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5 biggest surprises among NFL roster cuts

NFL rosters were cut down to 80 on Tuesday with one final cut down day coming next week. There weren’t a ton of huge names released in this latest round.

However, some of those who were either release or waived could very well latch on with other teams ahead of Week 1 of the NFL regular season. Below, we look at the five biggest surprises among those who were given their walking papers through the first two rounds of cuts.

Isaiah Ford, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

nfl roster cuts: isaiah ford, miami dolphins
Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson (30) breaks up a pass intended for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Isaiah Ford (84) in the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins have improved their wide receiver depth with rookie first-round pick Jaylen Waddle and free-agent signing Will Fuller. Even then, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the team move off this 2017 late-round selection.

Ford, 25, recorded 28 receptions for 276 yards while catching 64% of his targets for the Dolphins during the 2020 NFL season. Without any ability as a return man, head coach Brian Flores and Co. opted to go with more versatility as they prepare for their final cuts.

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Taco Charlton, EDGE, Kansas City Chiefs

nfl roster cuts: taco charlton, kansas city chiefs
Jul 28, 2021; St. Joseph, MO, United States; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (55) talks with defensive end Taco Charlton (94) in a break during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Signed to a one-year, $1.12 million contract back in March, this 26-year-old former first-round pick had $137,500 in total guarantees at the time of his release. Given that financial commitment, it’s intriguing that Kansas City didn’t wait until its final cuts to move off Charlton.

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From an on-field standpoint, Kansas City lacks depth from a pass-rush perspective behind Chris Jones and Frank Clark. It’s also important to note that the latter might be in some legal trouble after an off-season arrest on gun charges. Charlton seemed to be a perfect depth fit in Kansas City. Apparently, that was not the case.

Tommylee Lewis, wide receiver, New Orleans Saints

nfl roster cuts: tommylee lewis, new orleans saints
Dec 17, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry (24) forces a fumble by New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) at the goal line as outside linebacker Thomas Davis (58) helps defend in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. The fumble went out of the end zone turning the ball over to the Panthers. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

While the 28-year old Lewis never performed well as a receiver in his four seasons with the Saints (21 receptions), he was a darn good returner. Last season alone, the Northern Illinois product averaged a career-high 29.7 yards per kick return. That can’t go unnoticed in all of this.

Equally as intriguing, the Saints are at a disadvantage when it comes to the wide receiver position with Michael Thomas sidelined. Heck, they just signed former first-round bust Kevin White off the street.

Kelvin Harmon, wide receiver, Washington Football Team

nfl roster cuts: kelvin harmon
Jul 30, 2021; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver Kelvin Harmon (13) celebrates after a catch during training camp at Bon Secours Washington Football Team Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

A former sixth-round pick out of North Carolina State, Harmon suffered a torn ACL back in June of 2020. That cost him all of last season. It’s unfortunate given that Harmon was coming off a solid rookie campaign that saw him catch 30 passes for 365 yards in 16 games (eight starts).

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Washington has obviously upgraded its depth chart at wide receiver heading into Week 1 of the NFL season. We’re still a bit surprised that it moved off this still-young 24-year-old pass-catcher.

Rasul Douglas, cornerback, Las Vegas Raiders

nfl roster cuts: rasul douglas
Aug 21, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Rasul Douglas (38) tackles Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Landen Akers (84) during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout his four-year NFL career, Douglas has split time as a reserve and a starter. In Philadelphia, he started 18 games with the Eagles during three seasons. Last year with the Carolina Panthers, Douglas started a career-high 11 games.

With Las Vegas obviously still in need of both experience and talent in the secondary after giving up nearly 30 points per game a season ago, it’s a surprise to learn that the team moved off Douglas. While he’s not necessarily a starter-caliber corner, having this type of depth behind youngsters Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette would make sense.

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