It was an eventful Saturday, to say the least. Outside of the blockbuster trades, there were a handful of players let go by their respective franchises that may have come as a surprise to some. Let’s dig deeper into exactly why some of these big names were let go.
The 22nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Doctson missed nearly his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles. The lightswitch never flipped for him afterward. Despite playing 750-plus snaps in each of the past two seasons, Doctson managed receiving grades of 62.5 and 63.2 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The writing was on the wall with this one, though, as Doctson was reportedly on the trading block earlier this week.
A year ago, Kizer was acquired by the Packers in exchange for defensive back Damarious Randall, who has been a starting safety for the Browns ever since. After earning a disastrous 52.8 overall grade as a rookie for the Browns, Kizer never stopped looking like a fish out of water. In spot duty when Rodgers was injured last season, Kizer earned a 29.6 overall grade and then only a 76.1 this preseason. That represented an improvement, but former UDFA Tim Boyle out-graded him with an 80.1 overall this preseason.
Back in 2015, Marshall was a key cog to the Broncos' Super Bowl run. Not even 30 years old yet, Marshall was cut by the Broncos after last season and released once again over the weekend. He had earned grades of 61.8 in 2017 and 64.2 in 2018 before earning a rough 43.8 on 60 preseason snaps with the Raiders. With those numbers in mind, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Edge Jachai Polite, New York Jets
Rookie third-rounders don’t get cut purely for on-field reasons. Especially with an edge group as bereft of talent as the Jets. Polite looked out of shape and unathletic at his pre-draft pro day, and this preseason never changed that perception. On 60 pass-rushing snaps, he recorded all of three pressures.
This one might be one of the most head-scratching. Not only because Lauletta was a high fourth-rounder last season, but also because he dominated this preseason. He earned a 79.9 overall grade and had a passer rating of 103.8.
Wisniewski earned 70.0-plus grades in five consecutive seasons before an uncharacteristically down 2018 season. The interior offensive lineman only just turned 30, and his experience would seemingly be invaluable for a team competing for a championship – even if only as a backup. His preseason was rough, though, as he earned a 56.3 overall grade on 91 snaps.
Hester is a surprise cut for the opposite reason of Wisniewski. The up-and-coming third-year player showed a ton of promise in 226 snaps last season, earning an 89.7 overall grade. He looked solid once again this preseason with a 70.1 pass-rushing grade. With the embarrassment of riches along the Eagles' defensive line, though, talent was bound to hit the chopping block.
Less than a year ago, Thomas was deemed worthy of a fourth-round pick by the Texans for only a half-season worth of snaps. Now, the Patriots deemed him unworthy of even a roster spot. At 31 years old, Thomas hasn’t earned a receiving grade over 80.0 since 2014.
The former second-round pick had a lot of fans hoping he could get healthy and be the answer to the Bucs' pass-rushing woes. He managed all of 291 snaps during the regular season the past two years before getting an extended look this preseason. Unfortunately, on 118 snaps in four games this preseason, Spence only earned a 58.7 pass-rushing grade.
This one makes sense with Garnett’s injury history and poor scheme fit, but it still stings to let go of a recent first-rounder – especially at a highly developmental position like offensive line. He played 716 snaps as a rookie, earning a 61.5 overall grade. Garnett would miss all of his second season with a knee injury and only played 59 snaps last season after dislocating his toe in the first game of the year. In 52 snaps in the 49ers' fourth preseason game, Garnett earned a 54.6 overall grade.