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Former Sooners in the NFL: A look at ex-OU players on NFL rosters and those who didn't make the cut

by Michael Baldwin Published: August 30, 2014
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FB Trey Millard (San Francisco): A seventh-round draft pick, Millard was placed on the injured reserve list, still working his way back from a knee injury he suffered while in college.

RB DeMarco Murray (Dallas): Injuries have always been the key variable. Murray played in 14 games last season to rush for a career high 1,121 yards and seven touchdowns. He also compiled 53 receptions to develop into a two-way threat. He’s missed eight games his first three seasons, but when healthy he’s rushed for 2,681 yards.

LB Corey Nelson (Denver): A seventh-round pick, Nelson seized an opportunity when injuries mounted in camp and made the Broncos’ 53-man roster as a weakside linebacker who will also play a key role on special teams.

RB Adrian Peterson (Minnesota): After becoming the 28th running back in NFL history to reach 10,000 career yards rushing, Peterson this season can move into the top 15 all-time, leapfrogging names like John Riggins and O.J. Simpson. Entering his eighth season, Peterson rushed for 1,266 yards in 14 games last season.

WR Jalen Saunders (NY Jets): The fourth-round pick is one of three receivers the Jets drafted, all fighting for roster spots in addition to several young receivers invited to camp.

OT Donald Stephenson (Kansas City): After serving as a backup his first two seasons, Stephenson inherited the starting right tackle job but then was given a suspension for failing the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In his two seasons in his hometown, Stephenson has appeared in all 32 games with the Chiefs, including 14 starts.

WR Kenny Stills (New Orleans): A fifth-round pick, Stills was a steal. A big-play threat, Stills hauled in 32 catches his rookie season. His 20.0 yards-per-catch average led the NFL. After a solid debut, Stills is in the starting lineup opposite veteran Marques Colston. No longer limited to third-down snaps, Stills could have a breakout season.

P Tress Way (Washington): After being cut by the Bears, Way hooked up with Washington and won its punting job, for now. In the preseason, he had an impressive showing with four punts for a 45.3-yard average and a 43.3-yard net over the final two preseason games.

RB Damien Williams (Miami): The rookie earned the No. 3 spot on the depth chart behind Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller, beating out veteran Daniel Thomas, the K-State product whose career is now in limbo.

OT Trent Williams (Washington): The fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Williams is entrenched as the Redskins starting left tackle after developing into one of the best “blind side” blockers in the NFL. Selected to the Pro Bowl, Williams has started 55 games for the Redskins, including all 32 games the past two seasons.

OU players who were cut

WR Lacolton Bester (Houston): Among eight receivers battling for five roster spots, Bester recorded only one reception in preseason but a strong camp showing could land him a spot on the practice squad after he was one of the Texans final cuts.

OT Cory Brandon (Arizona): In his fourth season, with his third team, Brandon was on the Bears’ practice squad two years ago and was briefly activated without appearing in a game. He signed with the Cardinals and hopes to be re-signed to the practice squad.

RB Brennan Clay (Denver): The unrestricted free agent caused a stir in camp with his trash talking and all-out, physical style but was cut. It was a tough roster to crack with Monte Ball entrenched as the starter backed up by Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson.

LB Keenan Clayton (Arizona): Originally a fourth-round pick by Philadelphia, Clayton compiled 48 career tackles in 36 games in three seasons with the Eagles and Raiders. He wasn’t on an active NFL roster last season but was trying to revive his career with the Cardinals.

RB Roy Finch (New England): After an up-and-down career with the Sooners, Finch had a strong training camp. He didn’t make the final roster but has a good shot to be re-signed to the Patriots practice squad.

CB Jamell Fleming (Jacksonville): In his second season with the Jaguars, after two seasons with the Cardinals, Fleming faced stiff competition for one of the final two backup cornerback vacancies and wasn’t beaten out for the final vacancy.

CB Dominique Franks (Baltimore): He played in only 13 defensive snaps last season with the Falcons, but because of injuries he seized an opportunity in his first Ravens training camp. With cornerback Aaron Ross out for the season the Ravens’ depth has taken a hit. He was cut but the former fifth-round pick could resurface with the Ravens.

C Gabe Ikard (Tennessee): An undrafted free agent, the McGuinness product was competing for a shot on the 53-man roster but was waived after suffering a knee injury.

OT Bronson Irwin (Houston): The undrafted rookie signed late in the summer with the Texans and lasted until the final cut on Saturday which could be a sign the Mustang product will be re-signed to the Texans’ practice squad on Sunday.

DE David King (Cincinnati): He spent part of last season on the Bengals’ practice squad, which puts him back in the competition for a roster spot but once again failed to make the 53-man roster. Another season on the practice squad would allow him to stay in the mix if he’s resigned by the Bengals on Sunday.

WR Jaz Reynolds (Tennessee): An undrafted free agent, Reynolds is one of a dozen receivers in camp. He was a long shot to grab one of the five or six receiver spots but is still hoping to land a practice roster spot.

DT Casey Walker (Carolina): An undrafted free agent, Walker spent most of last seasons on the Panthers’ practice squad. He was cut on Saturday but once again should land a spot on the practice squad, hoping to eventually join former OU teammate Frank Alexander in the Panthers’ D-line rotation.

by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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