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Hawks in the NFL - The Final Cut

Tuesday was a mixed bag for former Hawks

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday was moving day for the NFL, as teams had to make final roster cuts to the 53-man roster, and it turned into a sour day for several former Hawks.

Going into the final cut, the big question mark with Iowa fans centered around Tyler Goodson. As you might recall, Goodson declared early for the NFL, foregoing his final year of eligibility. Despite some good combine numbers, he went undrafted in April.

He landed with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent and had a solid training camp/preseason, finishing with 107 yards rushing on 29 carries while also snagging 8 receptions for 60 yards over three games. He capped his preseason with this:

Unfortunately, Green Bay’s backfield is...packed, and Goodson was waived Tuesday morning. He did enough in preseason that chances are good he either lands elsewhere or clears waivers and can get back on the Green Bay practice squad. Not a bad life, getting on a practice squad...

A day that started with that disappointing Goodson news only got worse. Jack Heflin was another Green Bay casualty, hitting waivers Tuesday morning. Coy Cronk was a late morning waiver by Jacksonville. Brandon Smith caught a touchdown in the Cowboys last preseason game against Seattle but was also a Tuesday morning cut. Matt Hankins was cut in Atlanta. Then the hits kept coming later in the day, as Zach VanValkenburg was waived by the Oakland Las Vegas Raiders (as an aside - take a look at their first round picks under Mike Mayock going back to 2019. None of them are currently on the roster. All of them were either released or had their 5th year option declined. Um...). Then for a little extra salt, Jake Gervase, James Ferentz, Mehkai Sargent, and Greg Mabin were also released. Sargent is disappointing - the Jaguars roster sat at 54 players mid-morning yesterday and he was on it, so he was the last cut. That’s a tough day for a lot of players.

Several players were also cut earlier in the week or at previous cut deadlines. Josh Jackson was cut by Arizona on Monday. This feels ominous for Jackson given he’s bounced around the league over the last calendar year, going from Green Bay to New York Giants to Kansas City to Arizona all since his trade to the Giants on August 17, 2021. As they say - that’s not great. Barrington Wade, Cole Banwart, Shaun Beyer, and Jaleel Johnson were waived in an earlier cut deadline, by Denver, New York Jets, Minnesota, and New Orleans, respectively.

It wasn’t all doom-and-gloom for Iowa’s NFL contingent in the final days of preseason. Iowa still has a healthy NFL contingent spread across 21 teams, with multiple players occupying the starting spot for their teams, and some of the above players can find a landing spot with a practice squad (practice squads are now bigger than a few years ago, consisting of 16 players instead of 10). One of the bright spots at the end of camp was Tyler Linderbaum. He suffered a foot injury early in training camp and there were fears it was related to his injury in the Kentucky game. With that, it was believed it would cost him at least a portion of the season, perhaps more. Fortunately the injury wasn’t as serious as initially thought and he played nine snaps in Baltimore’s final preseason game, a 17-15 win over Washington. He appears to be on course to start at center for the Ravens.

In the “good story” category of players is Parker Hesse. The former defensive end made the Atlanta roster as their #2 tight end. Now, read that sentence again. An undersized defensive end at Iowa is now the #2 tight end for the Atlanta Falcons. That’s an incredible accomplishment.