Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One last night to shine for some UConn products

The NFL preseason schedule comes to an end tomorrow when even team will be in action. It won't take very long for the teams to start announcing the tough decisions as the teams have to cut their rosters from 75 to the regular-season maximum of 53. While the majority of the former UConn players currently on NFL rosters are likely to make the final roster of their respective teams, there are some who will be fighting for their jobs tomorrow.

Here's a look at the 19 former Huskies in the NFL

Will Beatty, OT New York Giants: It has not been the easiest of preseasons for Beatty as he works his way back into shape following a horrible leg injury suffered in the 2013 regular-season finale but he is very much a part of the Giants' plans.
Tyvon Branch, S Oakland: Another player coming off a serious injury, Branch is looking to getting back to being one of the NFL's hardest-hitting safeties.
Donald Brown, RB San Diego: Brown isn't pushing for a roster spot as much as he is trying to prove he deserves a major workload in a crowded Chargers' offensive backfield.
Darius Butler, DB Indianapolis: By all accounts he's had a pretty solid camp and he figures to be a key member of the Indianapolis secondary.
Marcus Easley, WR Buffalo: Easley's calling card is not his work as a receiver but as one of the league's best special-teams players so look for his to stick around despite not recording a catch in the preseason.
Dwayne Gratz, CB Jacksonville: Gratz has been getting talked up as one of the rising young defensive stars on the Jaguars so look for him to remain in Jacksonville for quite some time.
Ryan Griffin, TE Houston: After being held without a catch in the first two preseason games Griffin erupted for 71 yards on five catches including a 31-yard touchdown pass. Despite a strong finish to his rookie season Griffin seems to have slid a bit down the Texans' depth chart but he should be on the roster.
Danny Lansanah, LB Tampa Bay: One of the great stories to emerge out of the Buccaneers camp. He played in five games with Green Bay in 2008 and did not appear in a regular-season game again until the final game of last season. Now is seemingly is going to be a regular contributor for the Buccaneers.
Robert McClain, DB Atlanta: He is being challenged for the slot as the top nickel corner for the Falcons but is more than holding his own as he seems set to play a third straight season with the Falcons.
Sio Moore, LB Oakland: Moore was fortunate that the neck injury he suffered in a preseason game at Green Bay wasn't more serious. I'm not sure if he'll play tomorrow or not but he factors into the Raiders' plans in a major way in his second season.
Dan Orlovsky, QB Detroit: He's making a strong bid to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Matthew Stafford as he has completed 29 of 46 passes for 316 yards in three preseason games.
Kendall Reyes, DE San Diego: One of the key players on a young San Diego defense he has had a quiet preseason with just three tackles but he's not going anywhere.
Anthony Sherman, FB Kansas City: One of the league's best fullbacks, Sherman will continue to be Jamaal Charles' lead blocker while catching the occasional pass out of the backfield.
Yawin Smallwood, LB Atlanta: After making three tackles in the first preseason game he has been very quiet in the last two games. I've heard very little about him during training camp which is usually not a good sign for a seventh-round pick like Smallwood.
Shamar Stephen, DL Minnesota: An injury to Linval Joseph opened up some playing time and the rookie seventh-round pick has certainly capitalized with 11 tackles in three games. With the rave reviews he has been drawing with his work in training camp, I'd have to think he'd be on the Vikings' active roster.
Jordan Todman, RB Jacksonville: His situation is one of the most interesting of all the former Huskies. The feeling was he was going to be the primary backup to Toby Gerhart but rushing 18 times for 26 yards in three preseason games is not the way to carve out a niche on a team. Don't see him being cut but a strong game tomorrow could help his cause.
Nick Williams, WR Washington: Normally catching touchdowns in back to back preseason games would be enough to earn a roster spot especially after being on the team a season ago. However, it remains to be seen if he gets caught up in a numbers' game at receiver in Washington. If he does get cut he could go on the practice squad but perhaps another team has seen enough to give him a spot on their 53-player roster.
Lawrence Wilson, LB Rams: Wilson has been bouncing around the league looking to find a home. He is coming off a pretty good effort with three tackles and a pass defensed but he could have some work to do to make the roster.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB Tennessee: With Alterraun Verner being signed by Tampa Bay there is a chance for Wreh-Wilson to become a full-time starter with the Titans. It sounds as if he is in an extremely close competition with Cody Sensabaugh and the worst-case scenario would seem to be having him be the nickel corner.


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