I know you guys are focused on the starting of the College Football season with all the good reports from Wescott and Michael, but there is always time to root for our former Longhorns now in the pros.
As some of you already know, I am Spanish and English is not my native language, so please, understand my misspellings and grammar mistakes. I try to do my best. I love Longhorns football and as a journalist I would like to develop my career as an american football analyst (as we say, dreaming is free). As you can imagine this is not a common sport in my country. I have been followed BON since 2007 and I think it's time to contribute to this great community. I have thought, that given the lack of information on internet about the Longhorns in the NFL, it would be nice for us to have a weekly report about how our former players are doing in the league. I am thinking about doing this all through the season, any idea/suggestion will be welcomed. I would also want to thank my good friend horndude for his help.
Preseason is not important, we all know that, but it's now or never for some of the players who are fighting for a roster spot before the cuts are made by the start of the season. Important dates are: August 27th (down to 75) and August 31st (the final 53 man roster). Before and after those dates expect to see a lot of movement affecting the Horns players.
This is the perfect example how the preseason can determinate a player's future. After being released by the Bills in preseason last year, Young sat for a whole year. He graduated from UT and worked out with Major Applewhite and Wyllie. After flirting with the CFL, Young got his chance by signing an one year contract with the Packers on Saturday, August 5th.
Despite practicing for less than a week with his new team he was able to play a couple of drives last Friday vs de Cards and got a couple of first downs thanks to his mobility. His final stats were:
Passing: 1/3 for 7 yards / Rushing: 2 rushes for 12 yards.
No chance he gets the starting position, he will have to fight for the backup position with our old friend Graham Harrell and the rookie out of Tennessee-Chattanooga, BJ Coleman.
After an unsuccessful 3 year span with the Browns where he didn't get the confidence from the staff a QB needs, Colt was traded to the 49ers plus a 6th rd draft pick for a 5th rd and 7th rd picks. As with Young, it's hardly likely Colt could win the QB#1 slot fot the 49ers, with Kaepernick on the roster, after the Nevada product led his team to the SB last year.
In his first preseason game Colt threw a pick and in the next drive he injured his throwing shoulder what made him leave the game. His final line was: 3/7 for 41 yards and 1 INT. Colt will be held for a couple of practices, something that will hurt his chances to become Kaepernick's backup. His rival for the spot is Tolzien who also threw a pick in the 49ers loss to the Broncos.
BREAKING: Reports say that Colt is back at practice on monday with the 49ers.
Jamaal is probably the highest rated fomer Longhorn player currently in the NFL, having reached start-status on his team. He is facing his 6th year in the pros between the best RBs in the League, probably just behind Adrian Peterson, in the same level as HOU Arian Foster and BAL Ray Rice (Chris Johnson who?).
His only job in the preseason is to remain injury free. He only had 5 carries in the 1st Qtr of the KC game, good enough for 13 yards and one TD in a 1 yard run, he also led his team with 27 yds in 3 catches. He will be a great weapon for the new Andy Reid system in Arrowhead.
BREAKING: Charles was carted off the field with a sprained foot during monday practice. The Chiefs HC, Andy Reid said the X-Rays were negative.
Fozzy Whitakker (San Diego Chargers): #34 / Depth Chart: 4th stringer & KR #3
One of the most loved Longhorns around BON (right Peter?), Fozzy will fight for a roster spot with the Chargers. Not an easy goal though. He would have to excel on Special Teams to make the roster on a team with Ryan Matthews, Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead at the RB position.
It looks like he will have the chance to shine in preseason as he was the RB with more carries in the first Chargers preseason game vs the Seahawks. He totaled 38 yards in 14 carries, with a longest run of 13. He didn't record any return stat though. He is listed in the official Depth Chart as 4th stringer along with rookies Edwin Baker and Michael Hill.
The 2009 7th rd Draft pick is in his 4th season in the League. His hard work and consistence has paid off and against all the odds he has a place in the pros. His ability to block and receive out of the backfield makes him the dream situational back ideal for 3rd down situations.
The Browns haven't released any official Depth Chart yet, but it looks like he will keep his spot in the final 53 man roster. ESPN has him listed as the FB#1 on the team. He ran for 4 yards in his only rush last Thursday vs the Rams and got a reception for a gain of 3 yds.
His speed and athleticism made him worthy of a 3rd round Draft pick last April. The Bills have in Goodwin one of the faster players on their hands and his new HC Doug Marrone is willing to use him unlike Bryan Harsin did the last couple of seasons.
In his first appareance with the Bills Goodwin showed the world how dangerous he can be scoring a 107 yards TD in a Kickoff return and averaging 80 yards in his only two KRs. He didnt catch a pass.
The older Shipley is in his 2nd season with the Jags and his 4th year in the League. He hasn't been able to shine because of the injuries that also kept him off the field in his early years in Austin.Without a doubt Shipley has great hands and is a disciplined route runner, and if healthy could be an amazing contributor to any team. Even so, he will have to fight for a roster spot.
In the first preseason game vs the Dolphins he caught a pass for 18 yards and had a 22 yard punt return, something that will help him finally find a spot on the final Depth Chart. With Justin Blackmon as the main WR, Shipley will fight with Cecil Shorts, Muhammed Massaquoi and Ace Sanders (this year's 4th rd pick and a great returner) for a spot on the team. The QB situation in Jacksonville is not ideal with Henne pushing Gabbert for the starting position.
Jermichael Finley (Green Bay Packers): #88 / Depth Chart TE #1
Finley is already at the top of his position rankings, but he has the chance to be great. The only thing holding him back is between his ears. Finley had his best season in 2011 when he caught 55 passes for 767 yards and 8 TDs. Lined as a WR he is a mismatched for every CB and he has Aaron Rodgers to take advantage of his situation. He recorded one reception for 7 yards last Thursday during Packers preseason opener against the Cardinals.
Important clarification on the OLs: I am not an expert on X's and O's (I am far away of being a Longhorn Scott) and as you can imagine I haven't seen all the games, so the write up on the OL will be limited to information about their status on their respective teams.
Tony Hills (Buffalo Bills): #76 / Depth Chart: RT #3
Now in his 6th year in the League, Hills will have to fight to make the final cut and find a roster spot. The OT, an important player on the 2005 Longhorns National Champion Team, is now on his 4th team in many years after spending his first 3 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, team who drafted him in the 4th rd of the 2009 NFL Draft.
David Snow (Buffalo Bills): #61 / Depth Chart: OC #2
Snow signed last year as an UDFA and played 5 games with 2 starts at Center in weeks 12 and 13. Snow spent all of his career at Texas moving from Guard to Center, which can help him. He will have to battle for the backup position with the rookie out of Pittsburgh Ryan Turnley who like Snow went undrafted. The starter is Eric Wood who was picked by the Bills in the first round (28 overall pick) in the 2009 NFL Draft.
After spending his first 5 years as a pro with the Texans, Studdard, well known for being one of the meanest players ever to wear a Burnt Orange jersey, is now with the Titans. He hasn't played a Regular Season game since 2010, his presence limited to preseason games.
Scott started 5 games last year in his first season as a Bear. It's not a secret that the Chicago Bears OL is awful, which is why they signed the 2012 Pro Bowler from the Saints, Jermon Bushrod who will be in charge of protecting Jay Cutler's blind side. Bushrod hasnt missed a game since 2009, so his durability is proven.
Behind Scott in the Depth Chart is the UDFA rookie AJ Lindemann out of Toledo who will push hard against Scott for the backup spot. Lindemann is a natural from Chicago and his childhood dream has always been to play for the Bears. Watch out Jonathan.
Surely the best OL out of Texas who is currently in the league. Blalock, who was picked by the Falcons in the 2 rd of the 2007 NFL Draft, has been the starter at LG for them since his rookie season only missing two games in that span.
Another member of the OL who won the 2005 National Championship Game. Despite of going undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, Sendlein has started every game for the Cards since 2008 until last year when he tore his MCL and was listed on the IR.
The official Arizona Cardinals website lists him as the OC starter, but the truth is that he has not recovered from his injury and the Cards have signed two UDFA to compete for his spot. He didn't play against the Packers in the first week of the Preseason.
The (in my opinion) underachiever while at Texas, is now starting his second season as a Dolphin. He wasn't an important asset for his team last year, but all the reports are saying that Randall is having a great Trainning Camp and he has recorded 8 total tackles in his first two preseason games.
He has a guaranteed spot on the team, the starting position is less certain, because he is competing with seven year veteran Paul Soliai who played in the ProBowl last year.
The 11 year veteran is now in his second season with the Colts and he is listed as the LDE starter. He started 14 games for IND last year recording two sacks and 22 tackles. In the first game of the 2013 preseason Redding made 0.5 tackles in the Colts win over the Buffalo Bills.
Roy Miller (Jacksonville Jaguars): #97 / Depth Chart: RDT #1
The former Buccaneer signed a free agent contract with the Jaguars for the next 2 seasons. He became a solid contributor for Tampa Bay, starting 14 games last year. He started in the PS week 1 game vs the Dolphins but he didn't record any stats. Miller will join former first round pick Aulualu in the Jaguars DL.
The former HS Running Back has made a name for himself in the NFL. He has started 44 games in his 3 years with the Raiders. He is in the spotlight to have a breakdout season right before becoming a free agent. If he is able to step up and improve his already good game, he will get a huge contract next year.
Brandon Moore (San Diego Chargers): #73 / Depth Chart: LDE #3
After only playing for one year at Texas, he decided to go pro instead of staying in college for his senior year. He went undrafted and finally signed with the Chargers. He is one of the players who will have to fight hard to even make a team roster. He could land on Practice Squad of some team. On Thursday, he played his first NFL game against the Seahawks, but he didn't record any stats.
Not an easy situation for Okam who is at the bottom of the DT Giants rotation. After 5 years in the league, the former 5th rd Draft pick has not found a spot in the league. He spent the last two years with the Bucs where he played 12 total games (6 starts). He then signed with the Giants after a tryout during the rookie minicamp. He had one assisted tackle in the first NYG preseason game vs the Steelers.
Shaun Rogers (New York Giants): #95 / Depth Chart: RDT #2
One of the three players ahead of Okam in the Giants' RDT Depth Chart. Rogers is back on the field after sitting out last season because of blood clots, for which the Giants placed him on the IR. He is fighting back to get the starting position. His main rival is Cullen Jenkins who just signed who just signed a free agent contract with the Giants. Rogers recorded two tackles in the NYG preseason opener.
Henry Melton (Chicago Bears): #69 / Depth Chart: DT #1
What a story. Melton scored 16 TDs in 2005 and 2006, season in which he played as a RB at Texas. In 2007 he switched to DE, and in 2008 became a starter on the line opposite Brian Orakpo. He was drafted by the Bears in the 4th round of the 2009 Draft. He had to sit out for his rookie season after being injured in a preseason game. In 2010 he became a contributor for the Bears defense. He has started 29 games in his last two years making the Pro Bowl in 2012 and becoming the star of the Chicago DL.
He played in the first preseason game and he suffered a concussion, for which he will be held out for a couple of weeks. He will not have any problem to returning by the start of the season.
After not being able to play consistently in his first 4 seasons in the NFL, 2011 was a breakout year for the Splendora HS product. Since that year he has started 31 games, missing only one in the last year. Robison started the Preseason opener but he didn't record any stats.
Derrick Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs): #56 / Depth Chart: RILB #1
The 2004 Dick Butkus and Bronko Nagurski winner is living a second youth with the Chiefs. After being selected with the 15th overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, Johnson didnt find his place playing as a OLB in the 4-3 defense. With the system change to the 3-4 and being moved to the ILB position he is playing the best football of his professional career. He is a clearly a starter for the Chiefs and is on his route to make the ProBowl for the third season in a row.
The younger Acho is now with the Eagles after being traded by the Browns in exchange of RB Dion Lewis. In his first season as a pro Acho was placed on the IR by the Browns after a leg injury for which he missed the whole season. Acho will compete to make the final roster. One of his competitors for an ILB spot is Casey Matthews who was injured on one of his knees and he will out for a couple of practices. Acho made two tackles in the preseason game that the Eagles played against the Patriots.
Muckelroy was signed by the Redskins last november to take the roster spot of Keenan Robinson who was placed on IR with a torn right pectoral muscle. Muckelroy has been favored of another Robinson injury which will keep the latter out for the season. Previously, the Longhorns leading tackler in 2008 and 2009 had been hurt by injures, having to miss the whole 2011 season when he played for the Bengals. The 4 year veteran recorded 3.5 tackles in the first Redskins preseason game.
Brian Orakpo (Washington Redskins): #98 / Depth Chart: OLB #1
Brian Orakpo is well known for being one of the best pass rushers in the League. Orakpo was a big loss for the Redskins when he had to be placed on the IR in the second game of last year's regular season. O'sack'po won the Bronko Nagurski while at Texas and he was drafted with the 13 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, after recording 22 sacks in his Longhorns career. He has already started to show his ability making a sack in the first preseason game against the Titans.
Keenan Robinson (Washington Redskins): #52 / IR
As I have already told, Robinson has been placed on the IR after suffering a tear in his right pectoral muscle during the first practice in the TC. Robinson had the same injury last year (left side) for which he missed the last 5 games of the season. He will be out for at least three months. This injury can hold him back in his battle to win the spot that London Fletcher, now 38, will leave when he decides to retire.
Sam Acho (Arizona Cardinals): #94 / Depth Chart: SLB #1
The older Acho is having a great a great career as a pro so far. He has added 70 tackles and 18 sacks in his two first years in the NFL, being one of the leaders in sacks with 13 in 2012. He has proven that he is a good fit for the 3-4 scheme playing at OLB as the Sam LB. His intelligence and hard work have made of him a great football player. He earned the starting position on the 8th game of his rookie season and he has started every game since.
Alex Okafor (Arizona Cardinals): #57 / Depth Chart: SLB #2
After the good results of the Acho experiment, the Cards drafted Okafor with the last year's Draft 103rd overall pick, exactly the same position they used to pick Sam Acho. As him, Okafor has played all his career as a DE in the Texas defense. He will be now used as an OLB in the 3-4 scheme, being lucky enough to have Acho as a mentor during his rookie season.
Aaron Williams (Buffalo Bills): #23 / Depth Chart: SS #1
The former CB is now the starting Bills Strong Safety. Some of the most recognized scouts claimed before the 2011 NFL Draft that the best position for Williams would be safety. The Bills used him as CB the last two seasons, and despite of earning one of the starter spot, the new staff wants him to be an important player moving him to SS. He is expected to contribute more. He made two tackles, one of them a huge hit, last Sunday in the first Buffalo Bills game.
Despite having all the tools to become a great DB, the truth is that Chyke Brown has never shown what the people expect of him, even at Texas. He played in every games last season for the Ravens, making 3 starts, two of them coming in the POs (Denver and New England). He was lucky enough to win the Super Bowl on his second year as a pro. In two years he hasnt made an INT.
Michael Huff (Baltimore Ravens): #29 / Depth Chart: FS #1
After 7 years in Oakland, Huff left the Raiders to sign with the Ravens, where he will be asked to fill the shoes of Ed Reed who is now with the Texans. The 2005 Jim Thorpe winner was a consistent starter for the Raiders making 11 INTs since he was drafted with the 7th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft. Huff played last year mostly at CB. He was released by the Raiders in march this year.
Curtis Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers): #31 / Depth Chart: LCB #2
Similar situation to Chykie's. He is in his 2nd year with the Steelers without starting a single game or making an INT. The Steelers secondary is far to be great. Curtis Brown was rated with 5 stars by rivals before choosing to attend Texas. He was a solid player for the Longhorns but he didnt live with the expectations making only 2 INTs in his college career, one of them returned for a TD. Brown is behind Cortez Allen in the official depth chart, who was drafted one round later than Brown in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Michael Griffin (Tennessee Titans): #33 / Depth Chart: FS #1
Griffin hasn't missed a game in his 6 seasons in the NFL, starting 89 of 96 games. He has made a total of 21 interceptions, 4 of them last year. He signed a 5 year contract last june to continue playing for the Titans, team who drafted him with the 13 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft.
The Quandre Diggs older brother is in his 12th year as a pro. Now with the Broncos after spending 11 years with the Chargers where he started almost every game since 2003. He will join Peyton Manning, who, curiously, is the only QB who he has returned for a TD an INT. Jammer, who is 34 now, is listed as FS. His versatility and experience will play in his favour to be able to find a roster spot.
Aaron Ross (New York Giants): #31 / Depth Chart: RCB #2
The two times Super Bowl winner goes back to the Big Apple after a short stint with the Jaguars. The Jags finished 2-14 last season, far from what Ross was used to in New York. He had his best season on 2011 when he had a career high of 4 INTs and 60 combined tackles. Now he is behind Amukamara and Corey Webster at the CB rotation. He did not start on the first Giants preseason game against the Steelers.
The last member of the well known DBU, drafted in the first round of last year NFL Draft. Vaccaro shined as a Longhorns since his first year in the 40 Acres thank to his physicality, something important to contribute with the pros as a rookie. He recorded 6 combined tackles on his debut in the NFL, some of the in Special Teams. He is now listed as 3rd stringer, but with time he will become an important piece in the Saints defense.
Tarrell Brown (San Francisco 49ers): #25 / Depth Chart: RCB #1
The 7 year veteran is now a solid starter for the 49ers after earning the spot in 2011, he hasn't missed a segular season game, starting all the 32 RS games since. Unfortunately, he was injured during the NFC Championship Game last year by one of his own team mates and he had to sat out for the Super Bowl. He is now fully recover and has already started the first 49ers preseason game.
Earl Thomas only needed a couple of games to show the world what he is able to do in a football field. Something we enjoyed during his two seasons as a the Texas Longhorn. He is one of the main reasons for what the expert consider the Seahawks secondary as one of the best in the league. Thomas has been named All-Pro and played in the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. Thomas declared himself eligible for the Draft as a redshirted sophomore year and time has proven he was ready enough to do it. He has started all the games of his career and if he can stay healthy he will be remembered as one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game.
Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens): #9 / Depth Chart: K #1
We all knew Tucker was clutch. He will be always remembered for being the one who sealed the victory over the Aggies with that winning FG in 2011. He didn't wait too long to make something bigger. He earned the PK position during preseason last year and kicked 30 of his 33 FGs attemps. He made 3 game winning field goals, including one in the Divisional Game in double overtime, to send the Ravens to the AFC Championship Game. He won the SB as a rookie.
Phil Dawson (San Francisco 49ers): #9 / Depth Chart: K #1
Dawson is in his 15th season in the NFL, which make him the most veteran Longhorn in the league. This year he is with the 49ers after 14 season in Cleveland. He had his best season last year when he was elected to play the Pro Bowl for first time in his career. He made 2 of his 3 attempts in the first 49ers preseason game.
Cullen Loeffler (Minnesota Vikings) #46 / Depth Chart: LS #1
Loeffler has been the long snapper for the Minnesota Vikings since 2004, only missing 5 games of the 2011 season for a bone fracture in his lower back.
- Bonus Track (Transfers):
GJ Kinne (Philadelphia Eagles): #4 / Depth Chart: QB #4
Dan Buckner (Arizona Cardinals): #85 / Depth Chart: WR #4