NFL vets who might be benched for rookies in 2020

The newest spherical of draft picks are primed to problem veterans for jobs. A number of vets will likely be outgunned from the beginning, whereas some will present higher resistance. Listed below are a gaggle of veterans whose beginning jobs are in danger after the draft.


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This might be a preseason demotion. The Buccaneers drafted Antoine Winfield Jr. within the second spherical to start out. Though their protection loved one of many quietest bounce-back seasons in fashionable NFL historical past final yr — rising from 32nd to fifth in DVOA — neither of the Bucs safeties is a robust obstacle to a hotshot prospect (therefore the draft choose). Adams made 11 begins final season, becoming a member of Jordan Whitehead on Tampa Bay’s again line. The Bucs have extra invested in Whitehead, a 2018 fourth-rounder, although it isn’t a lock he is not the one Winfield replaces.


Chidobe Awuzie - Dallas

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The Cowboys may need some continuity of their beginning lineup, after dropping one of many league’s finest cornerbacks, Byron Jones, in free company. However Dallas drafted Trevon Diggs in Spherical 2 and potential steal Reggie Robinson (Tulsa) in Spherical Four and signed Daryl Worley final week. The Cowboys have mentioned transferring Awuzie to security, the place they’ve incumbent starter Xavier Woods and the not too long ago signed Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. A former second-round choose, Awuzie has began for two-plus seasons. The Cowboys may be eyeing a extra versatile position for his or her contract-year defender.


Patrick Chung - New England

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A Patriots starter in 9 of the previous 10 seasons, Chung won’t be simple to unseat. However New England drafted security Kyle Dugger at No. 37 total. That’s greater than the Pats have picked a security since they selected Chung at No. 34 total in 2009. This will likely be Chung’s age-33 season, and the Patriots simply prolonged Professional Bowler Devin McCourty. Whereas Dugger may have points adjusting to the NFL recreation, coming from Division II’s Lenoir-Rhyne, he’s already 24. Chung is signed for another season. If he begins 11 extra video games, he’ll rank second in Patriots historical past for many begins by a security.


Tyeler Davison - Atlanta

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A Davidson-for-Davison swap may happen in Atlanta. The Falcons drafted Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson within the second spherical, and whereas Tyeler Davison may stay the nominal starter, the Falcons going with Davidson alongside Grady Jarrett in sub-packages would make sense. Atlanta misplaced Jack Crawford in free company and now has a wage-scale contract to pair with Jarrett’s profitable deal. Davidson registered 6.5 sacks final season at Auburn, whereas Professional Soccer Focus graded Davison (that is turning into complicated) exterior the highest 65 inside defenders final season.


Ryan Fitzpatrick - Miami

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Since Aaron Rodgers sat for 3 years after being a 2005 first-round choose, 36 of the 38 quarterbacks taken in Spherical 1 began a minimum of one recreation as rookies. Tua Tagovailoa has an opportunity to buck that development, coming off damage and with the Dolphins in a full-scale rebuild. However odds are, the ex-Alabama southpaw will make the transfer in some unspecified time in the future later within the season. Though, if the Dolphins don’t commerce or waive Josh Rosen, the possibilities of Tagovailoa ascending in 2020 take a success. 


Marcus Gilbert - Arizona

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The longtime Steelers proper deal with didn’t play a down for the Cardinals final season, however the plan was for him to man the best facet of Arizona’s line. A preseason damage nixed that technique. The Playing cards re-signed Gilbert to a veteran-minimum deal this offseason, however their profitable extension for D.J. Humphries factors to Gilbert being changed if/when third-round choose Josh Jones is prepared this season. The Cardinals had been shocked the ex-Houston Cougar lasted till Spherical 3, and given Gilbert’s damage historical past — which included an 11-game absence for the 2018 Steelers — it’s seemingly a swap will happen.


Ben Gedeon - Minnesota

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Though Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are the Vikings’ three-down linebackers, Gedeon is a starter. He succeeded the retired Chad Greenway in 2017 and held that job till a concussion knocked him out for the season halfway by 2019. Gedeon not solely will face a problem from Eric Wilson, who stuffed in for him final yr, however the run-downs linebacker additionally will now have four-year Oregon tackles chief Troy Dye to take care of; the Vikings took Dye in Spherical 4. Whereas he won’t threaten Barr’s or Kendricks’ taking part in time, Dye is a candidate to be their base-defense wingman. 


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Stephen Hauschka – Buffalo

Stephen Hauschka - Buffalo

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Buffalo’s kicker of the previous three years, Hauschka has did not clear the 80 p.c subject aim accuracy bar over the previous two. Though 4 of final yr’s six misses got here from past 50 yards, the Payments drafted competitors in sixth-rounder Tyler Bass. Hauschka’s contract runs by 2021, and slicing him would value the Payments over $1M. But when Bass beats him out in camp, the staff may have no challenge jettisoning its incumbent. 


DaeSean Hamilton - Denver

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Maybe the obvious name on this listing, albeit a lower-profile one. The Broncos used their prime two draft decisions on vast receivers whose video games complement Courtland Sutton’s. The slithery Jerry Jeudy and the explosive Okay.J. Hamler, the latter being Hamilton’s former Penn State teammate, are primed to be Denver’s Nos. 2 and three receivers early. Hamilton may maintain off Hamler for the slot job in September, however the former’s 540 profession yards in 30 video games level to a demotion to make room for higher-level investments. 


Anthony Hitchens - Kansas City

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The Chiefs’ $16 million-per-year Sammy Watkins deal acquired extra consideration in 2018, however their $9M-AAV pact for Hitchens additionally represented a large overpay. The previous Cowboys run-stopping linebacker has struggled in that capability and has been focused in protection. The Chiefs used their second-round choose on Mississippi State linebacker Willie Homosexual Jr., and it’s seemingly he’ll see time within the beginning lineup for the defending champions. Hitchens, although, is just not a minimize candidate — because of a restructure he agreed to final yr. 


Kerryon Johnson - Detroit

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Johnson’s yards per carry plummeted from 5.Four his rookie yr to three.6 final season. He has missed 14 video games in a two-year profession. The Lions drafted a higher-profile working again in Spherical 2: Georgia’s D’Andre Swift. Whereas this doubles as Detroit’s fourth second-round working again choose prior to now 10 years, Swift (profession 6.6 YPC common with the Bulldogs) was on the first-round radar. And head coach Matt Patricia is on the recent seat. With Johnson having battled knee issues in 2018 and ’19, he seems to be to have a slim likelihood to carry off the newest extremely drafted Georgia working again.


Ryan Kerrigan - Washington

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This might be a serious shift for the Redskins, however they may not have a alternative. They drafted Montez Sweat within the 2019 first spherical, and he began 16 video games as a rookie. Washington’s tough season gave it the No. 2 total choose, and Chase Younger will likely be a Day 1 starter. He is without doubt one of the finest cross rushers to enter the NFL in years. This represents a troublesome break for Kerrigan, a 10th-year veteran whose 90 sacks are one shy of Dexter Manley’s staff file. Kerrigan missed his first NFL video games final season, ending the yr on IR, however may quickly be an overqualified specialist for a loaded Washington cross rush.


Matt LaCosse - New England

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Going from the third-string tight finish on a 6-10 Broncos staff to Rob Gronkowski’s alternative, LaCosse landed one of many stranger promotions any NFL staff’s given out in years. He may maintain off third-round rookies Devin Asiasi (UCLA) and Dalton Keene (Virginia Tech) to start out the season, however LaCosse’s numbers truly regressed from his 2018 Broncos season, dropping to 13 catches for 131 yards. Will probably be laborious to see him staving off extra gifted challengers because the season progresses.


Joe Looney - Dallas

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This depends upon the readiness of fourth-round choose Tyler Biadasz. The Cowboys tabbed Looney as Travis Frederick’s alternative two years in the past when the All-Decade heart missed the season with Guillain-Barre syndrome and re-signed him this offseason. However Biadasz gained the Rimington Trophy final season — given to Division I-FBS’ finest heart — and fell to the Cowboys solely due to considerations about offseason surgical procedures the previous two years. Except Biadasz can not overcome his accidents, the soon-to-be 30-year-old Looney seems to be like a stopgap.


Marlon Mack - Indianapolis

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A former fourth-round choose, Mack succeeded Frank Gore as Indianapolis’ starter and has performed pretty effectively the previous two seasons. However the Colts used a second-round choose on a participant who not solely accrued probably the most speeding yards in a three-year profession in Division I-FBS historical past however can be a prospect who displayed higher expertise on the scouting mix. Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor (6,174 speeding yards) ran a 4.39-second 40-yard sprint on the mix and would be the Colts’ starter in 2021, after Mack’s contract expires. He has the expertise to make Mack a 1-B again in 2020.


Zach Pascal - Indianapolis

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Chosen 10 spots sooner than Mack, Michael Pittman Jr. would be the favourite to start out reverse T.Y. Hilton in Week 1. Frank Reich is excessive on the 6-foot-Four USC vast receiver, whom he in comparison with former Chargers and Bucs standout Vincent Jackson. A former UDFA, Pascal labored his approach into Indianapolis’ lineup due to accidents however posted 607 receiving yards final season. Demoting the Outdated Dominion alum to WR4 — maybe behind 2019 second-round slot goal Parris Campbell too — represents an indication the Colts have improved their depth at a place that was skinny in recent times.


Riley Reiff - Minnesota

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The Vikings drafted their inheritor obvious to Reiff late within the second spherical; their left deal with succession plan ought to both happen within the 2021 offseason or sooner. Reiff has put collectively satisfactory work throughout his three-year keep in Minnesota and will likely be 32 by yr finish. Ezra Cleveland acquired buzz as a possible first-rounder however fell into the second. Whereas the digital offseason will make it tough for the Boise State product to problem Reiff at left deal with in coaching camp (if coaching camps, in reality, happen), he may be as much as that job through the season. 


John Ross - Cincinnati

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Teetering on bust standing, Ross noticed the Bengals doubtlessly relegate him to their WR5 on this draft. Whereas Ross has a present few NFL receivers ever have — 4.22-second 40-yard sprint velocity — he has disenchanted since being a top-10 choose in 2017. The Bengals didn’t choose up his fifth-year possibility, making this a contract yr. Cincinnati drafted Clemson deep risk Tee Higgins and has A.J. Inexperienced again by way of the franchise tag. With Tyler Boyd entrenched within the slot and Auden Tate outproducing the injury-prone Ross final yr, the latter might be a commerce candidate. He’ll virtually actually lose his beginning job.


Willie Snead - Baltimore

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Snead caught 62 passes in his 2018 Ravens debut season; that quantity plummeted to 31 final yr. Snead may have competitors from the second of the Ravens’ receiver draftees. SMU’s James Proche was a goal monster on the mid-major program, catching 203 passes between his junior and senior seasons and catching 27 TDs in that span. Proche tasks as a slot receiver and will turn into a key weapon for Lamar Jackson quickly. Snead stands in his approach now, however the 5-foot-11 teen may be coming for the job by season’s finish.


Tyrod Taylor - Los Angeles (Chargers)

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Not like Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert doesn’t enter the NFL with damage points. However he’s additionally seen as extra of a boom-or-bust passer than the Dolphins’ first-rounder. It’s seemingly Anthony Lynn will start the season together with his former Payments pupil because the beginning quarterback. However Taylor has not been a starter since being benched for Baker Mayfield in September 2018. Taylor now has one other caretaker position, offering what the Chargers certainly hope is a brief bridge between Philip Rivers and Herbert.


Larry Warford - New Orleans

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This might be one of many stranger demotions/departures in current reminiscence, however the Saints have a bizarrely stacked inside offensive line depth chart. A Professional Bowl alternate in every of his three Saints seasons, Warford may be on the outs. The Saints re-signed Andrus Peat to a profitable deal and drafted heart/guard Cesar Ruiz in Spherical 1. In addition they have 2019 second-round heart Erik McCoy and $6M-per-year backup Nick Easton, an ex-Vikings guard starter. All this depth may make Warford a commerce chip, however his $12.8M cap quantity is second on the Saints’ payroll. His time as their proper guard may be over.


James Washington - Pittsburgh

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From Mike Wallace in 2009 to Diontae Johnson final yr, the Steelers have made drafting Day 2 vast receivers a near-annual custom. This yr’s is an uncommon specimen. The Steelers took Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool at No. 49 total — their solely choose within the first three rounds. Claypool is 6-foot-4, 238 kilos and ran a 4.42-second 40 on the mix. Washington took a giant step ahead in 2019, catching 44 passes for 735 yards with out Ben Roethlisberger. However a soon-to-be 22-year-old Canadian monster has the instruments to overhaul him and turn into JuJu Smith-Schuster’s prime sidekick.


Dede Westbrook - Jacksonville

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The Jaguars additionally landed a possible affect expertise on Day 2, drafting Colorado wideout Laviska Shenault. Anticipated to be a first-round choose for months, Shenault noticed accidents dock him. However he goes 6-foot-1, 227 — principally Leonard Fournette’s dimensions — and may play exterior and within the slot. The Jags plan to make use of him at a number of positions. Jacksonville’s slot receiver, Westbrook noticed his position decreased final season, as D.J. Chark and ex-Chief Chris Conley leapfrogged him within the Jags’ pecking order. Westbrook may see a a lot bigger receiver drop him additional in Gardner Minshew’s development.


Damien Williams - Kansas City

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Williams may go from Tremendous Bowl MVP runner-up (appears seemingly he landed right here) to backup. Regardless of his standing because the Chiefs’ post-Kareem Hunt beginning again, Williams is just not an affect expertise. The Chiefs ranked 23rd in speeding final season, and Williams didn’t eclipse 500 speeding yards in an injury-limited yr. Andy Reid referred to as first-round choose Clyde Edwards-Helaire higher than ex-Eagle dynamo Brian Westbrook, and the 5-foot-7 LSU product was one in all faculty soccer’s hardest tackling duties final season. And he added 55 catches in 2019. This figures to be Edwards-Helaire’s backfield quickly.


Tyrell Williams - Las Vegas

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The Raiders assured Williams’ 2020 wage however drafted a participant whom they’d presumably choose exchange him quickly. Las Vegas selected South Carolina exterior receiver Bryan Edwards in Spherical 3. Edwards was on tempo for his first 1,000-yard season earlier than an damage intervened and broken his draft worth. Regardless of Antonio Brown’s ugly exit opening the door for infinite targets, Williams barely cleared 650 receiving yards final season. If the 212-pound Edwards reveals promise as a rookie, it will not be out of character for Jon Gruden to show to his new expertise and maybe look to commerce Williams.

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