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. This is the second of two installments looking at players that could be available throughout the league.
Chazz Surratt was drafted with pick 78 of round 3 in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 8.46 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 332 out of 2155 LB from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/80hCQoDdR2 #RAS #Vikings pic.twitter.com/rF62EUbSdO— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 1, 2021
Chazz Surratt (LB) - Jets
Taken by the Vikings in the 3rd round of the 2021 draft, Surratt, a former QB converted to linebacker at North Carolina - unseated by Sam Howell - was always going to be a project in the NFL. After two years on other teams’ practice squads, he could well be worth a look, particularly to a team so desperate for linebacking depth.
Surratt’s pre-draft profile:
The tape shows a player who is still very inconsistent and uncertain at diagnosing the action, attacking angles and feeling play development. However, you look up and he’s chalked up the stat sheet once again. Surratt’s move from quarterback to productive linebacker speaks to his toughness and athletic ability. Even with linebacker instincts that are underdeveloped, he still finds his way to the football thanks to an unwavering level of determination combined with physical talent. Surratt may be too “feast or famine” to find early playing time, but he’s still new at the position and known for his work ethic, so improvement is likely. He might need to play Will linebacker, where he has the freedom to react and chase rather than being forced to process as much. While he continues to learn and polish his skills at linebacker, he should step right into a role as a special teams ace.
Sun Belt tied record with 7 NFL draft picks in 2020 and Coastal Carolina DL Tarron Jackson is a good bet for 2021. Undersized at 6020 and 273 lbs but has long arms and interior pass rush upside (10 sacks). Easy to like when he’s chasing & selling out .#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/lhHlnqIxaD— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) June 10, 2020
Tarron Jackson (DE) - Eagles
Jackson was selected by the Eagles in the 6th round of the 2021 draft, out of Coastal Carolina. While Washington, particularly with Chase Young’s return, is deep at defensive end, Jackson could be looked at as a potential upgrade to Shaka Toney or Casey Toohill.
An excerpt from Jackson’s draft profile:
Stocky defensive end with the strength and balanced base that helped him stack up production against Sun Belt competition over the years. He’s tough and aggressive at the point of attack, but is not a natural bender, which could hurt his ability to fight off angle blocks and anchor down against NFL opponents. He has a quick arm-over move that will serve him well when looking for gaps off the snap. Jackson is a face-up rusher missing the agility and athleticism to consistently win as an NFL rusher, but his motor and strength to press through the edge are worthy play traits. He has the type of build that could have teams looking to move him to three-technique if he adds weight.
Davion Taylor (LB) - Eagles
The Eagles took Taylor, a raw linebacking prospect out of the University of Colorado, in the third round of the 2020 draft. Taylor ended up playing in 9 games for the Eagles in 2021, collecting 41 tackles and forcing two fumbles. He injured his knee last November, which required surgery, and he was eventually waived by the Eagles prior to the 2022 season, and then re-signed to their practice squad.
Traits-based linebacker project with rare speed and explosiveness who may need an extended developmental runway to counter his lack of experience and awareness. Religious beliefs prevented him from playing high school ball (other than a single game) and he is still in the early stages of learning and applying proper technique and fundamentals in all phases of the game. While his inexperience shows up plenty on tape, he has flashes that show off what he could be capable of in the future. Scouts say he’s very coachable and that he’s one of Mel Tucker’s (current CU head coach and former NFL coach) favorites. At best, he develops into a playmaking starter after two or three years. At worst, he should be a plus special teams talent fairly quickly.
Montana OT Dylan Cook is one of my favorite sleeper OL in the 2022 class. Began his career as a QB at Montana State University Northern.— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) September 9, 2021
He’s now a massive OL (6’6 5/8, 309 pounds) who is one of the better run blockers in the class. Nasty demeanor. Draftable player imo. pic.twitter.com/btyp3y1kSa
Dylan Cook (OT) - Buccaneers
Cook is another former, converted QB, in this case to an offensive tackle. The lineman out of Montana went undrafted in 2022, but was picked up by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. He’s considered a developmental prospect with upside.
From his draft profile:
Capable athlete as a former quarterback. Teams that value agility and overall movement skill will be into him. Decently experienced up front even though he made a position change in college. Checks the length box to play offensive tackle in the NFL.
Will be making a massive jump from the FCS level to the NFL. Strength deficiency is apparent on film. Needs to add a lot of weight to his frame. Haven’t really seen him deal with legitimate counter moves as a pass protector.
Which of these players would you be interested in?
This poll is closed
Chazz Surratt (LB)
Tarron Jackson (DE)
Davion Taylor (LB)
Dylan Cook (OT)
None of these.