NFL teams made their final roster cut downs official Tuesday, trimming from 90 players all the way to the week one 53-man roster. Ahead of next week’s NFL kickoff, here is where Iowa rookies currently stand in the pro game.
Linderbaum to start in Baltimore
First-round pick Tyler Linderbaum was a sure thing to make the gameday roster with the Ravens. He was picked 25th overall in the Draft which is a steal considering his pedigree. Despite playing only a handful of snaps in the preseason, he is projected to start at center when Baltimore visits the New York Jets on Sept. 11.
Linderbaum figures to be a big part of a resurgent Ravens team this season. He is one of several exciting rookie additions to the team, which Kevin Hanson said will make this a much different group than in 2021.
Take a look at how Linderbaum impressed NFL analyst Brian Baldinger in his first and only preseason appearance.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 28, 2022
Goodson hangs on after flashy preseason
Running back Tyler Goodson surprised many when he declared for the NFL Draft at the end of last season. He did not waste time proving the doubters wrong with his play in the preseason. Goodson went undrafted, but he caught on as a free agent with Green Bay. Known for his pass-catching ability out of the backfield, he earned a healthy amount of playing time in the preseason. Goodson had 29 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown. In another surprise, he did not make the final roster cut this week. The Packers were able to bring him back in the building as a member of the practice squad.
Tyler Goodson hit the 🅱️ button!
Touchdown Green Bay
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 26, 2022
Injuries slow two Iowa rookies
A pair of Iowa rookies were tripped up by injuries in the preseason but still have a shot to see some playing time.
Dane Belton was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Giants and was the final rookie the team signed to a contract in the spring. He was a standout during training camp before breaking his collarbone early in August. Charean Williams of NBC Sports wrote that the Giants were holding out hope that he would be ready for week one when New York faces Tennessee. Belton avoided surgery and has been back at practice, which is encouraging, but his status for week one is still unclear. He remains a member of the 53-man roster.
When Belton’s Giants visit the Titans, we know kicker Caleb Shudak will not be active. Shudak hit the PUP list in training camp and will not be eligible to play through the first four games. Mike Vrabel liked what he saw in the kicker before injury, according to Hawk Central’s Kennington Lloyd Smith III, so the expectation is for him to suit up later in the season.
Hankins and VanValkenburg trending up
Rookie safety Dane Belton doing some work in a red jersey. Bodes well for Week 1 after fracturing his collarbone earlier this summer.
The Giants only have 3 safeties on their roster at the moment. Expect that to change soon. pic.twitter.com/O0bZ2M2BcE
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) August 30, 2022
Defensive back Matt Hankins had a slow start to training camp, signed with the Atlanta Falcons. The secondary is the one area where the Falcons have quite a bit of depth. As the preseason went on, Hankins started to find some of the mojo that made him a key part of Iowa’s top-notch secondary in 2021. He has stuck with the practice squad for now but it is easy to see his number being called if injury should strike. The Giants have already been hit hard by the injury bug, as Gridiron Heroics’ Greg Peisel illustrates.
Zach VanValkenburg had to battle to stand out with a deep position group as well. The Raiders loaded up on pass rushers in the offseason, looking for complements to Maxx Crosby. VanValkenburg put an exclamation mark on his preseason with a sack on Patriots QB Bailey Zappe last week. He is staying with Las Vegas as a practice squad member for now. Keep an eye on how the Raiders rotate on the defensive line. If they are throwing a lot of bodies out there to relieve Crosby and Chandler Jones, it is possible a spot opens up for VanValkenburg.
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