Final 53-man roster cuts were made by NFL teams this past weekend, as the preseason came to a close. A school-record 6 Georgia Southern Eagles made it onto NFL rosters, 3 vets and 3 rookies. That’s tied for tops in the Sun Belt.
Georgia Southern – 6
Appalachian State – 6
Arkansas State – 5
Coastal Carolina – 5
Idaho – 5
Troy – 4
Georgia State – 3
New Mexico St – 3
Texas State – 3
Louisiana – 2
South Alabama – 2
UL-Monroe – 1
There were that had great Fall Camps like Matt Breida and Younghoe Koo but also some disappointments, including surprise cuts, a couple of season ending injuries, and a trade. Antwione Williams getting cut by the Lions perhaps is the biggest stunner. Let’s run through it.
It’s weird to start off bragging about a kicker. But Younghoe Koo is not your average kicker. It is only his first preseason and he’s already become a folk hero. The Seoul-born kicker moved to New Jersey when he was 12. He played DB and PK in high school before Georgia Southern offered him a scholarship to kick for them. Now he’s the starting kicker of a team located L.A., home to America’s largest Koreatown. With his fancy trick-shots, Lou Groza finalist bona-fides, and a growing Twitter fan base; Koo is set to take to league by storm. All he has to do know is make the kicks when it matters.
Younghoe Koo, PK, Los Angeles Chargers
Week 1: at Denver (Monday Night Football)
Lynch went on to talk about how Breida suffered what looked like a hyperextended knee early in camp and when trainers surrounded him, he all but shoved them away because he did not want to miss a snap.
“Little things like that tell you that he had the makeup that we wanted and we continued to push and give him opportunity and he continued to prove what we thought to be the right assumption exactly that,” Lynch said. “So now, just like I said earlier with all these rookies, they’ve got to go show that they can do it on the big stage but we feel very positive about Matt Breida and what he brings to the table.”
Niner’s GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan keep singing the praises of undrafted rookie Matt Breida. San Francisco awarded Breida’s hard work in camp with a roster spot as the primary backup to starter Carlos Hyde. If you read between the lines of what Lynch and Shanahan have said about Breida thus far, it almost sounds like the coaching staff likes him over Hyde. If you play in a PPR league, NFC, or a +12 team fantasy league; Breida might be a good pickup to stash away. I know I have. He’s going to catch his fair share of balls out of the backfield.
Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco
Week 1: vs. Carolina
Ukeme Eligwe got ? for that pick! pic.twitter.com/Y2lvyRisqe
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 1, 2017
Ukeme Eligwe had a stellar preseason with the Chiefs. The 5th round pick is already starting on the punt team and might just sneak his way up KC’s depth chart before it’s all said and done.
“I really see a bright future for him. He may not be with me for a long time because he may be on defense because he is that good.” – Dave Toub, special teams coach of the Chiefs
He has raw athleticism that jumps off the screen at you. He finished the preseason on Thursday night against the Titans with six tackles and a pick in the first two defensive series alone. Eligwe is a sideline-to-sideline LB with speed to cover the entire field. It’s only a matter of seasoning at this point before he’s a full-time starter in the league.
Ukeme Eligwe, LB, Kansas City
Week 1: at New England (Thursday Night Football)
Georgia Southern’s longest tenured Eagle in the NFL is safety JJ Wilcox. JJ spent four seasons with the Cowboys before signing a 2-year, $6.25 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks). He was part of a cut-day trade that sent him to the Steelers for a 2018 pick. Wilcox is known as a hard-hitting run stopper. He’s trying to prove that he’s a capable pass defender as well. He will likely be the third safety in Pittsburgh (a franchise that loves physical, hard-hitting safeties). Starters Mike Mitchell and Sam Davis have missed time in the preseason with injuries, so it might not be long before we see Wilcox starting.
J.J. Wilcox, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 1: vs. Cleveland
Jerick McKinnon had to fight off challenges from newcomers Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray this preseason but he survived and made the cut. He’s adding different skill sets to his game now that the running back position is a little more crowded in Minneapolis. That includes returning back kickoffs. He took back a 108-yard kickoff return to the house against Matt Breida’s 49ers, as you see above. He’s been seen taking snaps at slot receiver in training camp as well. The Vikings are trying to make better use of his speed after his yards per carry dipped to 3.4 yards a carry after replacing Adrian Peterson. To be fair it was one of the worst OLs in NFL history.
Jerick McKinnon, RB/KR, Minnesota
Week 1: vs. New Orleans
Not all news has been positive however. Edwin Jackson has been placed on the IR with the Colts with an undisclosed injury. He is out for the year.
Edwin Jackson, LB, Indianapolis
Week 1: at Los Angeles Rams
BJ Johnson III
Injured reserve as well, out for the season.
BJ Johnson III, WR, San Francisco
Week 1: vs. Carolina
Perhaps the hardest cut to swallow. The 6-3 245 Williams was a surprise cut by the Lions considering the coaching staff had him penciled in as the starter in OTAs. But it seems that Antwione lost out to a guy Falcons fans will be familiar with: Paul Worrilow.
Despite leading the team in tackles in the preseason, Deshawntee “Ironhead” Gallon did not make the Arizona Cardinal’s roster and seems to have just missed out on a practice squad spot.
Same goes for Montay Crockett, who the Packers liked, but not enough to keep him on the practice squad.