These former Ohio State players are heading into the final week of the NFL preseason. New to the league, several Buckeyes have already started carving out playing time for their respective teams. With organizations facing the deadline for the first round of cuts, they have until tomorrow, Sept. 1, to get their rosters down to 75 players. The final round of cuts is due Sept. 5, leaving teams with their 53-man roster.
Should a player not make a team's final 53-man roster, they still have a shot at joining the team's practice squad for the year.
Early roster cuts
The inside linebacker signed with the San Diego Chargers back in May as an undrafted free agent and has had several months to get adjusted to their schemes. He made two solo tackles this preseason and showed signs of leadership among the group, but that wasn't enough to earn him a roster spot with the Chargers, as he was cut Sunday.
Miller was always considered a long shot to make the final roster for the Carolina Panthers, and saw the axe on Sunday. His limited game day experience though hadn't kept the defensive end from making a splash during training camp. In his first preseason game, Miller played 19 snaps and was able to sack the Bills quarterback and make two combined tackles.
In a surprising move by the New York Jets, they released Posey after acquiring him through a trade with the Houston Texans for a third-round draft pick. Despite seven receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown during the preseason, he was outperformed in camps and practices and eventually let go. With several wide receivers being injured, he could still be picked up by another team and land on a team's final roster.
Rookies in the preseason
Bennett, despite being a sixth-round draft pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars, will likely see a starting role early in the regular season. He joined the team injured in the spring, but has worked his way back to being stronger than ever. His strength and pass rushing ability has earned him reps with the first team, which he isn't taking lightly.
"I told Coach Wash that I really appreciated the opportunity to go up against the ones because if you go up against a three and beat a three, they say 'It's just a three'. When you get the chance to go up against a one, they notice you. That's nothing against twos and threes. If you really want to turn some heads, you have to beat the guys that are considered the best."
He's had some standout plays during the first two preseason games, including getting his hands up to block several passes. He's made four tackles so far, and that's with limited playing time.
Mike Bennett vs Zane Beadles. Yeah, https://t.co/kLUC2MKNsT— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) August 6, 2015
The Pittsburgh Steelers have faced an offseason filled with injuries and retirements, especially on defense. Most recently, their second-round draft pick, CB Senquez Golson, was ruled out for the season after tearing his labrum and undergoing shoulder surgery. The team brought in CB Brandon Boykin from Philadelphia to add to their secondary, but Grant still has a good chance to see playing time his first year with a thinning depth chart.
Having played in all three preseason games, and the Hall of Fame game, Grant has showed value on both defense and special teams, making six combined tackles and showing natural instincts. The team wanted Grant to focus on special teams ahead of taking snaps at cornerback, but could end up using him in both capacities during the season.
"I'm just trying to make plays, trying to do something," Grant said, per Cleveland.com. "I just want to keep improving on special teams and improving my role."
The rookie running back has made an early impression on the Seattle Seahawks, who could be looking to lighten the load of their star back Marshawn Lynch. Smith, in his first three preseason games, rushed six times for 50 yards and caught six passes for 27 yards.
He's seen a good amount of reps for a rookie and has shown that he is able to get a first down and move the chains. The Seahawks invested a lot in this young player, signing Smith to a three-year deal worth $1.58 million. This was a gamble for the organization as a promising Smith was dismissed from Ohio State following a failed drug test in Oct. 2014.
He obviously did enough to erase any doubts and get signed as an undrafted free agent; hopefully he makes the most out of his new opportunity.
Washington has shorter receivers than they'd like, and brought in the 6'2 Spencer to get some height at the position. Spencer left Week 3's preseason game against the Ravens with a concussion and was ruled out the remainder of the game. Hopefully this injury doesn't impact his roster spot with the looming deadlines.
Spencer did see reps with the first team against the Cleveland Browns, but quarterback RGIII overthrew the rookie which ended the drive and the his time in the first preseason game of the year. He saw a few more reps during Week 2's win against the Lions, snagging two catches for 16 yards.
Wide receiver stud Devin Smith missed most of the New York Jets training camp, and preseason with broken ribs and punctured lungs. He is expected to be back in action for Week 1 of the regular season.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman was drafted by the Denver Broncos, but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in his left knee during mini-camps in the spring.
The Baltimore Ravens are facing an injury list that has topped a dozen players, including offensive lineman Darryl Baldwin. The undrafted free-agent hasn't practiced with the team in several weeks with an unknown injury.