It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
The NCAA football season is upon us with the first full slate of games being played on September 2nd. That date looms large for many former ASU football players that are looking to make NFL rosters for the first time.
Or the 10th time.
Unlike previous years, NFL teams aren’t required to cut in stages, they can keep the entire squad until 4pm EST on Saturday when they are required to trim to the final 53-man roster.
A total of 22 former Arizona State footballers started the 2017 preseason hoping to realize their dreams and as of this writing, only three have been given their walking papers.
Earlier this year, defensive lineman Demetrius Cherry was waived in Oakland after spending the previous year on the practice squad.
Journeyman receiver and kick returner Rashad Ross found himself back in another training camp this summer, this time in Buffalo. The Bills would be Ross’ seventh team in four years, but he found himself released prior to playing in the final preseason game.
For those that have followed the Rudy-esque saga of safety Jordan Simone, this one hurt. The oft-injured Simone with more heart and desire than most was waived earlier this month from his beloved Seahawks after being knocked out in the team’s first game.
Rookie speedster, Tim White was shining for the Baltimore Ravens but suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason. White was sent to the Injured Reserve with the silver lining being that he will basically be red-shirting in preparation for the 2018 season.
Locks to Return
Currently, there are 12 NFL teams that have a Sun Devil on their roster, but who are the real locks to return?
Terrell Suggs – Outside Linebacker – BALTIMORE RAVENS
Suggs is heading into his 15th year with the Ravens and the elder statesman of the Ravens is not ready to ‘Gentle Into That Good Night’ just yet.
Vontaze Burfict – Outside Linebacker – CINCINNATI BENGALS
Yes, he will begin the 2017 season where he spends a little too much time – suspended, but hopefully the veteran entering his sixth season will eventually come to his senses and learn to play nice.
Damarious Randall – Cornerback – GREEN BAY PACKERS
The third-year cornerback is making quite a name for himself in the Packers’ secondary starting all three postseason games in 2016, racking up 12 tackles, 10 of them solo.
More Than Likely
There are no guarantees in like much like making an NFL roster but these guys will more than likely find themselves a confirmed spot on Saturday.
Brock Osweiler – Quarterback – CLEVELAND BROWNS
Much to-do has been given to the fact that Osweiler has been relegated to the bench on Cleveland of all places…behind a unproven rookie in DeShone Kizer. Who knows where Brock will be come opening day, but it’s safe to say that he will be on an NFL roster.
Jaelen Strong – Wide Receiver – HOUSTON TEXANS
Strong is entering his third season in the league with something to prove. He has been less than stellar in his first two seasons but with the injury to Will Fuller, this is Strong’s time to shine and cement his spot across from DeAndre Hopkins.
Shawn Lauvao – Offensive Guard – WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The veteran lineman has heard all the rumblings but he hasn’t let them affect them. He is still listed at the starting left guard on the Redskins’ website and he is looking to keep that spot, come hell or high water.
Lawrence Guy – Defensive End – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The do-it-all defensive stalwart has finally found himself a home in New England. After years of proving himself on various practice squads and even a stint on the IR, Guy is now a starter for the defending champion Patriots.
A Good Possibility
Carl Bradford – Middle Linebacker – BUFFALO BILLS
- Will Sutton – Defensive Tackle – MINNESOTA VIKINGS
- Robert Nelson, Jr. – Cornerback – HOUSTON TEXANS
- Christian Westerman – Offensive Guard – CINCINNATI BENGALS
- Jamil Douglas – Offensive Guard – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Fighting Tooth and Nail
- De’Chavon “Gump” Hayes – Cornerback – ARIZONA CARDINALS
- Marcus Hardison – Defensive End – CINCINNATI BENGALS
- Zane Gonzalez – Kicker – CLEVELAND BROWNS
- Matt Haack – Punter – MIAMI DOLPHINS
- Mike Bercovici- Quarterback – LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
- Devin Lucien – Wide Receiver – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
- DJ FOSTER – Running Back – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
On the day that Arizona State football returns to the gridiron in earnest, I wish all past, present and future Sun Devils the best of luck in the hopes that they will realize their dreams, be it in the league or elsewhere.