an abundance of talented tight ends at this point, and he just found himself on the outside looking in.

While far from on the same level as ex-Patriot Rob Gronkowski, LaCosse plays a similar role as the future Hall of Famer once did: he is an all-around tight end who has shown he can be used both as a receiver and pass protector and also serve as a blocker in the running game. He had his fair share of issues in both areas during his lone full season in New England, but his skillset should allow him to be used in such a way within the team’s offensive system.

Cleveland Browns v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

MyCole Pruitt, TE (Titans)

I’ve made my case for Pruitt earlier in the offseason, and he’s bounced around a bit, first on the 49ers 90-man roster, and now back with the Titans, which is where he played for the last several years.

At nearly 29, Pruitt has had plenty of time for seasoning, and may well have a couple of good years left. In Scott Turner’s offense, Pruitt could be used as a full-back, or primarily in a blocking tight end role, but his hands are also good enough that he can be a receiving threat.

I believe Pruitt would be an immediate upgrade to Ricky Seals-Jones and should take his place on the 53-man roster.

Poll

Which of these five players would be your top poaching target?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Curtis Robinson
    (495 votes)
  • 19%
    Omari Cobb
    (459 votes)
  • 49%
    Jake Verity
    (1177 votes)
  • 2%
    Matt LaCosse
    (62 votes)
  • 3%
    MyCole Pruitt
    (73 votes)
  • 5%
    Someone else (I’ll say in the comments)
    (135 votes)
2401 votes total Vote Now