Former Cal standouts Davis Webb, Cameron Goode, Elijah Hicks, Jordan Kunaszyk and Patrick Laird made their final cases in their bids to make NFL regular-season rosters with their preseason performances on Sunday.
Webb got an unexpected opportunity with the Giants, and he took it. The Giants’ No. 1 quarterback Daniel Jones did not play in Sunday’s 31-27 loss to the Jets, so the No. 1 quarterback. 2, Tyrod Taylor, got the start. But Taylor had to leave the game with a back injury early in the second quarter, so in stepped Webb, the Giants’ No. 3 signal-caller. Webb has performed well in the preseason, and he capped it off with an outstanding performance Sunday, going 30-for-38 for 202 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a 97.6 passer rating. He drove in two touchdowns and another that resulted in a field goal.
That performance could convince Giants coach Brian Daboll to keep a third quarterback in Webb, especially if Taylor’s injury turns out to be serious. Webb knows the offense inside and out as he was with the Buffalo Bills (mostly on the practice squad) the past three years when Daboll was the Bills’ offensive coordinator.
Teams must cut down to 53 players by Tuesday, and if Webb doesn’t make the regular-season roster, he will likely join the Giants’ practice squad. But he would obviously prefer to be on the 53-man roster.
—Goode is hoping to make the Dolphins’ roster after being a seventh-round pick in this year’s NFL draft. He has put up some impressive numbers in the preseason, but had just one tackle in Sunday’s 48-10 win over the Eagles. Goode, who is listed as a third linebacker on the depth chart, played 24 snaps on defense Sunday and seven on special teams, so the Dolphins certainly gave him a long look.
— Hicks was also a seventh-round pick this year, taken by the Bears, and he got a long look Sunday. He didn’t start, but was on the field for 40 defensive tackles and 11 special teams tackles, recording three tackles. Hicks is listed as the third-string safety, so if he makes Chicago’s roster, it will probably be because of his special teams play. He found a suffocating punt for a Bears game last week.
—Kunaszyk, who signed a free agent contract with the Browns on Aug. 9, hopes to play in a fourth straight NFL regular season game. He didn’t start Sunday’s 21-20 loss to the Bears, but was on the field for 27 defensive snaps and 19 special teams snaps. He recorded four tackles, all on defense, and also recovered a fumble. Kunaszyk is listed as a third-team inside linebacker, so it will be close if he makes the team.
— Defenseman Laird signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent on Aug. 15 and has gotten plenty of playing time in the preseason. On Sunday he was on the field for 21 offensive plays and carried the ball 12 times for 35 yards and caught three passes for another 19 yards. He also played 13 snaps on special teams. Tampa Bay should at least consider keeping Laird if they gave him so much work in their 27-10 loss to the Colts.
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—Things aren’t looking so rosy for some other former Cal players trying to make NFL rosters. Bears end Jake Tonges and Commanders linebacker Josh Drayden, who were both signed this year as undrafted free agents, did not take the field in Sunday’s games. Meanwhile, Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers II and Cardinals tight end Stephen Anderson are NFL veterans hoping to stick with their current teams. Neither played on Sunday, but their fate is harder to predict as coaches already know what to expect from them. However, neither is in good position to make 53-man rosters.
—Also Sunday, Vikings safety Camryn Bynum and Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins did not play in Sunday’s games, but both are listed as starters on their respective depth charts. Ashtyn Davis may not win a starting safety job for the Jets, but he had three tackles in Sunday’s preseason game.
—On Saturday, former Cal offensive lineman Jake Curhan showed off his versatility. He started at right tackle for the Seahawks last week, and he was Seattle’s starting right guard this week.
Davis Webb cover photo by Vincent Carchietta, USA TODAY Sports
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