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Huskers in the NFL: Going into Week 1

Who’s on a roster, who’s off a roster, who’s starting and who’s riding the bench?

Detroit Lions v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For everybody who doesn’t pay attention to the NFL but care about the Huskers in the league here you go. Here’s the rundown of every former Husker who has participated in the NFL this preseason. For this first article I’m going to give a quick background on each player, but don’t worry as the season progresses these articles won’t be as long. I’m considering adding a section for non-Husker players from Nebraska. Let me know in the comments if this is something you guys would want. Also let me know how you would like me to sort the players. I can go by team, conference, division, position or offense and defense like I’m doing this time.

Former Husker Players


Ndamukong Suh DT - Los Angeles Rams: At the end of the 2017 season he was waived by the Miami Dolphins so they could free up some cap space. After visiting a few teams Suh decided to sign with the Rams. This year the Rams defense looks scary after acquiring Marcus Peters from the Chiefs and Aqib Talib from the Broncos. Suh didn’t play much, if any in the preseason because he’s such a key part to the Rams defense. Suh is coming off a 2017 campaign which included him having a combined 47 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Suh and the Rams will be facing the Rams on Monday Night Football on September 10, at 9:15 p.m..

Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB - Baltimore Ravens: Jean-Baptiste has jumped around the NFL quite a bit since coming into the league in 2014 when he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the second round. In the 2017 season Jean-Baptiste was signed to the Ravens practice squad and promoted to the active roster later in the season. During the Ravens final preseason game he broke his arm and was placed on IR. The Ravens kick off their season on Sunday, September 9, at noon against the Bills.

Randy Gregory DE - Dallas Cowboys: Gregory is coming back to the football field for the first time since 2016. He has been suspended for substance abuse and is finally making a comeback. Hopefully this time around he can get through the season without any off-the-field problems. The Cowboys play the Panthers on Sunday, September 9, at 3:25 p.m..

Nathan Gerry LB - Philadelphia Eagles: Gerry was drafted by the Eagles in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL draft. After a year under his belt playing linebacker, which many Husker fans argue he should’ve stayed at that position in college, he’s now a starting outside linebacker for the Eagles. Personally, I think Gerry could make a huge impact on the Eagles defense because of how aggressive he is. The Eagles kickoff their regular season on Thursday hosting the Falcons at 7:20 p.m..

Lavonte David LB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After another stellar year in 2017 David is entering his 7th season in the NFL, all of which have come with the Bucs. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL draft. David had 101 combined tackles in 2017 and 76 of them were solo. David is one of the best linebackers in the NFL, as a Chiefs fan I’ve wanted to try to trade for him for years. As he’s gotten older his stock has risen and it wouldn’t be worth it. I love the fit of David with the Bucs, but the team hasn’t played great for a while. David leads the Bucs defense against the Saints on Sunday, September 9, at noon.

Will Compton LB - Tennessee Titans: I’m not going to lie, I did not expect Compton to have as good of an NFL career as he’s had. He’s been in the NFL for five years, and he got signed by the Titans to a one year deal this past offseason. He’s been a Redskin for his whole career, so it will be nice to see if he can break out as a Titan. His career stats haven’t been mind-blowing, but it seems like he’s been a guy the defense can lean on if they need someone in that MLB position. The Titans kick off the season against the Dolphins on Sunday, September 9, at noon.

Maliek Collins DT - Dallas Cowboys: Collins suffered a foot injury that required surgery back in May. He’s slowly been working his way back into NFL shape and should be ready to play on Sunday. He didn’t play in the preseason at all, but he has been taken off the PUP list. Collins will be entering his third season and will hopefully be able to make an impact alongside Randy Gregory on the Cowboys defensive line. The Cowboys start their season on Sunday, September 9, at 3:25 p.m..

Prince Amukamara CB - Chicago Bears: After starting his career with the New York Giants Amukamara went to the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2015 season. He was there on a one-year deal. After the 2016 season the Bears picked him up in free agency and signed him to another one-year deal. After last season the Bears signed him to a three-year contract which will keep him in Chicago until after his 10th season in the NFL. Amukamara has started everywhere he’s played and tallied a total of 10 career interceptions. Again, as a Chiefs fan, Amukamara was somebody I really wanted to go after this past offseason. After adding Khalil Mack in a trade this past weekend the Bears defense is starting to come together, they kick off their season on Sunday Night Football against the Packers on September 9, at 7:20 p.m..


Ameer Abdullah RB - Detroit Lions: If you listen to the Five Hearts Podcast by our very own Greg Mehochko you might’ve heard me say Abdullah is my favorite Husker ever in his cross examination series. I could write so much about what has gone wrong with Abdullah on the Lions, but I’ll make it short and sweet because this article is already long enough as it is. Whenever one of the running backs on the Lions get into a little bit of rhythm they get taken out. Hopefully with Matt Patricia taking over as the Lions head coach that won’t happen. The Lions did sign veteran LeGarrette Blount in the offseason to help with the running game. After the preseason there were rumors the Lions were going to cut or trade Abdullah, but that hasn’t happened as of yet. I’m hoping the Lions let Abdullah cut it loose in their first game of the season on Monday Night Football against the Jets on September 10, at 6:10 p.m..

Rex Burkhead RB - New England Patriots: Burkhead is a part of the running back by-committee approach the Patriots have used for the past couple of seasons. He has proven to be an option in either the running or passing game. I know a lot of Husker fans who like NFL teams other than the Patriots were thrilled when they heard Burkhead injured Tom Brady’s hand in practice. The Patriots start their season on Sunday, September 9, against the Texans at noon.

Cethan Carter - FB (I know right?) Cincinnati Bengals: Carter is starting his second season in the NFL after going undrafted in the 2017 NFL draft. Sadly, Carter was placed on IR this past weekend. It’s actually really annoying to me that he went undrafted because the Bengals needed a tight end and picked somebody else in like the second-to-last pick. This would’ve extended the year of having two players drafted another year, but ultimately would’ve ended this year. That guy probably isn’t even on the team anymore. Apparently the Bengals didn’t want to use him as a tight end so they moved him to fullback. As we’ve seen him in a Husker uniform that man can truck people, so maybe it’s a good fit for him. What do I know? The Bengals start their season in week 1 against the Colts on Sunday, September 9, at noon.

Quincy Enunwa WR - New York Jets: I’m very excited to see how Enunwa delivers with Sam Darnold at the helm as the starting quarterback. Enunwa was going to have a productive season in 2017, but he was out for the whole year from a neck injury. Now that the Jets have a quarterback, he’s a rookie and I’m very skeptical, maybe we can see Enunwa light up the scoreboard. I drafted him in my fantasy league as my last pick, so I’m really rooting for him to have a breakout year. The Jets start their season against the Lions on Monday Night Football on September 10, at 6:10 p.m..

Nick Gates G - New York Giants: This is the first season for Gates after declaring early for the NFL draft. I’m not going to lie, I was surprised by the move, but I guess he knew what was best for him. I would’ve liked to see what Greg Austin could produce from him this season, but I guess we’ll never know. Gates went undrafted and was placed on IR this past weekend. The Giants play the Jaguars on Sunday, September 9, at noon.

Andy Janovich FB - Denver Broncos: As we all knew he would be, Janovich has been a stud in the NFL. He’s the starting fullback for the Broncos and has contributed on special teams as well. Janovich was named one of the captains for the 2018 season, representing the special teams. The Broncos start their season against the Seahawks on Sunday, September 9, at 3:25 p.m..

Alex Lewis G - Baltimore Ravens: Lewis was lost to a season ending injury in the 2017 season. This will be his third season with the Ravens after being drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL draft. Lewis will be a starter at one of the guard positions as the Ravens kick off their season against the Bills on Sunday, September 9, at noon.

Spencer Long C - New York Jets: Long was drafted by the Redskins in the third round of the 2014 NFL draft. Hopefully Long will help provide Darnold with enough time to get the ball out. The Jets offensive line has been horrid in the past few seasons, and this will be the first time Long will play for them. I’ve heard from a couple Jets fans that they’re hopeful he can bring some consistency to the offensive line this year. The Jets start their season against the Lions on Monday Night Football on September 10, at 6:10 p.m..

Brent Qvale T - New York Jets: Qvale is entering his 5th season in the NFL after being undrafted in 2014. Qvale is a backup offensive tackle who seems to be doing alright in that position. There hasn’t been much news on him lately as he was injured for a large part of last season. Hopefully Long and Qvale can protect Darnold so he can get the ball to Enunwa. The Jets start their season against the Lions on Monday Night Football on September 10, at 6:10 p.m..

Jeremiah Sirles G - Carolina Panthers: After going undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft Sirles signed with the Chargers and about a year later he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings. He’s played as a backup his whole career, but in this past offseason he signed with the Panthers. I’m not sure if he was projected to start, but I know he was placed on IR this weekend. The Panthers start kick off their season against the Cowboys on Sunday, September 9, at 3:25 p.m..

Matt Slauson G - Indianapolis Colts: Slauson has moved around the NFL a bit after being drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL draft. This past offseason he signed a one-year contract with the Colts. He should be starting this season as the Colts start their season against the Bengals on Sunday, September 9, at noon.

Zach Sterup T - Miami Dolphins: I was really disappointed when Sterup was cut from the Chiefs because of a substance abuse suspension. My former high school English teacher was telling me how much he could bench because his cousin knew Sterup in college or something like that. Nevertheless, Sterup is a behemoth on the offensive line and I would love to see him push for a starting role on the Dolphins this year. The Dolphins play the Titans in week 1 on Sunday, September 9, at noon.


Sam Koch P - Baltimore Ravens: Koch is the longest tenured Husker currently playing in the NFL, so congratulations to him for making it to his 13th season as the punter for the Ravens. His longest punt ever recorded was 74 yards and his average from the 2017 season was 44.8 yards. Koch will be punting against the Bills on Sunday, September 9, at noon.

Brett Maher PK - Dallas Cowboys: This one is a SHOCK to me. The Cowboys have had Dan Bailey since 2011. Maher has been in the CFL since 2014. I don’t know if anybody was expecting this decision to be made, but here we are. After being in the CFL for four seasons Maher was signed by the Cowboys for this season. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. The Cowboys play the Panthers on Sunday, September 9, at 3:25 p.m..

Notable Former Huskers on Practice Squads or Free Agents:

Vincent Valentine DT - New England Patriots Practice Squad: Valentine was cut from the final 53-man roster, but was signed to the Patriots practice squad.

Tanner Lee QB - Jacksonville Jaguars Practice Squad: Lee was cut from the final 53-man roster after some poor preseason performances.

Joshua Kalu CB - Tennessee Titans Practice Squad: I haven’t heard anything about Kalu in the NFL. If I hear anything I will update you guys.

Tyler Hoppes TE - Free Agent: Hoppes was one of the final players to get cut from the Vikings in their final roster moves to get down to 53. I haven’t heard anything about Hoppes getting onto a practice squad.

Luke McNitt FB - Free Agent: McNitt was waived a couple days ago by the Vikings and I haven't seen anything about him joining a practice squad.

Johnny Stanton FB (Yeah, now things are getting weird) Minnesota Vikings Practice Squad: After suffering from a leg injury during the preseason the Vikings signed Stanton to the practice squad.

Chris Jones CB - Free Agent: Jones was cut after having a strong preseason with the Lions. Hopefully he can make a practice squad somewhere and move up in the ranks.

Drew Brown PK - Free Agent: I don’t think Brown was ever given a chance in the NFL. I could be wrong, but I can’t find anything on him.

Kenny Bell WR - Free Agent: After jumping around the NFL, Bell signed a contract with the Broncos earlier this year and was waived in August.

De’Mornay Pierson-El WR - Free Agent: After going undrafted, Pierson-El was signed by the Redskins and released a month later.

Jack Gangwish NASCAR pit-stop crew member: I don’t know how many people know this, but I just wanted to include Gangwish in the one article because I think this is amazing.

Wow, it’s been a long article. I hope I covered everyone, but if I missed someone let me know and I will definitely include them in the next article next week after week one. From now on I’ll stick to players who played in their games, and of course I’ll update you guys on free agents, injuries and practice squad guys.