Football is here! NFL teams have started practicing and soon each team will decide which new players make the team, and which ones get cut. While the only NIU player drafted was wide receiver Da'ron Brown(7th round, 233rd overall), four other rookies made their way into NFL camps as UDFA's. They will be battling for a spot of their own. Here is who they are and what is standing in their way of making the cut.
Cameron Stingily, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Stingily made his own path into Pittsburg's training camp with an impressive performance at the Steelers rookie mini-camp. Stingily was one of only two rookies out of 57 to be signed.
Steelers RB situation (5):
#1) Le'Veon Bell. Easily one of the top all around backs in the league, Bell will be a work horse.
#2) DeAngelo Williams. The veteran was their top free agent signing this off-season and the clear back-up to Bell.
#3) Dri Archer(Kent St. 2014). Third round picks with 4.2 forty speed get every chance to stick with the club.
#4-#5) Josh Harris(Wake Forest 2014), Cameron Stingily and Ross Scheuerman(Lafayette)
Harris is a former UDFA from 2014 and a practice squad member. He spent time with the team at the end of last season. Scheuerman was signed as an UDFA and is most likely the guy Stingily will have to beat out if Pittsburgh goes with five backs.
Why Stingily will -
Size. Scheuerman and Harris weigh in at around 205 lbs. each. Archer is scant 173 lbs. while Williams is 217 pounds. Stingily's 235 lbs is a dimension the others don't have.
Why Stingily won't -
Too slow. 4.85 in the forty is a hard sell. Even if Stingily was a fullback. Also, not a natural runner who needs to adjust his form.
Tyler Loos, OL, Cleveland
Loos announced his retirement from football in early July. He faced a career full of leg injuries at NIU and it sounds like he's moving on from the game.
Tim Semisch, TE, Miami Dolphins
Semisch got the Dolphins attention at Miami's rookie mini camp. Being 6'8" tends to draw looks your way. But Semisch also showed good hands and decent athleticism that earned him a training camp invite.
Dolphins TE situation (3):
#1) Jordan Cameron. So much up side that even his injury history won't stop Cameron from being the main target here.
#2) Dion Sims. Sims was a fourth round pick out of Michigan State in 2013. He has appeared in 29 games for the Dolphins with only moderate success. Miami is still high on him though.
#3) The last spot will come down to Arthur Lynch(Georgia) and Semisch. Lynch was a 5th round selection in last years draft but was put on injured reserve before seeing any action.
Why Semisch will -
Who wouldn't want a 6'8" target with good hands? Hello, red zone target. Plus, his competition is nothing special or has his height.
Why Semisch won't -
Lack of any receiving track record. Ten catches in total over his collegiant career. That says project, not roster spot.
Da'Ron Brown, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Brown was drafted in the 7th round by the Chiefs.
Chiefs WR situation (6):
#1) Jeremy Maclin. The free agent acquisition is the only real quality receiver on the roster.
#2) Albert Wilson. Wilson made strides last year and lead the team with a 16.3 yards per catch average.
#3) De'Anthony Thomas. The new Dexter Mcluster.
#4) Chris Conley. Third round pick out of Georgia who is highly thought of and has been impressive so far.
#5) Jason Avant. Solid veteran on a group of young players.
#6) Kenny Cook, Da'ron Brown, Frankie Hammond Jr and Junior Hemmingway.
Hammond and Hemmingway are former practice squad players. The real competition here is from Cook. He's overcome cancer early on to go from junior college to FCS Gardner-Webb to an NFL training camp. He's also 6'4" and has showed impressive skills and athleticism thus far. He's been drawing a lot of praise from onlookers.
Why Brown will -
Brown can flat out catch the ball. That's a wide receivers first and foremost job. There's always a roll for sure handed guys.
Why Brown won't -
Brown lacks several measurables and is very average in too many categories. Height, speed and quickness just aren't there. Things NFL teams like in their wide receivers.
If I had to pick one player in this group to stick, I'm going to pick Semisch. I know exactly what Stingily and Brown are. Very solid players, yet nothing special. While Semisch doesn't exactly have any highlight reel videos out there, he does have something the others don't, special size.
Whether he can convert that size into a viable NFL tight end is an unknown, but on the other hand, so is he. And in todays NFL, sometimes physical traits can garner you a roster spot as teams try to find special talent in the later rounds or free agent market.
Here's to all the former Huskies who are trying to make it to the NFL. Best of luck, men.