Bengals lose out on Pittman but improve team

One of the fascinating parts of the post-cutdown period is watching teams trying to fill needs right before the season starts.

On Sunday, half the league -- 16 teams -- received waiver claims on young players who were cut Saturday. Overall, 30 of 35 players who were claimed went to different teams, with the Bengals and the Panthers leading the way with three waiver claims apiece.

The big winner of the day might have been the Bengals. They lost out on a waiver claim on fourth-round choice Antonio Pittman, a Saints running back who was released. He went to the Rams, who had a priority position in the claiming system because of their record in a tiebreaker. Both teams finished 8-8 last year.

Instead, the Bengals received undrafted Harvard halfback Clifton Dawson from the Colts. The Bengals needed a backup runner because of injuries to backups Kenny Irons and Chris Perry. The Bengals added depth on defense. They claimed cornerback David Jones, a fifth-round choice of the Saints, and linebacker Anthony Schlegel from the Jets.

Schegel might be the best choice. He comes to a depleted Bengals linebacking corps.

The Panthers tried to fill a few backup needs. They beat out the Chiefs for Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore, who was cut by the Cowboys, They put tight end Michael Gaines on injured reserve and added Marcus Freeman, a tight end cut by Baltimore. They shuffled their backup offensive line by claiming tackle Frank Omiyale of the Falcons and releasing two former draft choices -- Rashad Butler and Will Montgomery.

The Packers were active in the fullback market. They put in claims for John Kuhn of the Steelers, Lousaka Polite of the Cowboys and Derek Schouman of the Bills. From those three, the Packers chose Kuhn.

The Cardinals are in the market for a pass rusher and may be trying out several over the next couple of weeks. The first move was made Sunday when they claimed Raiders third-round choice Quentin Moses. Linebacker Chike Okeafor went on the injured reserve list Sunday and is out for the season.

As expected, the Dolphins aren't settled along the offensive line. They claimed and were awarded tackle Cory Lekkerker of the Chargers and guard Gene Mruczkowski of the Patriots. To make room for them, they released center Clint Ingram.

Perhaps a more interesting move was claiming wide receiver Greg Camarillo. Camarillo is the type of sure-handed receiver who reminds you of Wes Welker, whom they dealt to the Patriots during the offseason. In Chargers practices, Camarillo usually came up with one or two great catches a day. Head coach Cam Cameron was the Chargers' offensive coordinator last season so he knows Camarillo and Lekkerker.

The Redskins dropped their roster to 52 Saturday because they planned to claim a wide receiver. They had only four prior to the waiver claim. They lost Taye Biddle of the Panthers to the Bucs but ended up with Shaun Bodiford of the Packers.

The Vikings hoped to slip quarterback Tyler Thigpen through waivers, but that didn't work. The Chiefs, trying to replace Casey Printers as a third quarterback, claimed Thigpen and put him in that spot.

The Giants made a smart move by picking up guard Kevin Boothe of the Raiders. Boothe started last season in Oakland and some had him grading out as one of the top Raiders linemen. Claiming Boothe allowed the Giants to get younger along the offensive line. They released veteran Zach Piller.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.