The NHL is currently overflowing with news as the NHL draft and the expansion draft are about to begin. Buffalo Rumblings, SB Nations’ Buffalo Bills affiliate, gave their, Hypothetical Buffalo Bills “protected players” list. I tried my hand at the Baltimore Ravens roster.
“Each team had the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie. All players with continuing and effective no-movement clauses had to be protected. All first- and second-year professionals are exempt from selection, as are unsigned draft choices.”
Just as Chris Trapasso of Buffalo Rumblings, I’ll only protect 12 players from the 53 man roster.
Automatic protection, two seasons or less in NFL:
(In short, all players from the 2015, 2016 and 2017 NFL Draft. I’m listing the notable names, as to not worry you when I leave of Ronnie Stanley or Tavon Young from the protected players list)
- Maurice Canady
- Kamalei Correa
- Kenneth Dixon
- Willie Henry
- Matthew Judon
- Bronson Kaufusi
- Alex Lewis
- Chris Moore
- Michael Pierce
- Ronnie Stanley
- Tavon Young
- Joe Flacco
- C.J. Mosley
- Brandon Williams
- Tony Jefferson
- Marshal Yanda
- Terrell Suggs
- Jimmy Smith
- Jeremy Maclin
- Breshad Perriman
- Eric Weddle
- Mike Wallace
- Justin Tucker
This leaves an awful lot of players left on the board for an expansion team. Big names left off include:
- Za’Darius Smith — He was number 13 on my list. I value Tucker over Smith after his regression last season and the influx of linebackers from the 2017 NFL draft. Kicking in the NFL has changed, and Tucker is the best in the NFL.
- Maxx Williams — Currently, Williams’ status is up-in-the-air. He’s been injured the past two seasons, off-and-on. He shows potential, but it’s about production now.
- Crockett Gillmore — Very similar to Maxx, but Crockett is currently the better tight end. Tough leaving him off the protection list, but it’s from the standpoint of, “they can’t take all the Ravens tight ends”.
- Anthony Levine Sr. — One of the best Ravens special teamers, and on a great contract. His versatility is important, but he isn’t valued over the top 12.
- Terrance West — This is strictly a business-decision. Runningbacks are a dime-a-dozen. The Ravens have Kenneth Dixon automatically protected; I doubt other teams pick up Danny Woodhead, another unprotected Raven, based on his age and injury history. This gives Baltimore two runningbacks, while Javorius Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro fight for third on the depth chart. West was right in with Za’Darius Smith, one of the final cuts.
- Brandon Carr — I leave Carr unprotected due to his age. An expansion team may take him, based on his perfect gridiron attendance and leadership, but Carr isn’t more valuable than Jefferson, Weddle or Jimmy.
- Benjamin Watson — Another tight end on the list, his age the biggest factor. If an expansion team decided upon Watson, they get an absolute leader and player. He’s incredible as a veteran and could help a young, expansion team, but taking him means Crockett, Maxx, or Darren Waller (also unprotected), stays on the Ravens roster. Force an expansion team to pick between the four, with either one or two picks, and the Ravens are left with the other two. I like those odds.