The wait is finally over. Welcome to the start of the NFL regular season.
It’s been all positive news this week for former ‘DBU’ alumni members and undrafted Texas Longhorns players from last season. As Quandre Diggs received a well-deserved brand new contract extension with the Detroit Lions and Earl Thomas has reported back to practice with the Seattle Seahawks. Three undrafted Longhorns — Chris Warren (injured-reserve), Poona Ford, and Holton Hill — made the 53-man rosters for their respective teams.
Check out which other Texas Exes made their 53-man rosters and the others who unfortunately came up short.
Hassan Ridgeway (DT-IND): After recording a solo tackle for a loss and making his presence felt as a run-stopper, Ridgeway posted another impressive Pro Football Focus game grade (87.9).
Hassan Ridgeway was once again a force up front for the Colts this week. pic.twitter.com/PinoeH9yiQ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 1, 2018
Malik Jefferson (LB-CIN): The rookie linebacker had his coming out party as a Cincinnati Bengal in their preseason finale. Jefferson totaled eight tackles (five solo) and had two impressive pass breakups covering receivers down the field.
Holton Hill (CB-MIN): The undrafted cornerback had himself a game to earn himself a spot on the Vikings 53-man roster. He recorded six tackles (five solo), had a 53-yard kick return and averaged 7.8 yards on four punt returns. Hill has shown versatility as a defensive back and explosiveness as a returner, giving the Vikings another option in the return game.
Credit to Hill for overcoming some difficult circumstances that he got himself into, leaving for the NFL early and working his way onto a Super Bowl contending team.
Tyrone Swoopes (TE): Swoopes was let go by the Seahawks after spending one season developing as a tight end.
Brian Robison (DE): After spending 11 seasons with the team that drafted him, appearing in at least 15 games every season, the Vikings chose youth over veteran leadership this time around and let go of Robison. While it’s still uncertain whether the 35-year old defensive end will retire or continue playing, his former teammate Everson Griffen thinks he will.
“If I know my dog, White Chocolate, he playing,” Griffen said Monday. “I think he’s going to play. He was looking good. He was playing good ball.”
Duke Thomas (CB): For the second straight season, Thomas was unable to make the Cowboys 53-man roster. With Dallas trading for cornerback Charvarius Ward and keeping cornerback Donovan Olumba on their practice squad, Thomas has been outright released.
Nick Rose (K): Rose was released by the Houston Texans after missing 1-of-3 field goal attempts and an extra point in the preseason.
Kent Perkins (OT-CIN)
The following players will be on an NFL team’s official roster to start the regular season.
D’Onta Foreman (RB-HOU): While still being cautious about Foreman returning from an Achilles injury, the Texans placed the second-year running back on the PUP list to start the season. Players placed on the PUP list may not practice or play for the first six weeks of the season. If the player returns to practice, the team has three weeks to decide whether to place him on the active roster or place him on the injured reserve list.
Chris Warren III (RB-OAK): After having a phenomenal preseason, it was announced Sunday that Warren will have to undergo a season-ending knee surgery. Warren had been playing through a lingering knee issue since July. He led all running backs with 292 rushing yards on 58 carries, which was plenty enough for the Raiders to stash him on the injured reserve list for 2018. This will give Warren the chance to recover nicely knowing he has a good chance to make their 53-man roster in 2019.
Marcus Johnson (WR-IND): The Seattle Seahawks traded Johnson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for tight end Darrell Daniels over the weekend. Johnson will be reunited with his former offensive coordinator and current Colts head coach, Frank Reich, who had some good things to say about the wide receiver.
“I really like Marcus. Marcus has really good traits,” Reich said. “He’s got good speed, he’s got good feet, he’s got good size. In a lot of ways, Marcus is a prototypical receiver in the NFL. I don’t think he’s had the right opportunity, but I think he’s got a chance at getting that here and we’ll see what he does.”
Behind No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton, the Colts have limited options at receiver with Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, and Zach Pascal. Johnson should emerge and fight for playing time right away.
Poona Ford (DT-SEA): Hard work paid off the big defensive tackle. After being snubbed from the NFL Combine and then again at the NFL Draft, Ford worked hard and had a quality preseason, leading him into making the Seattle Seahawks official team roster.
DeShon Elliott (S-BAL): The Ravens placed Elliott on the injured-reserve list over the weekend, with the fact that he fractured his forearm in week three of the preseason.
Quandre Diggs (SS-DET): Diggs agreed to a three-year, 20.4 million dollar extension with the Detroit Lions on Monday. A well-deserved contract for one of the hardest working players in the league. Keep in mind, Diggs converted over to the strong safety position with five regular season games remaining last season.
The 5’9 undersized defensive back has been doubted his whole life. The former sixth-round (No. 200 overall) draft pick has proved many people wrong and is now one of the league’s highest-paid safeties. Even with the new contract, Diggs’ mindset remains the same.
DB @qdiggs6 says extension won’t change him.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) September 3, 2018
“I’m always going to have motivation. I’m a 6th-round draft pick, so at the end of the day, 32 teams passed me up. I’m always going to have a chip on my shoulder and it isn’t going to be nothing different.”https://t.co/W4ZJ6TdfxA
New Lions head coach Matt Patricia said Quandre Diggs has taken “a leadership role” for the Lions since he got the job in February. Patricia also said, “he’s versatility at a high level at multiple positions makes him very valuable to the team.”
First of all I have to THANK GOD for ALL of the blessings! None of this would have been possible without HIM! Also want to thank the Ford family and the Lions organization for believing in me! Just a young kid with big dreams from Angleton, Tx! 800 West Live Oak you made me who I am! To my family thank you for everything, always believed in me and had my back through it all! I appreciate all the support from my friends and fans! It’s time to get the season started off right! -Nino
Earl Thomas (FS-SEA): The all-pro safety is set to end his holdout and report to the Seattle Seahawks practice on Wednesday. Thomas broke the news via his Instagram this morning and mentioned, “I’ve never let my teammates, city, or fans down as long as I’ve lived and don’t plan on starting this weekend.” He also added, “the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the Dallas Cowboys offered Seattle a second-round draft pick for Thomas. The offer was declined.
I worked my whole life for this..... I’ve never let me teammates, city or fans down as long as I’ve lived and don’t plan on starting this weekend. With that being said, the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten. Father Time may have an undefeated record but best believe I plan on taking him into triple overtime when it comes to my career.
Phil Dawson (K-ARI): 19 years of NFL kicking experience helped Dawson hold off rookie kicker Matthew McCrane for the starting kicking job in Arizona.
Colt McCoy (QB-WAS)
Malcolm Brown (RB-LAR)
Marquise Goodwin (WR-SF)
Geoff Swaim (TE-DAL)
Trey Hopkins (OG-CIN)
Connor Williams (OT-DAL)
Malcom Brown (DT-NE)
Hassan Ridgeway (DT-IND)
Alex Okafor (DE-NO)
Brian Orakpo (DE-TEN)
Jordan Hicks (LB-PHI)
Malik Jefferson (LB-CIN)
Derrick Johnson (LB-OAK)
Sam Acho (LB-CHI)
Holton Hill (CB-MIN)
Adrian Colbert (S-SF)
Adrian Phillips (SS-LAC)
Kenny Vaccaro (SS-TEN)
Michael Dickson (P-SEA)
Justin Tucker (K-BAL)
Regular Season Week 1 NFL Schedule
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons (Thurs. Sep. 6 7:20 p.m. CT NBC)
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans (Sun. Sep. 9 12:00 p.m. CT CBS)
Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers (Sun. Sep. 9 12:00 p.m. CT FOX)
Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Sun. Sep. 9 - 12:00 p.m. CT CBS)
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Sun. Sep. 9 - 12:00 p.m. CT CBS)
Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills (Sun. Sep. 9 - 12:00 p.m. CT CBS)
New York Giants vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Sun. Sep. 9 - 12:00 p.m. CT FOX)
Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans (Sun. Sep. 9 - 12:00 p.m. CT FOX)
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sun. Sep. 9 - 12:00 p.m. CT FOX)
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Sun. Sep. 9 - 3:05 p.m. CT CBS)
Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sun. Sep. 9 - 3:25 p.m. CT FOX)
Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sun. Sep. 9 - 3:25 p.m. CT FOX)
Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins (Sun. Sep. 9 - 3:25 p.m. CT FOX)
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (Sun. Sep. 9 - 7:20 p.m. CT NBC)
Detroit Lions vs. New York Jets (Mon. Sep. 10 - 6:10 p.m. CT ESPN)
Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Rams (Mon. Sep. 10 - 9:20 p.m. CT ESPN)