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Hoos in the NFL Week 7: A Week of Career Firsts

Week 7 was a week of firsts for the UVa alumni, as Eli Harold recorded his first tackle and Rodney McLeod tallied his first career touchdown.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eli Harold (LB, San Francisco 49ers), Season Stats: 2 Tackles
Harold made his first appearance in a box score this season with two tackles in the San Francisco loss. Harold hasn't seen the opportunities many expected this season, but it's encouraging to see his opportunities increase as the season progresses. As their playoff hopes grow slimmer by the week, a youth movement could be in the works in the Bay Area with Harold as a major beneficiary.

Rodney McLeod (FS, St. Louis Rams), Season Stats: 29 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Touchdown
McLeod scored his first career touchdown on Sunday, with a 20 yard fumble recovery in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns. The score would be all the points the Rams needed, as they cruised to a 24-6 victory. On a team known for its fearsome defensive line, McLeod's stellar play at safety has started to turn heads and this touchdown will only brighten the spotlight.

Chris Canty (DE, Baltimore Ravens), Season Stats: 8 Tackles, 1 Sack
Making his return to the gridiron for the first time since Week 2, Canty wasted no time establishing himself as a defensive playmaker, with six tackles in the Ravens Monday night loss to the Cardinals. Canty finished second on the team in tackles, and as long as he can stay healthy he's showing no signs of slowing down during his eleventh NFL season.

Branden Albert (LT, Miami Dolphins)
During last week's rout of the Texans, Albert on the Dolphins' line dominated a talented Texans front, allowing Lamar Miller to rush for 175 yards on only 14 carries. Albert and the Dolphins have been rejuvenated since the ouster of head coach Joe Philbin two weeks ago, Philbin was replaced by tight ends coach Dan Campbell who has restored a sense of physicality and purpose to the Dolphins offense.

Ahmad Brooks (LB, San Francisco 49ers), Season Stats: 20 Tackles, 3 Sacks
The veteran Brooks had arguably his best game of the season in a losing effort Thursday night against the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. The Niners lost 20-3, but Brooks notched five tackles and two sacks against an overmatched Seattle line. San Francisco may not win many more games this season, but Brooks continues to provide a steady veteran presence on an otherwise young defense.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson (OT, New York Jets)
The Jets have crafted an offensive identity this season that centers around a power running game thanks to their talented linemen and bruising back Chris Ivory. Unfortunately, the Jets were never able to get that running game in motion against the Patriots on Sunday. Ivory rushed for only 41 yards on 17 carries, and the Jets as a whole only managed 89 yards on the ground. They'll look to get back on track against the Raiders next weekend.

Eugene Monroe (OT, Baltimore Ravens)
Monroe was forced to leave Baltimore's Monday night tilt against the Cardinals due to a shoulder injury. The extent of the injury is unknown as of now, but this has been a tough season for Monroe, who missed time earlier in the season due to a concussion. Monroe is still capable of being a top-tier tackle in the NFL, but at this point his inability to stay healthy is concerning.

Morgan Moses (OT, Washington Redskins)
Another week passes and yet again Moses plays every snap for the Redskins offense. The Redskins' running game was horrid against the Buccaneers, totaling only 50 yards on 2.6 yards per carry, but Washington rallied back from a 24-0 deficit for a dramatic 31-30 victory. After a rough rookie campaign, Moses looks like a seasoned veteran at right tackle this year and he's been one of the bright spots for an up and coming Redskins offense.

Dontrelle Inman & John Phillips (WR/TE, San Diego Chargers) Season Stats: 14 Catches, 173 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
Yes this is cheating but they were teammates in college and now again in the pros, I'm sure they've learned to share. Coming off a week in which Inman recorded his first ever NFL touchdown, the two former Hoos combined to catch three passes for 31 yards in the Chargers loss to the Raiders. San Diego has struggled to establish a running game all season and Inman and Phillips have been afforded increased opportunities as a result. Let's hope that trend continues over the next nine weeks.

The following UVa players were on an NFL roster (or Injured Reserve) but either did not play or appeared only in limited action last week: Oday Aboushi (OG, Houston Texans), Luke Bowanko (C, Jacksonville Jaguars), Chris Long (DE, St. Louis Rams), Heath Miller (TE, Pittsburgh Steelers), Austin Pasztor (OT, Cleveland Browns), Cedric Peerman (RB, Cincinnati Bengals) LaRoy Reynolds (LB, Chicago Bears),  Matt Schaub (QB, Baltimore Ravens), Brent Urban (DE, Baltimore Ravens)