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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Football

Alumni fighting for spots in NFL


Alumnus Nick Thurman is UH’s best hope to have a 2017-18 graduate make it onto an NFL roster in 2018. | File Photo/ The Cougar

Going into the 2018-19 season, six players from the 2017-18 UH football team are on an  NFL roster.

But preseason rosters start at 90 men and are whittled down to 53 before the season starts, so it is a long, hard journey to make it.

The Cougar analyzed which alumni are playing well and which are in the hot seat.

Linebacker Matthew Adams

Linebacker Matthew Adams was the only player from UH that got drafted this year, and he was picked in the seventh round to the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 221 pick in the draft.

A positive for Adams is that the linebacker position is an area of need for the Colts, who were No. 30 in yards allowed per game in the 2017-18 season.

The negative, however, is that two fellow rookies, Darius Leonard and Skai Moore, are ahead of Adams on the depth chart and have played many more snaps.

Adams recorded one assisted tackle in the one Colt’s game played so far, and he still has three games left to prove he deserves a roster spot.

Quarterback Kyle Allen

Quarterback Kyle Allen went undrafted and was signed by the Carolina Panthers.

Allen attempted one pass, which was incomplete, in the Panthers’ first preseason game and saw no action in the second preseason game.

Allen seems stuck in the fourth spot on the depth chart, which means he will probably be cut when the Panthers trims its roster down, though he might earn a spot on the practice squad.

Wide reciever Steven Dunbar

In the 49ers’ first preseason game against the Cowboys, Steven Dunbar caught both passes thrown his way for 23 yards.

While Dunbar wasn’t force-fed the ball, it seems as though the 49ers are trying to spread the ball around, as no receiver saw more than five targets in the game.

Unfortunately, Dunbar followed that game with no catches in the second game against the Texans.

However, if Dunbar can develop a rapport with the quarterbacks, then there is a solid chance that the receiver can stick around on the main roster or practice squad.

Linebacker D’Juan Hines

D’Juan Hines recorded one solo tackle in the Los Angeles Chargers’ preseason debut against the Cardinals and then assisted on a tackle against the Seahawks.

While it wasn’t a stellar start to his career, Hines is in a spot similar to Adams in that his team’s linebacker unit does not have any superstars.

If Hines can show that he belongs on the field with players like Joey Bosa, he can entrench himself on the linebacker depth chart.

Safety Terrell Williams

Terrell Williams recorded one assisted tackle against the Cowboys in an uninspiring debut with the 49ers.

Much like his offensive counterpart in Dunbar, Williams failed to gain any quantifiable stats in the second preseason game.

The undrafted safety will likely find himself relegated to the practice squad or out of the NFL entirely if he doesn’t pick things up.

Defensive end Nick Thurman

In arguably the best debut of a UH player this preseason, Nick Thurman recorded three solo tackles for the Houston Texans in their debut against the Chiefs and then followed that up with two more solo tackles against the 49ers.

No one will remove J.J. Watt from the starting defensive end spot, but Thurman can certainly compete to be depth behind Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, who have both had injury issues.

If Thurman can incorporate some quarterback knockdowns or sacks into his repertoire, he’ll solidify his spot on the roster and get to keep Houston emblazoned on his jersey.

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