NFL

NFL AM: Jaguars, 49ers Have Most Players Claimed

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49ers, Jaguars Surprise With Wire Pickups

This weekend is one of the most bittersweet in the NFL.  More than 1,600 players realized their dreams of making a team’s final 53 man roster wihle hundreds more had those same dreams dashed with final cuts.

One man’s trash is often another’s treasure as NFL teams claimed nearly 100 players off of waivers, and perhaps the most surprising fact is who had the most players claimed.

One would assume that teams with some of the best rosters like Cincinnati, Seattle, New England and Arizona would have the most talent and be forced to let go of some players that would be deemed helpful to other clubs.  Although the Patriots had three players claimed, two teams had four: The Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers.

“It is kind of bittersweet that we now have enough talent on the roster where we feel that we have upgraded, but bitter because we do not like to see those guys go,” Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said. “They have been a great part of it and we have great relationships with those guys.”

At first thought, one would ponder why a pair of teams that combined for 10 wins and 22 losses last season would have so much depth.

Make no mistake, it doesn’t mean that either team is going to be particularly good in 2016.  In fact, just about every pundit and publication has the 49ers finishing in last place and it wouldn’t be surprising if the team was drafting with the first-overall pick in 2017.

Apparently the Jags and Niners have more depth than we think.  At least they do at the bottom of the roster.  Unfortunately, the top of the roster determines which teams go to the playoffs.

Why else would these two teams have so many players claimed?

Are the teams simply keeping the wrong guys?

In Jacksonville’s case, they let go of a pass rusher that they selected in the sixth round by the name of Tyrone Holmes.  He played well in the preseason and multiple teams put in claims for the young man.

Why would a team like the Jaguars, who have struggled mightily finding a pass rush, give up on a young player like that?  It’s anyone’s guess.

Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell decided to keep third-year pro Chris Smith over Holmes. Smith has all of 3.5 sacks in two years combined.

“Well for you guys that have been around practice you know and the conversation around Smith has always been if he could just play the way he practices and then finally this year it kind of come to fruition for him where he hasn’t gotten analytical and hasn’t thought as much and is just going out there and play and reacting,” Caldwell explained of Smith. “He’s been able to convert some rushes that have been pretty impressive and also play the ring really well. Not only has he played the LEO position, but he’s also played the our four B in the preseason and offers us some flexibility there, too.”

49ers head coach Chip Kelly can’t help but be questioned after what he did to the Eagles roster at his last stop.  He took Andy Reid’s team to an NFC East title, and then progressively made the roster worse as he had more control.

Maybe the 49ers and Jaguars really do have deep rosters and will surprise this season?  Recent history tells us that they probably just kept a few of the wrong guys and will disappoint their fans yet again.

Interesting Waiver Wire Pickups

Let’s be honest.  It’s not extremely likely that anyone picked up off the waiver wire is going to stick with their new team this season, much less be a difference maker.

With that said, there are a few waiver wire pickups that were pretty interesting.

We discussed the Jaguars players who went elsewhere including Tyrone Holmes, who ended up in Cleveland with the Browns.  The Jaguars actually were able to claim former Baltimore Ravens second round pick Arthur Brown.  Brown has great measureables and is a speedy linebacker who always seemed to be in the wrong system in Baltimore’s 3-4.  Perhaps he can resurrect his career in Gus Bradley’s defense.

The Miami Dolphins claimed former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter.  Hunter is a super athlete who stands 6-foot-4 and can jump out of the gym.  He will be paired with some talented young receivers in DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, Leonte Caroo, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills.

The San Diego Chargers made a pair of notable claims by selecting former Boston College Heisman candidate and New York Giants running back Andre Williams and former Cleveland Browns cornerback Pierre Desir.  “Andre 2000” turned into Andre no-thousand in New York, but he is a bit of a change-up compared to the smaller, shifty backs that the Chargers currently have on the roster. Desir has great size and many were disappointed that the Browns didn’t see his development all the way through.

The Tennessee Titans took a chance on former New York Jets second-round pick Jace Amaro.  The big tight end is more of a slot receiver and he’ll try to resurrect his career with quarterback Marcus Mariota playing behind Delanie Walker.

The Cincinnati Bengals picked up a developmental quarterback prospect in former 49ers signal caller Jeff Driskel.  Driskel has a good arm and is a solid athlete who can possibly develop into a decent backup.

The Atlanta Falcons picked up former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Taylor Gabriel.  It was unthinkable just a few years ago that the Browns would have more depth at wide receiver than the Falcons, but here we are.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.