By Ryan Suppe
It’s week one of the NFL season, which means rosters are finalized. Teams have slowly trimmed their rosters from 90, so they could meet the requirement of 53. For some Nevada alumni this didn’t matter much, but for others it could cut their NFL careers short for now.
Virgil Green and Colin Kaepernick have solidified their spots in the NFL as everyday players, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way forever.
Green hasn’t been a consistent success and hasn’t been a regular starter since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2011. He’s been praised mostly for his versatility (he can basically play any position on offense except quarterback), but his receiving and blocking have been shaky so he split time at tight end. Things are looking up for him, however. He recently signed a three-year $8.4 million contract with the Broncos, and the team got rid of his main competition at tight end, Julius Thomas. The Broncos have proven they have faith in him and have invested in his future. Look for Green on SportsCenter catching TDs from Peyton Manning and consider taking him in your fantasy draft.
Kaepernick is a different story. He’s already seen the spotlight and has been considered a star, but his stock has decreased recently. The Washington Post said he could be headed down the same path as Robert Griffin III, meaning the 49ers want him to be more of a pocket passer and that’s not where he makes his money. Kaepernick was second in the NFL last season in rushing yards for a quarterback behind Seattle’s Russell Wilson. When Washington tried to change Griffin’s mojo, it led him straight to the bench. For now, Kaepernick’s future is questionable, but his future is a lot better than some other former Wolf Pack players.
Quarterback Cody Fajardo, linebacker Brock Hekking and offensive lineman Chris Barker did not make the final roster of their teams. Don’t fret though; they aren’t ready to hang up the mouth guards and girdles yet. There’s still hope for them.
Fajardo, one of the most successful quarterbacks in Nevada history, was waived by the Oakland Raiders after being signed as an undrafted free agent. The good news is the Raiders are starting the season with just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster and “could potentially bring back recently released Cody Fajardo to the practice squad,” according to USA Today.
Hekking signed with the San Diego Chargers this summer, but his season was cut short because of a foot injury. On Monday, he tweeted a picture of his X-ray, post-surgery, with two screws in his foot. The caption read, “See yall next season!”
Barker signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013, but was released by the Patriots for the second year in a row. He should remain on the practice squad.
While some Nevada alumni are prospering in the pros and others are just unlucky (what kind of team only has two quarterbacks on their roster?!), the important things to remember are we went 13-1 in 2010 and the 2015 team is currently undefeated.
Ryan Suppe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @salsuppe.