It still feels a bit like a mirage that pro Football is starting on Thursday.
But today was the dreaded day for many players who had been with each of the 32 franchises over the last month & a half.
Fair warning, this will be Purple heavy but they aren't the only team that will be included in this one.
While waiting for Minnesota's initial 53 to be announced news came across the wire that two Bison greats didn't make their respective rosters.
Coming off of a rookie season in which he was included among Green Bay's 53, Darrius Shepherd didn't make the team this year. Even in small doses, with what he showed last year he seems like a likely possibility to end up in another zip code. I can't dismiss the possibility of him agreeing to join their practice squad this season since they've continued to operate strangely with regard to weapons for their future HOF quarterback.
The other pro-Bison to at least temporarily be without a home was the 7th round pick by Denver. The same could be said for Shepherd, but the lack of a preseason severely limited Tuszka's chance to earn a spot right out of the gate. As the only ones who have seen what he can do against pro talent on a daily basis, him remaining with Elway's team is the most likely. Twisting in the wind for any amount of time would be very damaging to his prospects.
Jacksonville also announced their roster and while it did include James Robinson from ISU & St. John's Ben Bartch it did not include Ben Ellefson. If he were to end up elsewhere I would predict it to be with an offense that puts at least an equal value on running as it does passing so that his value as a blocker can be factored in.
Now for the home team
The situation may change in moments but for now, the Purple have seven wide receivers and only two safeties. There's no way they can go into the season with no one backing up Smith & Harris. As stated in last Sunday's projection, I think the choice will come down to Sharpe or Beebe but the team has already surprised me by keeping Dan Chisena who apparently is a special teams ace.
They also overloaded at running back & defensive line, though that's understandable since the Hunter has missed so much time during this camp. With KJ Osborn rumored to be the lead return man, there is some redundancy with Ameer Abdullah.
The best news may be that they felt so good about nine of their draft picks that they didn't want to mess around with the practice squad. That was a given with Jefferson, Gladney, Dantzler & Cleveland but a higher than 50% return right away is very promising.
Now that the sun has set and the dust has seemed to settle, there are are a few more developments that need to be talked about.
Green Bay went from three pro Bison yesterday to one today.
Aside from Shepherd, big Zach Johnson was also given his walking papers today. So if you needed more reason to dislike that franchise, now you have it! Personally, I'm glad they made the moves since it creates a less divided scenario. I want those guys to each get another chance in the league but the less GB has to root for, the better.
Which brings me to what I expect will be the last update of the evening. After a late signing by Las Vegas - typed Oakland first - Kyle Emanuel's comeback bid was again stalled. As the player with the most experience of the current free agent group, he may be a hot commodity but in the last few hours he has not come to terms with a different organization.
As it has been with just about everything, the virus is an added wrinkle to the process so it seems unlikely that any quick deals will be announced for these guys if it's not with the team they have already been working for. That applies to the Purple as well, in their search for Safety depth. It stinks, but that has been well established already!