At Draft Rite, we are all about covering the NFL from a roster-building perspective. We consider ourselves to be your home of the NFL offseason. Team building is such a fascinating subject, and the NFL invests millions of dollars into the people who put everything together every year.
It’s an inexact science. The league is constantly evolving and changing to match the new schemes and strategies designed by coaches and front-office executives. Roster building is such a careful craft. With only 53 spots available (45 activated on game day), teams have to be very careful with the people that they keep and the ones that they let go.
Prospects and the draft are only a small part of the NFL offseason. There is more to it, such as the veterans who have been in the league for a while and understand the ropes.
Every day, Tuesday through Saturday, I will be giving you a report on what teams across the NFL have done officially, and try to give you some insight into what that can mean for them and the rest of the league.
Baltimore Ravens sign G DJ Fluker
If you want to talk about a first-round pick that just didn’t pan out the way that people had hoped, look no further than the 2013 NFL Draft’s 11th overall pick and observe the ups-and-downs of his career. Danny Lee Jesus (DJ) Fluker had high hopes as a mammoth prospect from Alabama when he went pro. People loved his strength, but also acknowledged his lack of an ability to stop the counter move from a defender.
Fluker has had, by all means, a successful NFL career this far. To still be in the league at this point and starting games is a good thing. Last season, he was the starting right guard for the Seahawks and played 863 snaps. His pre-draft concerns have haunted him, as he’s still not the best at locking people at the line of scrimmage and containing them.
Fluker started as a right tackle for the San Diego Chargers in 2013, but moved to right guard in his third season. It was a bit of an adjustment, as Fluker led the league in penalties, but he adjusted well for the most part and it seems to have helped him moving inside.
The Ravens recently lost long time right guard Marshall Yanda to retirement, and the team has actively targetted people to be his potential replacement since then. Let’s look at a few of these candidates;
Ben Powers (2019 4th round pick)
Ben Bredeson (2020 5th round pick)
DJ Fluker (2020 free-agent addition)
Fluker isn’t a shoo-in to make this roster, especially with the young talent that sits there already. Regardless, he’s going to push the level of competition through the roof, and maybe even pressure Andre Smith at right tackle to up his game. This is a solid signing, mostly for the fact that Fluker ramps up the level of competition in training camp.
Las Vegas Raiders sign RB Devontae Booker
The NFL has drastically changed how they view the running back position as a whole over the last five years especially. The days of the bell cow running back are now pretty much dead. We are now in the era of running back by committee. The Raiders needed to assemble a committee. Devontae Booker was one of the finer additions that the team could have made, in my opinion.
Before adding Booker, the Raiders running back room consisted of Josh Jacobs (a 1000-yard-rusher last season), Jalen Richard, Rod Smith, and rookie third-round pick Lynn Bowden. Bowden should be used more as a gagdet/utility player, so the running back position actually looked bleak for the Raiders after Jacobs.
Booker was a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and has been used sparingly in the last few years in Denver. He had a good breakout rookie season, but an injury slowed him in 2017, and then Phillip Lindsey joined the team in 2018 and we saw his breakout season.
Booker is a good receiver out of the backfield, and has flashed the ability to be an effective relief in a zone run scheme, something that the Raiders run an awful lot of. This is a great move for the roster in Las Vegas, and should give the team a solid backfield trio to work with.
NFL Transactions Report
- Browns terminated DT Brandin Bryant via waivers.
- Raiders signed RB Devontae Booker and waived LB Derrick Moncrief.
- Ravens signed G Daishawn Dixon and G DJ Fluker.
- Saints signed WR Marquez Callaway.