Following the initial release of the Cardinals “final” 53 man roster, it’s easy to wince at some of the names still remaining. The good news is that the Cardinals famously own the number one waiver claim and can use it to address notable holes at cornerback, offensive tackle and defensive line. I’d expect a flurry of moves within the next 24-48 hours, both via waiver claims and veteran free agent visits. With that being said, here are three waiver claims I’d make following Saturday’s trim to 53.
1. John Franklin-Myers, DT, LA Rams
One of the biggest surprise cuts of the day came in the form of year two defensive tackle John Franklin-Myers who (as a fourth round rookie) netted three sacks (including one in the Super Bowl against Tom Brady). While he wasn’t a starter on the stout Rams defensive line, he did etch out a quality role as a rotational player that saw him active for all 19 games en route to the team’s Super Bowl appearance. Franklin-Myers, whose salary is a messily $570,000 in 2019, would instantly challenge for a starting role as a 3-4 defensive end. At worst, he could continue to develop behind a veteran like Rodney Gunter with an eye to start come 2021.
The Cardinals interest level should be HIGH considering his position, potential and cap hit.
2. Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spence was once a highly touted prospect who’s off the field concerns led him to fall into the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The explosiveness seen at the collegiate level has yet to translate to the pros while Spence has also struggled to stay healthy. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Noah Spence lost most of his second season (2017) to a shoulder injury and was mysteriously buried on the depth chart last year (2018).” You could argue he was played out of position during his first three seasons in Tampa, primarily utilized as a 4-3 DE. Todd Bowles arrival should have reenergized Spence as a true 3-4 OLB, but obviously things never clicked during training camp. Arizona should at least explore bringing Spence on board, if only for a season.
Pass rushers are premium commodities in the NFL, and players with the potential of Spence are worth a second look.
3. Donovan Olumba, CB, Dallas Cowboys
The Cardinals are going to claim a cornerback, perhaps multiple, in the coming days. The team only has three healthy corners on their roster to field week one against the Detroit Lions. Olumba is an interesting name and someone to keep an eye on. A once local product out of Tucson, Olumba went undrafted a season ago and spent the season on the Cowboys practice squad. However, when the team returned for camp this summer, it was obvious Olumba had taken a leap in development. This culminated on August 29th against Tampa Bay when the former Portland State product took a first quarter pass from Ryan Griffin 26 yards the opposite way for the defensive touchdown. Word out of Dallas is Olumba was close to securing a spot on the loaded Cowboy roster, and the team doesn’t expect him to clear waivers.
At 6’2, 205, Olumba has the kind of traits worthy of a roster spot on a team like Arizona desperate for young, capable bodies at corner.
Other players to keep an eye on: