Early last week, the Colts announced that they had poached linebacker Cam McGrone off the Patriots practice squad. McGrone was a guy I liked coming of out Michigan in the 2021 draft, but he dealt with some injury issues over the past couple of years.
We have signed LB Cameron McGrone off of the NE Patriots practice squad, signed RB Jordan Wilkins to the 53-man roster from the PS, placed RB Jonathan Taylor on IR and waived DE Ifeadi Odenigbo.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 20, 2022
We also signed TE Dominique Dafney and RB Aaron Shampklin to the practice squad.
That got me to thinking - even though it’s not quite the offseason yet - what other gems might be stranded on one of the other 31 practice squads in the league that we could grab and groom as future talent?
So I went searching. Below is a list of prospects that could be worth grabbing over the next week or two, who could constitute potential upgrades as this team looks to build to the future.
Javelin Guidry (CB) - Atlanta Falcons
One of the fastest prospects in the 2020 draft, Guidry was grabbed by the Jets as an UDFA, and has since bounced through the Cardinals, Raiders, Eagles, and Falcons practice squads this season.
Twitchy and very athletic but lacking necessary feel for both man and zone coverages. Guidry will be one of the fastest players in the draft, but he’s often in catch-up mode as his anticipation is not yet fully developed. He’s a willing tackler and has the athletic ability to stay near his man and recover when needed. He needs more work and additional coaching but his speed and gunner potential might give him an outside shot.
Guidry could potentially be a potent special teams addition, with eventual upside as a slot cornerback over time.
Ravens’ 6th RD pick Ben Mason served pancakes at the Senior Bowl— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 1, 2021
Ben Mason (FB/TE) - Baltimore Ravens
One of the cardinal rules of scouring practice squads is looking for players at positions where their host team’s 53-man roster is very strong. The Ravens consistently have one of the best tight end rooms in the league, so exploring their tight end depth makes a lot of sense:
Ben Mason was taken in the 5th round of the 2021 draft, and seems like just the sort of guy Washington could use to overcome its short-yardage ineptitude. From his draft profile:
Came in as a linebacker but was moved to fullback and made a start at defensive tackle. Mason plays with a team-first attitude and twice won the Team’s Toughest Player Award. He’s not a bonafide lead blocker but he does a decent job of clearing debris. He doesn’t have much pass-catching experience. However, he will get a check mark for his special-teams value. At a position with few jobs available, the going could be tough for him.
The Panthers have taken Deonte Brown in the sixth round, who is large enough to play guard and tackle at the same time. pic.twitter.com/x5BR8IfaKU— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 1, 2021
Deonte Brown (G) - Carolina Panthers
Brown is a monster of a man, 6’3”, 364 lbs, and was projected to go earlier than where he was eventually taken by the Panthers in the 2021 draft (round 6). Washington’s guard play has been notoriously poor this year, and this former First Team SEC left guard could absolutely represent a potential upgrade from the aging vets currently holding down those spots.
From his draft profile:
A starting guard for the better part of three seasons, Brown is wide, strong and built low to the ground with a natural leverage advantage. While he shines as an in-line power blocker, teams might also take note of his solid technique and reactive quickness. He worked extremely well with center Landon Dickerson on double teams and twists. His lack of length and physical traits will turn some teams off, as will his weight and body type. He’s steady and powerful, though. Brown has the potential to become a starter for a power-based rushing team that doesn’t adhere to strict traits standards.
Mike Caliendo (G) - Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have one of the best offensive lines in the league, and two of the best guards in the league (Joe Thuney and Trey Smith). Therefore, they are a potentially fertile location for guard depth. Caliendo, who played at Western Michigan for six years, had college experience at all three interior OL positions.
From a profile of Caliendo done earlier in the year:
Caliendo is a capable run-blocker, showing effectiveness as a puller on power plays or off of combo blocks, getting to the next-level of the defense, as well as a good pass blocker, where he showed great discipline with evading interior stunts and delayed blitzes. The former Campbell Award finalist and five-time all-MAC Academic Team honoree should provide a level of intelligence which could pay off in many ways in a backup role, whether it be performing with few reps, or learning the nuts and bolts of another team’s scheme to give the defense a look as a scout team member.
This is the first of two installments looking at players that could be available throughout the league. Let me know in the comments if there are positions, or teams, you’d be interested in focusing on in the next edition.
Which of these players would you be interested in?
This poll is closed
Javelin Guidry (CB)
Ben Mason (FB/TE)
Deonte Brown (G)
Mike Caliendo (G)
None of these