They’re going to have to find a new name for Mr. Irrelevant.
When the Colts opted to keep Justice Cunningham on the active roster, the tight end from South Carolina became the second player in a row to survive with Indianapolis as the last player selected in that year’s draft.
Unfortunately for the guy that spent last season on the practice squad, quarterback Chandler Harnish was among those released.
Including Harnish, the last seven Mr. Irrelevants have experienced at least some success in the NFL.
- 2011: Defensive end Cheta Ozougwu was drafted by the Texans but wound up with the Bears, where he remains on the active roster.
- 2010: Wide receiver Tim Toone spent his rookie season on IR, bounced around before making the Falcons active roster in 2012 but is currently a free agent.
- 2009: Kicker Ryan Succop not only made the Chiefs roster, he is still their kicker. He tied the NFL record for highest field goal percentage by a rookie (.862).
- 2008: Linebacker David Vobora started 16 games in three seasons with the Rams.
- 2007: Cornerback Ramzee Robinson played 19 games his first two seasons with the Lions, and seven more with the Eagles and Browns in 2009.
The last Mr. Irrelevant to fail to make at least a practice squad as a rookie was wide receiver Kevin McMahan, cut by Oakland in 2006. The Colts signed him in January 2007 but released him five months later.When the Colts drafted Cunningham, the odds appeared heavily weighted against him because of the competition at the position. But when the final decisions were made Saturday, Cunningham was kept and Dominique Jones – one of the surprise finds of 2012 as an undrafted free agent — was released.
The Colts like the blocking skills of the 6-3, 258-pound Cunningham, and he showed reliable hands during camp and the preseason with four receptions for 43 yards.
>> FEW SURPRISES AMONG FINAL CUTS
The closest thing to a surprise in the Colts’ cuts was the decision to release Drake Nevis, a third-round pick in 2011, and keep rookie Montori Hughes as a backup defensive tackle.
Health problems plagued Nevis, who finished his first two seasons on injured reserve, including a knee injury last year, but he had a strong preseason with eight tackles and two sacks. Hughes, who had just one preseason tackle but was a fifth-round pick from UT-Martin, was kept instead.
Tackle Ben Ijalana, a second-rounder in 2011, also was released, leaving just one player (tackle Anthony Castonzo) from that draft class on the roster.
Among the longshots to make the roster were linebacker Caesar Rayford (Washington), who led the NFL in preseason sacks with five; safety Delano Howell (Stanford), who led the team in tackles (24); seventh-round pick Kerwynn Williams, who led the team with 169 rushing yards; and wide receiver Griff Whalen, another undrafted free agent who spent last season on injured reseve.
Others released: LB Daniel Adnogo, S Larry Asante, C Thomas Austin, CB Marshay Green, DE Lawrence Guy, FB Robert Hughes, WR Jeremy Kelley, LB Josh McNary, CB Sheldon Price, WR Jabin Sambrano, WR Lanear Sampson, LB Monte Simmons, T Bradley Sowell, NT Martin Tevaseu, and T Lee Ziemba.
A handful of those players, notably Adongo, Asante, Harnish, Ijalana, McNary and Sowell, are strong practice squad candidates should they clear waivers.
Waived injured were T Emmett Cleary, LB Shawn Loiseau and CB Daxton Swanson. If they go unclaimed, they will revert to the Colts’ injured reserve list.