NFL cutdown day is a lot like NFL “Black Monday.” Cutdown day is weird because teams meet for morning practice and there are 80 players. By 4 p.m. that day the rosters are trimmed to 53 players.
As for “Black Monday,” that’s when NFL head coaches are fired. In the past, cutdown day hasn’t been too kind to former HBCU players. Tuesday was a different story. While 12 former HBCU players were waived by NFL teams, six more made final NFL rosters.
What a difference from the 2021 draft, when no HBCU players were even drafted.
Those six players include 2022 NFL draft picks, Joshua Williams, DeCobie Durant, Ja’Tyre Carter, and former Howard safety Bryan Cook, who finished his collegiate career at Cincinnati. Two undrafted players in Markquese Bell and Da’Shaan Dixon also made rosters.
While Durant, Williams and Cook making an NFL roster is no surprise, Carter, Bell and Dixon were perceived as long shots.
Cook And Williams Are Part Of Chiefs’ Youth Movement, Durant Flashed With Rams Repeatedly
Cook was a second-round selection by Andy Reid and the Chiefs. He was drafted to add to their younger, new and improved secondary. Williams was added by Reid and the Chiefs to be their third cornerback, and he’s shown all offseason that he’s more than capable of handling the job.
As for DeCobie Durant, he’s exactly what the Rams were looking for to add depth to a secondary led by All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. Durant is athletic, confident and full of swagger. He can play any of the corner positions.
Durant was so impressive in college that even Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders took notice during last season’s Celebration Bowl.
“They’ve got a corner over there that should be recommended for the NFL,” Deion said. “I am sure he is. He should get his shine on. We tried our best and got our butts kicked.”
Coach Prime made these glowing comments after Durant intercepted two passes off of Shedeur Sanders in the game, while defending two others.
Bell, Carter And Dixon Are Surprises
Cowboys’ safety Bell left FAMU believing he’d be drafted. He didn’t let that failure deter him and earned a spot on the Cowboys’ 53-man roster. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn loves the versatility that Bell brings. He even wanted him to be a linebacker.
In early August, Quinn told reporters, “I was really pushing for him to be drafted as a linebacker, and then we selected a linebacker, I said, ‘This guy would make a hell of a safety.’”
Ja’Tyre Carter has been thrust into the Bears’ offensive line shuffle as a third-string right guard and second-string right tackle. First-year Bears GM Ryan Poles is a smart man, having seen how the Chiefs built their team around Patrick Mahomes from the inside-out. With the power to make major moves, he’s trying to do the same for second-year signal caller Justin Fields.
Dixon, the former Norfolk State Spartans edge rusher is in a great situation with the young, rising, Jacksonville Jaguars. Dixon will play a bit of a hybrid edge-outside linebacker position behind star Josh Allen.
New head coach Doug Pederson knows you can never have enough pass-rushers who are also good run-stoppers. His 2017 Eagles team that won Super Bowl 52 was loaded at those positions.
Former HBCU players making waves on NFL final rosters is a huge deal. The other former HBCU players who signed with different practice squads around the league on Wednesday. That’s a big deal as well.
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