Third-round pick linebacker Buster Davis was among the Cardinals' cuts Friday as they got down to the 53-man roster limit.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt promised when he took over that it would be production on the field that determined a player's fate.
So perhaps it shouldn't have come as a big surprise when third-round draft pick Buster Davis, a linebacker, was among the 21 players the team released Friday afternoon in order to get down to the 53-man roster limit.
"(Buster) never really stepped up to what we needed," Whisenhunt said. "We said going in we would pick the best 53 for the football team and we made that clear.
"I had even spoken with Buster that his level of performance on the field was not quite what we had seen on the tape."
The team will try to bring Davis back to the practice squad, Whisenhunt said.
Among the players let go were defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis, a 2006 draft pick, and both Micheal Spurlock and LeRon McCoy, a pair of receivers thought to be vying for a final wideout spot.
Among those who have initially made the team include undrafted rookie center/guard Lyle Sendlein and four tight ends – Leonard Pope, Troy Bienemann, rookie Ben Patrick and Tim Euhus. The Cards will also go with two quarterbacks on the roster after cutting Shane Boyd.
Boyd is eligible for the practice squad. Receiver Anquan Boldin will serve as the emergency third quarterback. The team will put a quarterback on the practice squad to have an extra arm for practices.
The choice to keep five receivers instead of six was in part based on the decision to keep Patrick as a fourth tight end.
For now, the team is keeping a roster spot for linebacker Chike Okeafor, who is recovering from biceps surgery. Whisenhunt said the decision to keep Okeafor on the roster or put him on injured reserve should come in the next few days.
The other offensive players released were quarterback Lang Campbell, running back Steve Baylark, fullback Roshon Vercher, receiver Matt Trannon, tight end Alex Shor and offensive linemen Brandon Gorin, Brian Johnson, Scott Peters and Elliot Vallejo.
The other defensive players cut were linebackers David Holloway and Pago Togafau and defensive backs Justin Wyatt, Darrell Hunter, Michael Adams and Brandon Keeler.
The decisions point to the waiver wire claims the Cardinals are almost certain to chase once other teams make their cuts. Cutting all three backup offensive tackles on the roster – Gorin, Mitchell and Vallejo – means the short-term backup right now is Elton Brown (who has gotten reps there in practice) or the possibility of moving starting guard Reggie Wells outside if there is a long-term injury.
"I like our roster," Whisenhunt said. "There are definitely a couple of spots we will be looking at on the waiver wire. … If there is nobody there, we are comfortable with the roster as it is."
Teams must be down to their 53-man limit Saturday at 3 p.m. Arizona time. Sunday, teams can compile an eight-man practice squad starting at 9 a.m. Arizona time.
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