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NFL 'Horns battling for position in preseason

A look at all the lifetime Longhorns who are trying to land roster spots this season.

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

This is the third season that I have written this series. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do researching and writing it. As most of you know, English is not my native language. I would like to thank mi amigo horndude, who proofreads it for me each week before I post it. I would like to also acknowledge BON contributing author Michael Pelech, with his fantastic piece, ‘Playing on Sundays', in the current 'Longhorns In The Huddle' magazine, which helped me in my research. I am using a new format this season, and adding a chart for each position, but the idea is still the same; striving to relay all the information about our beloved Longhorns in the NFL.


Name Team Depth Experience
#16 Colt McCoy Washington Redskins QB #3 6th year

Despite being the most consistent QB for the Redskins last season, Colt McCoy entered Training Camp as the third QB. He might have surpassed Kirk Cousins, as Colt was the first QB to come off the bench in the second preseason game. He led the team to two TDs in his three drives at the helm and it would have been three if not for a fumble on a snap exchange at the end of the second quarter.With RGIII's injury history and Kirk Cousins' inconsistency, I doubt Jay Gruden wants to keep only two QBs. My belief is that Colt's roster spot in D.C. is safe and he will get his chances during the season, as he did last year.


Name Team Depth Experience
#25 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs #1 RB 8th year
#43 Fozzy Whittaker Carolina Panthers #2 RB 4th year
#39 Malcolm Brown Saint Louis Rams #3 RB Rookie

No big story on Jamaal Charles as he is the star of the Kansas City Chiefs' offense. It looks like Fozzy Whittaker has found his place in Carolina as he is listed as the backup to Jonathan Stewart. Chris Ogbonnaya hung up his cleats.

Malcolm Brown went from being five-star recruit out of HS to an UDFA last year, and now he is trying to become the Rams’ third back behind Tre Mason and fellow rookie Todd Gurley. The Rams have a big stable of RBs, but Brown could have his chances as he has quickly surpassed Isaiah Pead, Trey Watts and Chase Reynolds.

Brown led the Rams in their preseason opener with 18 yards on only two carries and added a catch for seven yards. He also made big headlines after an amazing 54-yard effort that ended in a score after a few broken tackles against the Cowboys Titans in their second matchup of the preseason.


Name Team Depth Experience
#88 Marquise Goodwin Buffalo Bills #2 RWR 3th year
#16 Jaxon Shipley Arizona Cardinals #4 RWR Rookie
#82 John Chiles Chicago Bears #5 RWR 2nd year
#87 Geoff Swaim Dallas Cowboys #2 RTE Rookie
John Harris Atlanta Falcons
Mike Davis Free Agent

Marquise won the silver medal in the long-jump at the PanAmerican Games in Toronto. That doesn't mean he is giving up football, as he is battling to make the roster with the Bills after two unsuccessful seasons in Buffalo. He showed his athleticism on a bubble screen pass that he turned into a 28 -ard gain during the first preseason game last week (video).

Another Longhorn making his case is Jaxon Shipley. He is facing some serious competition in Arizona but he could land a spot on the final roster as a returner. He has accumulated 176 yards on five kickoff returns so far in the preseason with a longest of 56 yards last week (video). He also added a beautiful 21-yard catch against the Chiefs (video).

Seventh-round rookie Geoff Swaim is battling with former Sooner James Hanna to be Dallas' third TE on the roster. It seems like Swaim has the edge since he is having a good camp, per all the reports. He has even practiced with the first team offense on some two TE sets, along with Jason Witten (link). This past Sunday he grabbed four passes from the Cowboys' backup QBs to lead the team with 57 receiving yards.

After a run in the CFL, John Chiles signed with the Chicago Bears and is trying to make the roster. UDFA John Harris, who signed with the Eagles after the Draft, didn't last long in Philly, luckily he has been recently signed by the Falcons. Mike Davis hasn’t yet found a roster spot, after unsuccessful workouts with the Chiefs and Panthers (link).


Name Team Depth Experience
#75 Tony Hills Carolina Panthers #3 RT 8th year
#66 Trey Hopkins Cincinnati Bengals #2 LG 2nd year
#61 Donald Hawkins Miami Dolphins #2 RT 2nd year
#69 Michael Huey San Diego Chargers #3 C 2nd year
#63 Lyle Sendlein Arizona Cardinals #2 C 9th year

No Longhorn offensive lineman has been drafted since 2008, when Tony Hills was picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3rd round. He is still active but he is not in a good position to make the Panthers' final roster of 53.

Lyle Sendlein might have lost his starter status with the Cardinals to AQ Shipley, who was signed this offseason as a FA. Second-year players Trey Hopkins and Donald Hawkins will likely make the roster as backups. Michael Huey will not.

Texas lost their best OL in the NFL as Justin Blalock decided to retire at the end of last season, after eight years with the Atlanta Falcons.


Name Team Depth Experience
#58 Cedric Reed Buffalo Bills #3 RDE Rookie
#92 Malcom Brown New England Patriots #4 DT Rookie
#64 Chris Whaley Dallas Cowboys IR (Achilles) 2nd year
#99 Lamarr Houston Chicago Bears #2 ROLB 6th year
#96 Brian Robison Minnesota Vikings #1 LDE 9th year
#90 Henry Melton Tampa Bay Buccaneers #2 DT 7th year
#97 Roy Miller Jacksonville Jaguars #1 DT 7th year
#90 Cory Redding Arizona Cardinals #2 LDE 13th year

Big names here. The guy with the least chance to make a roster is UDFA Cedric Reed, given the depth the Bills have at DE. For the second year in a row, Chris Whaley will be on the Cowboys' roster listed as Injured Reserve, after he injured his Achilles during training camp.

First rounder Malcom Brown is listed as the 4th stringer on the Patriots' unofficial depth chart, but that is not completely accurate as he was the starter in the first preseason game. The Patriots have big hopes for him to be the man to replace legend Vince Wilfork.

The rest are locks to make the final rosters of their respective teams, including Lamarr Houston and Henry Melton, who are recovering nicely after season-ending injuries last year.


Name Team Depth Experience
#98 Brian Orakpo Tennessee Titans #1 ROLB 7th year
#53 Jackson Jeffcoat Washington Redskins #2 ROLB 2nd year
#49 Sam Acho Chicago Bears #2 LOLB 5th year
#57 Alex Okafor Arizona Cardinals #1 WLB 3rd year

Brian Orakpo signed with the Titans as a free agent and he will try to show everyone this season that he didn't lose a bit of his capabilites after a serious injury last year. Jackson Jeffcoat might benefit from Orakpo's departure as he will make the roster after flashing some late last season. He sacked Aggie Johnny Manziel last week (video). and had a sack again this week against the Lions.

Sam Acho also changed teams and is now in Chicago, where he shined in their first preseason game with an interception (video) and a sack (video). Alex Okafor looks set for a big season in Arizona after leading the team in sacks last year.


Name Team Depth Experience
#56 Derrick Johnson Kansas City Chiefs #1 RILB 11th year
#51 Emmanuel Acho Philadephia Eagles #4 RILB 4th year
#58 Jordan Hicks Philadelphia Eagles #4 LILB Rookie
#52 Keenan Robinson Washington Redskins #1 LILB 4th year
Steve Edmond Free Agent

The Eagles have a pair of former Longhorns battling between themselves for a spot on the roster. Jordan Hicks will get his place among the 53 since he was drafted this year. Emmanuel Acho's spot is not written in stone and he could be cut before the season starts.

Derrick Johnson will try prove people wrong who think he is too old to recover from an Achilles injury. Keenan Robinson will be the leader of the Redskins' defense after a breakout 2014.


Name Team Depth Experience
#9 Tarell Brown New England Patriots #2 RCB 9th year
#23 Aaron Williams Buffalo Bills #1 SS 5th year
#36 Curtis Brown New York Jets #5 RCB 5th year
#41 Aaron Ross Cleveland Browns #3 LCB 9th year
#33 Michael Griffin Tennessee Titans #1 FS 9th year
#31 Adrian Phillips San Diego Chargers #3 FS 2nd year
#39 Chykie Brown New York Giants #2 RCB 5th year
#33 Mykkele Thompson New York Giants IR Rookie
#36 Quandre Diggs Detroit Lions #2 Nickel Rookie
#37 Carrington Byndom Carolina Panthers #2 RCB 2nd year
#32 Kenny Vaccaro New Orleans Saints #1 SS 3rd year
#29 Earl Thomas Seattle Seahawks #1 FS 6th year

Mykkele Thompson was the surprise of the draft as he was picked by the Giants in the 5th round. Unfortunately he won't be able to show his ability after being injured in Training Camp and he will miss the entire season.

Veteran Aaron Ross was signed by the Cleveland Browns last week and he is trying to make it back to the NFL after two full seasons of injuries. Curtis Brown and Adrian Phillips are two guys with low chances of making a roster when the season starts.

The rest of the DBU alums will likely make it onto the final roster of their teams.


Name Team Depth Experience
#9 Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens #1 K 4th year
#9 Phil Dawson San Francisco 49ers #1 K 17th year
Cullen Loeffler Free Agent
13th year
Nate Boyer Free Agent Rookie

Justin Tucker and Phil Dawson are once again among the best of the business in the NFL. After many years as their LS, Cullen Loeffler has been let go by the Vikings.

Nate Boyer, who signed a free agent deal with the Seahawks, was able to beat the odds and play an NFL game during the preseason, but unfortunately was cut shortly after the game. Still, he has some inspiring words for you.