Everything's retro now. Metallica T-shirts. Ribbed turtlenecks. Baggy cargo pants. I've even seen a trend where small flip phones are coming back in style. The real world today is a time warp back to the early 2000s.
Because of the middle-school nostalgia I've felt lately, this week at The Practice Squad Power Rankings, we too are going retro.
In doing so, of course, we're only going back a few years. But this edition features OG PSPR members and two players who'd fit under the typical rules I simply cannot bring myself to remove.
The PSPR Call-Up Tally (The CUT) is at 18 call-ups after nine weeks of regular-season action. We've right at two per week on average. I'm cool with it. But, you all know me by now, I never settle. We need more. Let's see some of these veterans get much-deserved opportunities this weekend thanks to a BIG Practice Squad Elevation Saturday Remember don't be shy to hit me up on Twitter @ChrisTrapasso to alert me about any PSPR members getting the glorious call.
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The expanded, 16-man practice squads are about the only good thing to come out of the pandemic, and they're here to stay in the NFL. Because of this, I run the Practice Squad Power Rankings parallel to the league. I write about 16 individuals every Friday, 10 officially in the rankings and six honorable mentions.
Here's to the Practice Squad Power Rankings flourishing this season, emerging as a legitimate superstar, earning a massive payday and starting to cement its legacy in the hallowed halls of the internet's football-media industry.
10. Jimmy Moreland, CB, Jets
Moreland made his PSPR debut in the inaugural season -- 2019 -- after a tremendously productive career at James Madison. There, he had 18 interceptions (including six house calls)
The Jets are his fourth team, and their defense is rock solid. But D.J. Reed got a little banged up in Gang Green's home victory over Buffalo in Week 9. Moreland is actually stylistically similar to Reed. They're both ultra-feisty, super-confident nickel corners with a knack to get their hands on the football.
9. Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Titans
I loved Fitzpatrick coming out of Louisville. Four seasons of quality productive and a plus combine workout indicated he could be a reliable contributor at the NFL level. Tennessee picked him in Round 4 and he's been a disappointment to date, mostly residing on Tennessee's practice squad. But there's no shame in that! And Titans receivers have the fewest receptions in football entering Week 10. Give Fitzpatrick another shot!
8. Robert Foster, WR, Giants
Foster's on the Giants roster due to his Alabama and Bills ties to head coach Brian Daboll. GM Joe Schoen was in Buffalo when the team signed him as an undrafted free agent after the 2018 draft, and he had a magical rookie season as the only viable receiving option during Josh Allen's first NFL campaign.
That year, Foster caught 27 passes for 540 yards (20 yards per!) with three touchdowns, and all of those statistics were accumulated after November. The Giants come out of the bye a surprising 6-2, and the pass offense is 23rd in Football Outsiders DVOA. Foster can be the vertical jolt Daniel Jones needs.
7. Fred Johnson, OL, Eagles
Johnson is a larger-than-life blocker from Florida. It feels like that program pumps out plenty of those types, doesn't it? Anyway, the 6-foot-7, 330-pounder with an incredibly long reach went undrafted in 2019 despite a quality final season with the Gators and popped up on the PSPR on occasion over the past few years.
Now, I know what you're thinking -- the Eagles don't need any offensive line reinforcement. Well, while that's undeniably true in regards to the starting unit, Johnson can be the consummate extra blocker to step onto the field in jumbo-package situations.
6. Justin Zimmer, DT, Bills
Zimmer, another OG PSPR alum worked his way into a key rotational piece for the Bills in 2020 and was having a similar season in 2021 before landing on season-ending IR in November. Zimmer's become a high-energy, dirty-work type of defensive lineman, but he hasn't taken on that role for lack of athletic talent. His pro day workout comparedin 2014. Dude is a gifted specimen. After some run-stopping woes of late, maybe it's time Zimmer rejoins Buffalo's defensive front.
5. Jermar Jefferson, RB, Lions
The Lions are working D'Andre Swift back into the lineup. Slowly. Very slowly. Jamaal Williams is a workable backup, yet No. 3 runner Craig Reynolds just went on IR. Jefferson is a vision-based runner with impressive contact balance who rushed for nearly 1,400 yards at 5.8 yards per as a freshman at Oregon State and maintained similar efficiency his entire collegiate career.
4. Jashaun Corbin, RB, Giants
I've loved witnessing the Saquon Barkley Comeback Tour. Just like you have. But the Giants are extraordinarily Barkley-reliant on the ground. Daniel Jones is second on the team in rushing with 363 yards. Matt Breida is third in rushing yards with 73 total yards. And I don't want to see Barkley wear down -- although his legs should be fresh -- as the season progresses. Corbin was a shifty, decently explosive rusher at Florida State. Let's get him into the Giants' backfield rotation.
3. Cade Johnson, WR, Seahawks
Johnson was the Deebo Samuel of the FBS while at North Dakota State. He was a weapon underneath and in the jet-sweep game because of his immense YAC ability and made routine snags down the football field. Johnson had back-to-back 1,200-plus yard seasons and scored 17 touchdowns in 2018. Geno Smith's been tremendous this season yet could use another bouncy wideout to pair with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in Seattle.
2. Deven Thompkins, WR, Buccaneers
Thompkins had five catches for 53 yards -- including two contested-catch wins! -- during the 2022 preseason. He's also a Brady-type, too, in that he was a 0-star recruit when he joined the Utah State program in 2018. Brady loves an underdog's underdog, and that's precisely what Thompkins is. Lastly, Tampa Bay could use more juice at receiver, especially given how pedestrian the offense has been of late. He has 4.44 speed, had a 38.5-inch vertical and a 132-inch broad jump at his pro day.
1. Travis Fulgham, WR, Packers
Packers, I've been trying to tell you for a while now -- Fulgham should be on your active roster. He's a former PSPR cover guy who led the Eagles in receiving in 2019 out of nowhere. He's a good-sized, veteran wideout who's handled No. 1 wideout duties in the past. We're way past the R.E.L.A.X. stage for the Packers offense. It's "no idea is a bad idea" time.
Johnson was a stat-sheet filler at Marshall with 302 tackles, seven picks and 19 pass breakups in five seasons. He can man the nickel corner spot. Free safety. Strong safety. He tackles well and plays with authority on every snap.
We have Mercer on the PSPR board! Poe, a Mercer alum, was a wrecking ball in college, and he tested like a high-caliber athlete at the Georgia Pro Day. Yeah, the Bulldogs gave him the opportunity to showcase his skills, and he thoroughly impressed. Poe feels like an athletic brawler of a guard Kyle Shanahan will eventually get the most out of in San Francisco.
No idea is a bad idea when it comes to how to fix the run game. Now, of course, a running back himself cannot single-handedly fix an NFL team's rushing attack. But it won't hurt to incorporate the small, ultra-shifty Patterson into this offense, although the inspiring return of Brian Robinson Jr. to the lineup has certainly helped boost the run game.
Brooks was a late-bloomer at Cincinnati but may have boast the most dynamic purely pass-rushing three technique in the 2022 class. I mean that. On just 304 pass-rushing snaps, Brooks registered 43 pressures, thanks to an awesome blend of first-step quickness, leverage and power at the point of attack.
The Dolphins have needed to rely on McKinley of late, but he still sits on the practice squad today. The acquisition of Bradley Chubb should have a ripple effect on the secondary, yet Miami's defensive backfield is still a major work in progress, currently at 31st in pass defense DVOA.
McKinley's film at Oregon wasn't quite as good as his tremendous production -- 11 interceptions and 10 pass breakups in his final three seasons for the Ducks -- yet clearly he has a knack to find the football down the field. He should be a mainstay on Miami's defense.
Hawkins steadily got better as his role increased at Michigan, and he finished with a 63-tackle, three tackle-for-loss, four pass-breakup, two forced-fumble stat-stuffing season in his final year in Ann Arbor. The Patriots are dealing with an injury to Kyle Dugger. The time to call up Hawkins is now.