Little-known players could be in demand as cuts near

I mentioned a few veteran free agents who are held in high regard by some teams with needs, but some younger players also will be caught in a numbers game as we approach the 53-man roster deadline. A few teams might have a luxury of too many good players at a certain position, and other teams will have interest should they be shopped around.

The Giants are dealing with numerous injuries on their front seven, but the issues at linebacker seem relatively minor at this time. Former third-round draft pick Gerris Wilkinson, an outside linebacker, has made seven career starts and has the athleticism to play multiple positions. He’s a player some scouts are high on and someone likely to command interest.

The Ravens are loaded in their defensive front seven and have a fully healthy compliment of linemen. They could end up doing more stuff in a 4-3 this season, which MLB Ray Lewis loves. The Ravens also have all kinds of hybrid defensive end/linebackers — Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, second-round pick Paul Kruger — and that could cause them to release some of their young linebackers. That’s surprising in the wake of losing Bart Scott to the Jets in free agency.

Executives wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens were approached about young linebackers such as Jameel McClain or Antwan Barnes, given all the talent there. Browns general manager George Kokinis, a former longtime member of the Ravens’ front office, likely will watch this situation closely.

With so many teams seeking defensive linemen, the Dolphins also could be a team that fields a lot of calls. Young DE Lionel Dotson has starting potential, and the Dolphins are deep on the edges. But I’d be surprised if they moved Dotson from what I’m hearing. He’s the type of player other personnel guys will be interested in as they set their rosters.

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