Thursday, July 24, 2014

A look at 22 UConn products in NFL camps

Former UConn stars Yawin Smallwood and Shamar Stephen trying
 to make it onto the active rosters of Atlanta and Minnesota
With NFL training camps upon us I thought it would be a good time to take a look at where the 22 former UConn products stand in their quest to be on the active rosters. In the for what it is worth department, ESPN had each of its NFL team bloggers predict the opening game rosters and of the 21 former Huskies on rosters at that point (Lawrence Wilson had yet to signed by St. Louis) 16 of them made the cut. For those wondering, Kashif Moore, Yawin Smallwood, Shamar Stephen, Nick Williams and Trevardo Williams were the players who did not make the projected rosters of their respective teams.
Will Beatty is back on field for the New York Giants

Will Beatty, OT New York Giants: Was cleared to practice earlier this week as he has returned sooner than expected from broken leg suffered in 2013 regular-season finale.
Tyvon Branch, S Oakland : Another former Husky looking to rebound after seeing 2013 season ended due to broken leg
Donald Brown, RB San Diego: Although he is in a crowded backfield, expectations are high for the former first-round pick in his first season with the Chargers
Darius Butler, DB Indianapolis: Has found a home with the Colts, his third NFL team. Posted a career-high 54 tackles and four interceptions last season.
Marcus Easley, WR Buffalo: Had his first two career regular-season catches last year but it was his work as the Bills' leader in special-teams tackle that has him in position to return for a fourth season
Dwayne Gratz, CB Jacksonville: Expectations are extremely high for the second-year cornerback who had 32 tackles and two interceptions in 10 games as a rookie
Ryan Griffin, TE Houston With Owen Daniels now with the Ravens, opportunity could be knocking for Griffin who had 14 catches in final three games of 2013 season.
Danny Lansanah, LB Tampa Bay: His appearance in 2013 regular-season finale against New Orleans was his first since 2008. He will likely need to contribute on special teams to make the team this season.
Robert McClain, DB Atlanta: One of the true success stories, McClain has 126 tackles and has 15 pass breakups over the last two seasons and he's found a home in Atlanta.
Kashif Moore, WR Pittsburgh: Moore faces an uphill climb to make the team after the Steelers signed Lance Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey and drafted Martavis Bryant.
Sio Moore, LB Oakland: After registering 50 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a rookie, Moore moves to the weakside outside linebacking spot and is being pushed by Miles Burris for the starting spot.

Dan Orlovsky, QB Detroit: After playing in three games over the last two seasons in Tampa Bay, he was signed to be Matt Stafford's backup in Detroit. He'll likely have to beat out Kellen Moore, who has been with the Lions for two seasons without appearing in a game, to be the No. 2 QB.
Kendall Reyes, DL San Diego: Reyes, heading into his third season, was second on the Chargers with five sacks last season.
Anthony Sherman, FB Kansas City: For the second year in a row Sherman will be asked to lead the way for Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles.
Yawin Smallwood, LB Atlanta: Like most seventh-round picks, it will not be easy for Smallwood to land on the opening day roster especially after the Falcons signed Tim Dobbins and Pat Angerer to help fill the void left by the injured Sean Weatherspoon.
Shamar Stephen, DT Minnesota: There has been nothing but positive reviews for Stephen, also taken in the seventh round in this year's draft. As is the case with Smallwood, Stephen is going to have to impress during training camp to put himself in position to make the squad.
Donald Thomas, OG Indianapolis: Thomas suffered a season-ending torn quad in the second game of the 2013 season but he was recently cleared to practice.
Jordan Todman, RB Jacksonville: With Maurice Jones-Drew now in Oakland Todman will be pushing Toby Gerhart for carries for the Jaguars.
Nick Williams, WR Washington: Williams made the Redskins as an undrafted rookie free agent but with Washington signing Desean Jackson and Andre Roberts and drafting Ryan Grant, he has his work cut out for him.
Trevardo Williams, LB Houston: The fourth-round pick in last year's draft hasn't had the chance to show what he can do. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve and is currently on the physically unable to perform list due to the knee injury. The fact that he wasn't cut seems to be an indication that new coach Bill O'Brien is willing to wait to see what Williams is capable of.
Lawrence Wilson, LB St. Louis: Signed earlier this week by the Rams, the much traveled Wilson will need to open eyes during training camp. Wilson has been with Carolina, Tennessee, New Orleans and Chicago but has yet to appear in a regular season game although he has recorded 21 tackles in 11 career preseason games.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB Tennessee: With Alterraun Verner headed off to Tampa Bay Wreh-Wilson is competing for a starting cornerback spot in his second season.


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