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AFC North Cuts Analysis

Matt Pearce

Yesterday and today NFL teams were trimming their rosters from 75 players to 53 players. Here is a look at the cuts that each team in the AFC North made. (Notable cuts are in red.)

Baltimore Ravens

Cuts: DT Levi Brown, DT Derrick Hopkins, TE Nathan Overbay, LB D.J. Roberts, C Reggie Stephens, G A.Q. Shipley, CB Derek Cox, CB Dominique Franks, OT Parker Graham, CB Tramain Jacobs, OL Ryan Jensen, DT Jamie Meder, DT A.J. Pataiali’i, CB Sammy Seamster, OLB John Simon, TE Phillip Supernaw, RB Fitzgerald Toussaint and QB Keith Wenning

Analysis:
Starting nine games last season for the Ravens on the offensive line, Shipley is now off the team as Baltimore made upgrading the offensive line a priority this offseason. This also led to Jensen losing his spot on the roster one year after being a sixth round pick who missed all of last season with a foot injury. Shipley and Jensen saw plenty of work this offseason, but the Ravens decided to go another way on the offensive line, keeping undrafted free agent James Hurst. At cornerback––one of the positions that lacks depth––the Ravens parted ways with four including Cox and Franks. Cox was only signed a few days ago, but there are reports that he is expected to be on the roster in the few days as the Ravens roster changes over the next few days. Simon was a fourth round pick last season who never really showed anything and Wenning was a sixth round pick this year who couldn’t beat out Tyrod Taylor was the backup quarterback position.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cuts: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, LB Brandon Joiner, DT LaKendrick Ross, QB Tyler Wilson, S Danieal Manning, OT Will Svitek, FB Orson Charles, OT Dan France, WR Cobi Hamilton, CB Victor Hampton, DT David King, WR Colin Lockett, CB Onterio McCalebb, DE Dontay Moch, DE Sam Montgomery, C Trevor Robinson, DT Devon Still, FB Nikita Whitlock, HB James Wilder Jr. and CB Lavelle Westbrooks

Analysis:
Nothing much of surprise here from Cincinnati. Green-Ellis has been on the outs since Jeremy Hill was drafted in the second round this year and Gio Bernard in the second round last year. Cutting Green-Ellis saves the Bengals over two million in cap room and allows them to keep a younger play who has a future with the team as Green-Ellis was set to be a free agent and not be back next year. Manning was brought in as a veteran this offseason, but Cincinnati already had some good backups at safety. Hampton was a talented college player, but went undrafted due to off-the-field issues. Montgomery was a third round pick of the Texans in 2013, but the Bengals were his third team already due to off-the-field issues and poor performance. Still was a second round pick of the Bengals in 2012 and played in 18 games over the past two seasons. The fact that he didn’t see much playing time last season even with Geno Atkins out with a torn ACL gives this cut some background.

Cleveland Browns

Cuts: WR Nate Burleson, LB Zac Diles, LB Jamaal Westerman, RB Chris Ogbonnaya, DB Josh Aubrey, CB Leon McFadden, DL Calvin Barnett, DL Jacobbi McDaniel, DL Justin Staples, OL Reid Fragel, OL Garrett Gilkey, OL Donald Hawkins, OL Alex Parsons, OL Abasi Salimu, QB Connor Shaw, TE MarQueis Gray, RB Dion Lewis, TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi and WR Willie Snead

Nate Burleson

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Analysis:
The wide receiver position has troubled the Browns all offseason and Burleson was supposed to come in and be a veteran who could come in an give Cleveland some production at the position. However, he obviously didn’t live up to expectations and the Browns will be relying on Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin and a bunch of unknowns at the position. Ogbonnaya ran the ball 49 times for 240 yards and caught 48 passes for 343 yards while playing many snaps at running back as the team struggled at the position. With the additions of Ben Tate and Terrence West at the position, Ogbonnaya was on the outs. McFadden was a third round pick last season out of San Diego State and didn’t do enough to impress the new regime. Still, it is surprising to see him released so soon. At the start of the offseason Gilkey was seeing time with the starting offensive line and now he is off the team. Shaw is well known for being South Carolina’s quarterback the last few years, but Rex Grossman earned the Browns number three quarterback spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cuts: TE Rob Blanchflower, TE Bryce Davis, TE David Paulson, DB Isaiah Green, DB Dayonne Nunley, DB Shaquille Richardson, DB Ross Ventrone, RB Josh Harris, RB Stephen Houston, DL Ethan Hemer, DL Josh Mauro, DL Roy Philon, DL Nick Williams, LB Chris Carter, LB Howard Jones, LB Dan Molls, QB Brendon Kay, WR Derek Moye, WR Lanear Sampson, OL Graham Pocic, OL Will Simmons and OL Guy Whimper

Analysis:
The least surprising of all the cuts from the division comes Pittsburgh as there isn’t much here. Blanchflower was taken in the seventh round this year out of UMass. Richardson was a fifth round pick out of Arizona this year making him the most surprising of the cuts for the Steelers. At a position where the team needs some help, Richardson only played 19 snaps this preseason which should have been the writing on the wall. Mauro was an undrafted free agent, but was a bigger name to be signed and seemed to be a good fit in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense after playing at Stanford. Carter was a fifth round pick in 2011, but played only 235 snaps in three seasons. Whimper has bounced around teams in the NFL as a backup lineman.



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