Despite lackluster on field results over the past few seasons, Virginia football has continued to produce impressive alumni that went on to find NFL success. While their teams combined for a losing record in the season's opening week, a number of former Hoos acquitted themselves well and delivered solid performances.
Heath Miller (TE, Pittsburgh Steelers): Miller caught eight passes for 84 yards during the Steelers 28-21 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Perhaps most impressively, Miller's 11 targets tied for the team lead with all-world wideout Antonio Brown. It's clear that any reports of Miller's demise have been grossly exaggerated and he continues to remain one of Ben Roethlisberger's favorite options when things get tight.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson (LT, New York Jets): Ferguson continued his reign as a mainstay along the left side of the Jets line in an impressive 31-10 New York victory over the Browns. Ferguson and the rest of the line kept quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick upright throughout, allowing zero sacks while also opening gaping holes to help the running game amass 154 yards.
Chris Canty (DE, Baltimore Ravens): Canty recorded the only sack of the week for the UVa alumni, but his take down of Peyton Manning wasn't enough as the Ravens fell 19-13 to the Denver Broncos in a defensive slugfest. Canty finished with two tackles and a pass deflection for a defense that seemingly hasn't had a down season this millennium.
Eugene Monroe (LT, Baltimore Ravens): The elder statesmen among the vaunted crop of UVa offensive lineman in the league, Monroe and the rest of the Ravens line struggled in Week 1 against Denver. The Ravens averaged only 3.2 yard per carry and the offense was never able to gain any traction during the 19-13 defeat.
Chris Long (DE, St. Louis Rams): The highest drafted player in UVa football history, Long's box score only shows one solo tackle and two assists during the Rams 34-31 overtime victory against the Seattle Seahawks. The numbers fail to tell the full story, however, as Long did a great job setting the edge against the dangerous Seattle read-option attack and the St. Louis tallied six sacks in the upset win.
Rodney McLeod (FS, St. Louis Rams): Another key cog in the Rams surprise victory, McLeod finished with six total tackles in the win. The Rams held Russell Wilson to only one passing touchdown and McLeod provided crucial support both against the pass and coming up to stuff the run.
Morgan Moses (RT, Washington Redskins): Despite drafting Brandon Scherff fifth overall in the past draft, the Redskins chose Moses to be their starting right tackle for the 2015 season. Moses proved to be more than capable, helping clear the path for a Washington rushing attack that gained 161 yards and allowing only one sack against Ndamukong Suh and the vaunted Dolphins defensive line. While the Skins lost 17-10, Moses was one of the bright spots for a franchise searching for its identity.
Branden Albert (LT, Miami Dolphins): On the opposite sideline from Moses, Albert made his return to the field after suffering a torn ACL and MCL last season. Albert struggled at times with the Redskins blitzes, the Dolphins as a whole allowed three sacks in the game, but helped provide stability to a line that allowed Lamar Miller to rush for 4.1 yards per carry during the come from behind Week 1 victory.
Ahmad Brooks (LB, San Francisco 49ers): One of the few holdovers from the fearsome Niners defenses over the past few years, Brooks began his season on Monday night despite an indictment last month on misdemeanor sexual battery charges. Brooks tallied two tackles as the Niners dominated the Vikings 20-3, and as long as he can stay on the field he should continue to be a leader for the San Francisco defense.
The following UVa players are on an NFL roster (or Injured Reserve) but either did not play or appeared only in limited duty during Week 1: Luke Bowanko (C, Jacksonville Jaguars), Eli Harold (San Francisco 49ers), Dontrelle Inman (WR, San Diego Chargers), Austin Pasztor (OT, Cleveland Browns), Cedric Peerman (RB, Cincinnati Bengals), John Phillips (TE, San Diego Chargers), LaRoy Reynolds (LB, Jacksonville Jaguars), Matt Schaub (QB, Baltimore Ravens), Brent Urban (DE, Baltimore Ravens).