Teams began paring down their rosters in earnest today prior to the August 30 deadline to get down to 75 players (and then down to their initial 53-man rosters by September 3). While there have been no big surprises yet and likely won’t be until that second roster deadline, the roster churn did create a little transaction action and settled at least a few vaguely fantasy-relevant job battles.
- while Ezekiel Elliott gets back up to speed for the Cowboys and prepares for his possible preseason debut Thursday, the depth chart behind him is starting to get crowded. Alfred Morris has looked revitalized in a Dallas uniform, sixth round pick Darius Jackson has flashed his speed through the first two exhibition games and passing down specialist Lance Danbar (knee) also began taking part in individual drills Monday. If Dunbar is ready for Week 1, and at this point it seems as though he will be, it’s hard to see how there’s room on the roster (much less many touches) for last year’s team rushing leader Darren McFadden, who’s still sidelined with an elbow injury
While the league’s brain trust ponders whether or not to suspend star players who don’t want to talk to them, training camps plow forward. Miraculously, a number of injured players are suddenly well enough to take the field and come off the PUP list now that the first preseason games are in the books. Funny how that seems to happen every year.
Sunday’s cancelled Hall of Fame Game (due to what I guess you’d have to call a paint-out) delays the return of football for another week but for teams other than the Colts and Packers it’s been business as usual, which means the release of depth charts put together by PR departments that may not have much relevance by the time Week 1 rolls around. There’s plenty of real news to sift through too, so let’s get to it.
While the rest of the sporting world tries to figure out who won MLB’s trade deadline frenzy, the NFL entered its second week of training camp with the Hall of Fame Game between the Colts and Packers just seven days away. Here are some of the highlights of today’s practices and positional drills from around the league:
Training camps officially commence this week, which means Week 1 is finally just around the corner and our long national football-less nightmare is nearly over. Despite the fact that veterans have yet to report for most teams there’s still plenty of news to sift through, so let’s get down to it, boppers.
I very nearly titled this “How the Blue Jackets Screwed Up the 2016 Draft”, but after having done these reviews for their three previous drafts (which you can read here: 2015, 2014 and 2013) I figured I’d stick to the formula.
The Blue Jackets headed into this year’s entry draft both in a good spot and a terrible one. For the first time in franchise history they actually improved in the draft lottery, moving up from the fourth spot to the third in a draft class thought by basically all observers to have a clear top three, but at the same time they were staring at a draft class heavy on wingers (which they already had an abundance of in the organization) and light on potential No. 1 centers (which they need after dealing away Ryan Johansen last year) after Auston Matthews who was locked in as the first overall pick.
In the three-plus years I’ve been covering GM Jarmo Kekalainen’s tenure as Columbus’ GM, some patterns had become clear in his drafting. He likes size (the shortest player he selected last year stood six-foot-one) and he likes players who show some maturity (his picks are littered with players who captained their squads or represented their countries internationally.) All that, combined with their shared Finnish nationality, seemed to point towards the Blue Jackets sprinting to the podium to take six-foot-three World Junior Championships MVP Jesse Puljujarvi with their top pick, right?