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Pro Canes Update

Several Hurricanes Alumni are off to a Great Start this NFL Season

NFL: AUG 19 Preseason - Saints at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Three weeks into the NFL season, let’s check in on Canes alumni and how they’re fairing.

Tier 1 - Potential Pro Bowlers

Three former Canes have stood out this early season as strong candidates for individual honors this season.

Gregory Rousseau, DE | Buffalo Bills (drafted 2021): 11 tackles; 5 tackles for loss; 3.5 sacks; 1 pass deflection

Forget Pro Bowl, Rousseau is putting up All Pro numbers. As a rookie, Rousseau started all 17 games and picked up 4 sacks. He’s almost surpassed that after just three games. Rosseau is also leading the league in tackles for loss. Anyone who watched the Dolphins victory over the Bills saw him living in Miami’s backfield. With Von Miller opposite him, Rousseau isn’t going to get the full credit he deserves (like Defensive MVP discussion credit), but early in the season Rousseau looks like the former Cane with the best chance for at least a Pro Bowl nod.

Pat O’Donnell, P | Green Bay Packers (drafted 2014): 13 Punts; 9 Inside the 20; 1 Touchback; 49.2 yd average; 45.2 net yd average.

Pat O’Donnell is averaging a career high in net and average yards and is matching, if not exceeding, 2021 pro-bowlers A.J. Cole (50 yd avg, 42.5 net) and Bryan Anger (48.4 yd avg, 44.6 net) stats from last year. He’s currently 5th in the League for net punt average and 2nd in punts inside the 20. O’Donnell may be an 8 year veteran, but he has yet to make the Pro Bowl. Keep booting bombs Pat and that’ll change.

David Njoku, TE | Cleveland Browns (drafted 2017): 13 Rec., 128 yds (19yd long), 1 Rec. TD

Including Njoku in this tier is probably an over-reaction. Ok it’s definitely an over reaction. But that’s a main point of this post - overreactions as distractions to the Hurricanes losing streak. Week 3 was Njoku’s breakout game against the Steelers hauling in a career high 9 catches for 89 yds and a touchdown. He’s still well behind Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce, both of whom are over 200yds receiving and have multiple touchdowns. But if Njoku can keep serving up a fraction of what he showed against Pittsburgh, then he should land his first Pro Bowl selection.

Tier 2 - NFL Starters

Several other Canes have earned their way to consistent starter status. They may not be in the Pro Bowl conversation...yet...but like Njoku, that could change with one or two breakout performances.

Offensive Starters

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
K.J. Osborn after scoring his first touchdown of the season
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

K.J Osborn, WR | Minnesota Vikings (drafted 2020): 10 Rec., 112 yds (64yd long), 1 Rec. TD; 1 Rush Att., 10 yds.

John Feliciano, OG | New York Giants (drafted 2015): 205 snaps; 2 penalties

Osborn is the No. 3 receiver behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, both familiar names to fantasy owners. After a relatively quiet first two weeks, Osborn found the end zone for the first time this season against the Lions.

Feliciano started at guard for the Bills last season, but was released in the offseason. He signed on with the Giants as their starting center. His PFF grade is a solid 50.9 and is a key component of the Giants’ line getting a lot of credit for helping star RB Saquan Barkley return to pre-injury form.

Defensive Starters

Baltimore Ravens v New York Jets
Calais Campbell after Ravens beat the Jets
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Calais Campbell, DE | Baltimore Ravens (drafted 2008): 10 tackles; 1 sack

Rayshawn Jenkins, S | Jacksonville Jaguars (drafted 2017): 10 tackles; 1 Interception; 5 Pass Deflections

Mike Jackson Sr., CB | Seattle Seahawks (drafted 2019): 13 tackles; 2 Pass Deflections

Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE | Chicago Bears (drafted 2017): 8 tackles; 1 FF

Jaquan Johnson, S | Buffalo Bills (drafted 2019): 8 tackles

Jaelen Phillips, DE | Miami Dolphins (drafted 2021): 4 tackles; 1 Pass Deflection

Quite a few Canes are defensive starters in the League. 6 time Pro-Bowler Calais Campbell is the most noteworthy, and while he is off pace from another Pro Bowl type season he’s still one of the best run-defending defensive ends in the game.

Jenkins and Johnson have been steady starters in their respective teams secondary. Special shoutout to Mike Jackson Sr. who appeared in only 4 games his first three seasons, but this year has started each game for Seahawks. Way to break through!

Muhammad and Phillips are also starting ends and performing well even though they’ve yet to record their first sack of the year.

Special Teamers

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Jets
Braxton Berrios on kick return
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Braxton Berrios, WR | New York Jets (drafted 2018): 6 Kick Ret., 143 yds (27yd long); 4 Punt Ret., 56 yds (17yd long); 5 Rec., 37yds

Deejay Dallas, RB | Seattle Seahawks (drafted 2020): 8 Kick Ret., 175 yds (30yd long); 3 Rush Att., 21 yds (16yd long); 2 Rec., 17yds (10yd long)

Although minimally used by their offenses, Braxton Berrios and D.J. Dallas are the starting kick returners for their respective teams. Berrios was a pre-season special teams pro-bowler but has yet to break a big return this season.

Tier 3 - Rostered and Contributing

Although not starting, there’s a few Canes that are rostered and regularly making appearances on Sunday.

Travis Homer, RB | Seattle Seahawks (drafted 2019): 3 GP; 4 Rush Att., 18 yds (7yd long); 4 Rec., 33yds (17yd long)

Deon Bush, DB | Kansas City Chiefs (drafted 2018): 3 GP; 2 tackles

Phillip Dorsett, WR | Houston Texans (drafted 2015): 2 GP; 1 Rec., 15yds

Dee Delaney, DB | Tampa Bay Buccaneers (drafted 2018): 2 GP; 1 tackle

Shaquille Quarterman, LB | Jacksonville Jaguars (drafted 2020): 2 GP; 0 tackles

Quincy Roche, LB | New York Giants (drafted 2021): 1 GP; 1 tackle

Jonathan Garvin, LB | Green Bay Packers (drafted 2020): 1 GP; 0 tackles

Homer and Dorsett are seeing some playing time but both are buried on their respective depth charts. Homer only started appearing in games last season as injuries mounted for Seattle’s backfield. Dorsett is a grizzled veteran but hasn’t seen regular playing time since 2018 when he caught 32 balls for the Patriots.

The defensive Canes are mostly special teams contributors who occasionally pick up a tackle. Bush, who is listed as the Chiefs’ backup FS and started 4 games last year for the Bears, sees the field the most of this group.

Tier 4 - Active Roster, but Empty Stat Sheet

Next are a few Canes who are on the active roster for an NFL team but have yet to make the stat sheet.

Duke Johnson, RB | Buffalo Bills (drafted 2015)

Artie Burns, CB | Seattle Seahawks (drafted 2016)

Corn Elder, CB | Washington Commanders (drafted 2018)

Jonathan Ford, DT | Green Bay Packers (drafted 2022)

Early Injuries

Denzel Perryman, LB | Oakland Raiders (drafted 2015): 3 tackles

Brevin Jordan, TE | Houston Texans (drafted 2021): 3 Rec., 8 yds (5yd long)

Two Canes get their own category as starters who are working through some early injuries. Perryman suffered an ankle injury after starting Week 1 and hasn’t practiced the last two weeks. Brevin Jordan left his Week 2 game with an ankle injury and sat out Week 3.

Free Agents

Lastly, there’s a slew of Canes who were either regular contributors last year or were cut during the preseason and are waiting for their agents to call with good news.

Ereck Flowers, OT (drafted 2015) | 2021 Team, Washington Commanders (16 GP, 16 GS)

Jimmy Graham, TE (drafted 2010) | 2021 Team, Chicago Bears (15 GP, 6 GS)

Chris Herndon, TE (drafted 2018) | 2021 Team, New York Jets (16 GP, 5 GS)

Michael Badgley, K (undrafted 2018) | 2021 Team, Indianapolis Colts (13 GP)

Joe Jackson, DE (undrafted 2019) | 2021 Team, Cleveland Browns (12 GP)

Travis Benjamin, WR (drafted 2012) | 2021 Team, San Francisco 49ers (10 GP)

KC McDermott, OT (undrafted 2018) | 2021 Team, Jacksonville Jaguars (9 GP, 1 GS)

Brandon Linder, C (drafted 2014) | 2021 Team, Jacksonville Jaguars (9 GP)

Danny Isidora, OG (drafted 2017) | 2021 Team, Arizona Cardinals (9 GP)

Adrian Colbert, S (drafted 2017) | 2021 Team, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns (6 GP, 3 GS)

Sheldrick Redwine, S (drafted 2019) | 2021 Team, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins (6 GP)

Trent Harris, LB (undrafted 2018) | 2021 Team, New York Giants (4 GP)

Jamal Carter, S (undrafted 2017) | 2021 Team, Tennessee Titans (1 GP)

Allen Hurns, WR (undrafted 2014) | 2021 Team, Miami Dolphins (DNP, Injury)

Lamar Miller, RB (drafted 2012) | 2021 Team, Free Agent (New Orleans Saints Practice Squad)

Olivier Vernon, DE (drafted 2012) | 2021 Team, Free Agent (DNP, Injury)

R.J. McIntosh, DT (drafted 2018) | Pre-season, Indianapolis Colts

Jose Borregales, K (undrafted 2021) | Pre-season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Harley Jr., WR (undrafted 2022) | Pre-season, Cleveland Browns

Charleston Rambo, WR (undrafted 2022) | Pre-season, Carolina Panthers

Zach McCloud, LB (undrafted 2022) | Pre-season, Minnesota Vikings

Deandre Johnson, DE (undrafted 2022) | Pre-season, Miami Dolphins

Bubba Bolden, S (undrafted 2022) | Pre-season, Seattle Seahawks