The calendar is turning to the end of July, which in the NFL world means the start of training camp. Even though the season doesn’t begin until September 8, teams around the league will open training camp this week. And for a dozen Cougars, that means a chance to make an NFL roster.
The list of Cougs in the NFL looks a little different this year. Some NFL mainstays like Deone Bucannnon and Joe Dahl are currently free agents. Bucannon won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay last season while Dahl was released by the Detroit Lions in March.
This year is also a drastic change for Gardner Minshew. A year ago, Minshew headed to camp as the starter in Jacksonville and a favorite around the league. This season, he is joined on the QB depth chart by No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence. There was speculation this offseason that the Jaguars might trade Minshew, but instead, he appears headed toward the backup role this season. He is still good for a great quote, though.
Gardner Minshew on his QB competition with Trevor Lawrence on the Greenlight podcast:— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) July 25, 2021
“I’ll say this man, in preparation for the competition, I haven’t taken a shit in weeks, because number two isn’t an option for me. Number two is not an option.”pic.twitter.com/p5cgZexGwL
On the other side of things, Oscar Draguicevich III will attempt to make the Carolina Panthers roster in his rookie season. He is one of two punters on the Panthers, and will compete against second-year punter Joseph Charlton for the job.
Elsewhere around the league, River Cracraft (San Francisco), Easop Winston (New Orleans) and Dezmon Patmon (Indianapolis) will attempt to translate their prolific pass-catching abilities at the next level.
Here is the complete list of Cougs on NFL rosters heading into training camp:
River Cracraft - San Francisco 49ers
Andre Dillard - Philadelphia Eagles
Oscar Draguicevich III - Carolina Panthers
Daniel Ekuale - Jacksonville Jaguars
Anthony Gordon - Kansas City Chiefs
Frankie Luvu - Carolina Panthers
Hercules Mata’afa - Minnesota Vikings
Gardner Minshew II - Jacksonville Jaguars
Dezmon Patmon - Indianapolis Colts
Jalen Thompson - Arizona Cardinals
James Williams - Detroit Lions
Easop Winston - New Orleans Saints
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We just guessing, but we have to believe Theo Lawson was happy to change gears this week. After Nick Rolovich’s vaccination announcement and an awful, season-ending injury suffered by receiver Renard Bell, Theo probably wanted to parrot those old Southwest Airlines’ ads and find a place to “get away.”
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BYU will follow their first true road test of the season with another road trip against a P5 team. This time, the Cougars will travel to Pullman to take on the maroon Cougars of Washington State. Nick Rolovich's team is heading into the second year of the post-Mike Leach era and there are question marks on this team.
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Our series on possible candidates for Pac-12 expansion continues with the Houston Cougars. This candidate has multiple attractive qualities and would almost certainly want to join the conference, but the Pac-12 isn’t here to provide charity to other schools.
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Plummer battled Gunner Cruz, a Washington State transfer and fellow Arizona native, in spring ball. Cruz had a similar career with the Cougars, serving as a backup. His lone action came last season when he completed five of seven passes for 34 yards and a touchdown in emergency duty against USC.