Football is back, and you don’t have to wait for the college season to start to see your favorite Heels on the gridiron. In the middle of the NFL offseason, I looked at the nine former players currently on NFL rosters and ranked them by their chances of making their respective rosters. This was a pretty wild undertaking, considering the fact that none of them had any full-speed NFL game experience. Now we’re in the middle of Week 1 of the preseason, and we’ve seen some UNC alums out there making plays. How has it affected their chances of making their rosters? Let’s find out.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears, 1st round (2nd overall) - 100% [Trending: UP]
Trubisky was already at 100%, obviously, but his performance Thursday night was so impressive that he’s still trending up. He’s doing enough to shift the conversation from “should he start” to “he should start.” One game is a small sample size to draw conclusions from, but here are the facts:
NC State alum Mike Glennon, who Trubisky is ostensibly supposed to be learning from, went two for eight, tossed a pick-six on his third attempt, and turned in a 0.0 QB rating. Trubisky completed his first ten passes, went 18 for 25 for 166 yards, and connected with Victor Cruz to find the end zone in his first NFL action.
Nazair Jones, Seattle Seahawks, 3rd round (102nd overall) - 99.9% [Trending: NEUTRAL]
Jones won’t see the field for the first time until Sunday evening, when his Seahawks face the Chargers. To get a feel for how he’s acclimating in Seattle, his local paper did a nice Q&A with him. It must be so hard living without sweet tea. We feel you, man.
Mack Hollins, Philadelphia Eagles, 4th round (118th overall) - 95% [Trending: UP]
Hollins hauled in four out of his five targets for 64 yards Thursday night against the Packers, including a touchdown grab from Carson Wentz. If you’re a receiver and you’re catching touchdown passes in the preseason from the starting quarterback, you’re probably going to make the roster. The Jordan Matthews trade is icing on the cake.
Ryan Switzer, Dallas Cowboys, 4th round (133rd overall) - 100% [Trending: UP]
How’s life for Ryan Switzer? Oh, Dez Bryant only said that he’d return “four or five” kicks for touchdowns in 2017. Your main competition in the return game got released. Even though you missed the Hall of Fame game with a hamstring injury (and will probably miss the next game as well despite being a full participant in practice), reading between the lines reveals something: you’re on the roster. Congrats, Switz.
T.J. Logan, Arizona Cardinals, 5th round (179th overall) - ERROR [Trending: ERROR]
Logan impressed in limited time during the Hall of Fame game. But a dislocated wrist suffered in the fourth quarter means he’s going to be on IR or the PUP list to start the season. Get well soon, man. For what it’s worth, he was taking first-team snaps in the return game, so I think they’ll save a spot on the roster for him.
Elijah Hood, Oakland Raiders, 7th round (242nd overall) - 75% [Trending: NEUTRAL]
Hood is also another player whose team hasn’t started preseason play quite yet. Again, we have another local paper doing another fine piece, this one on his quest to make the roster. He’s definitely one to pay very close attention to when he takes the field, which he will on Saturday night against the Cardinals.
Arizona Cardinals Pittsburgh Steelers, undrafted - 30% [Trending: DOWN]
A lot has changed for Crowley in the past month. He was waived by the team that originally signed him as a UDFA, and shortly thereafter he was picked up by the Steelers after they waived their backup center Mike Matthews due to injury.
The Steelers have a starter in Maurkice Pouncey, so Crowley will be fighting against B.J. Finney for the backup spot. That’s bad news for Crowley; per Pro Football Focus, Finney was the Steelers’ highest-rated backup on the O-line in 2016.
Des Lawrence, Detroit Lions, undrafted - 0% [Trending: DOWN]
The Lions won’t see the field until Sunday when they play the Colts (hold that thought for the next player on this list). When they do take the field, it will be without cornerback Des Lawrence, who was waived/injured earlier this week with an undisclosed injury. He went unclaimed, which means he goes to the Lions’ injured reserve list and they will retain his rights for the next season.
Bug Howard, Indianapolis Colts, undrafted - 65% [Trending: UP]
I’ll let someone a little bit more qualified than me do the talking here.
Call me crazy, but I don't think anyone's had a better week than Bug Howard. He's in the race at WR.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 8, 2017
The Colts do play Sunday. And even though Howard hasn’t seen any game action yet, I know two things. He definitely will see the field a lot on Sunday, and he’s already trending upwards.