clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Alum Recap: Which former Tar Heels made their roster?

Whether you want to follow rookies like Mitch Trubisky or vets like Julius Peppers, there’s plenty of Heels in the NFL to choose from.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers The Post-Crescent-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals: If you want to see T.J. Logan (2013-16) making plays, you’ll have to wait, unfortunately. Although he made the initial roster, he’ll likely be out another month or two as he recovers from a wrist injury he suffered in the Hall of Fame game, which derailed what was otherwise an impressive debut. Until then, defensive end Kareem Martin (2010-13) can tide you over. The Cardinals are one of six teams with two former Heels on the 53-man roster.

Baltimore Ravens: Offensive tackle James Hurst (2010-13) made the Ravens roster in 2014 as an undrafted free agent and has played in all 48 of their games since. While he hasn’t started every one of those games, he plays a key role in the rotation and on special teams.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills are another one of those teams with two Heels on the roster, and they’re a pair of players who had some amazing moments during their time in Chapel Hill. T.J. Yates (2007-10) is out of concussion protocol and is the Bills’ backup quarterback, and in Buffalo he’s with former target Brandon Tate (2005-08). This is T.J.’s first year in Buffalo, and Tate’s second.

Carolina Panthers: If you haven’t already hopped on the Julius Peppers (1999-2001) homecoming train, why are you here?

Chicago Bears: The status of quarterback Mitch Trubisky (2013-16) is currently unclear. Former NCSU QB Mike Glennon was named the starter despite an unimpressive preseason, and Mark Sanchez is the other QB on the Bears’ roster. Trubisky will likely see the field this season, but it might take some time as he develops. Until Trubisky gets some real NFL action, enjoy the fact that Connor Barth (2004-07) beat out former FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo in the Bears’ kicking competition.

Cincinnati Bengals: His fateful punt return against NC State was probably the loudest Kenan Memorial Stadium has ever been, and Giovani Bernard (2010-12) is still making plays for the Bengals. Helping make those holes for him to use his explosive burst is another former Heel, Russell Bodine (2011-13), who has started all 48 games at center since the team took him in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL draft.

Dallas Cowboys: The first time Ryan Switzer (2013-16) gets his hands on the ball for the Cowboys will be a great moment for both Cowboys fans and Tar Heel fans alike. An under-the-radar story, however, is how offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper (2008-12) has found a home in Dallas after an injury derailed his time in Arizona, where he had been taken with the 7th overall pick.

Detroit Lions: Undrafted rookie cornerback Des Lawrence (2013-16) is on the injured reserve and is redshirting for the Lions this season. Detroit does have a former Tar Heel on their roster in Eric Ebron (2011-13), who serves as their premier tight end.

Indianapolis Colts: Despite having a solid training camp and preseason with the Colts, Bug Howard (2013-16) was cut and has yet to be named to the Colts practice squad, or any practice squad for that matter. Some fans are making noise for him to join his former quarterback in Chicago, but until then, it’s clear how Bug feels about getting cut:

Here’s hoping he finds a team soon.

Los Angeles Chargers: After being cut by the Panthers this offseason, safety Tre Boston (2010-13) will try to prove that Carolina made a mistake in letting him go. So far so good, as he was recently named a starter at free safety. (Speaking as a Panthers fan, and looking at the safeties currently on our roster, I think it’s clear we made a mistake. We’re sorry, Tre! Come back!)

Los Angeles Rams: One of the highest-profile Tar Heels in the NFL, defensive end Robert Quinn (2008-09) is a cornerstone of the Rams’ defense, which is one of the only things Rams fans have to be optimistic about.

New York Jets: A former defensive star for the Heels, Bruce Carter (2007-10) was recently signed back onto the Jets’ 53-man roster after initially missing the cut. This is his second year in New York, having played in 13 games last year and recording 12 tackles.

Oakland Raiders: Although he just missed making the cut, running back Elijah Hood (2014-16) showed enough in his preseason with the Raiders to make the practice squad with the team. If Marshawn Lynch or any of the other players in the Raiders’ backfield go down with an injury, look for Hood to get promoted to the active roster.

Philadelphia Eagles: Wide receiver Mack Hollins (2013-16) made one of the best plays of the entire preseason when he stiff-armed two poor Green Bay defenders on his way to the end zone. Now that the results actually matter, plays like that will be a bit harder to come by, but he certainly showed that he can be a star in this Eagles offense.

Seattle Seahawks: After Mitch Trubisky went off the board, defensive tackle Nazair Jones (2013-16) was the next Heel to go. He joins a strong Seattle defense that has a good chance of winning the NFC West and making another deep playoff run.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans are the final of the six teams with two Heels on the roster, and they both play defense in Nashville. Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams (2011-12) signed a three-year contract with Tennessee this summer, and defensive back Da’Norris Searcy (2007-10) is entering his third year in Tennessee.

Washington Redskins: Washington made a trade that sent cornerback Dashaun Phillips to the Pittsburgh Steelers for center Lucas Crowley (2013-16), however, they ultimately cut their new acquisition. That said, linebacker Zach Brown (2008-11) is still in Washington, a year after his Pro Bowl season in Buffalo.