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Hoos in the NFL: Preseason Edition

16 former UVA football players are on NFL rosters this season

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Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers
Kansas City’s Juan Thornhill is one of several new Hoos in the NFL this season
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With the NFL season almost upon us, now is a great time to catch up on the former Virginia Cavalier football stars in the NFL. There are 16 former Hoos currently on NFL rosters, including three on injured reserve. Five players signed onto various practice squads and could be called up during the season. Five other former UVa players were recently in training camps and are currently free agents. Here is a breakdown of the Hoos in the NFL, which will vary throughout the season:

Starters:

Anthony Harris - DB - Minnesota Vikings: “Ant” Harris enters the season as a starter at safety for the first time in his five year career. He ended last season with the Vikings by starting eight games and was one of the best defensive players on the team. Local Minnesota press even thinks he can make the Pro Bowl this season. Harris is on a one-year $3M deal with Minnesota and could cash in if he has a huge year.

Rodney McLeod - DB - Philadelphia Eagles: McLeod tore his ACL early last season, but has fully recovered and should be ready for Week 1. The former UVA defensive back was a key contributor to Philadelphia’s defense and the Eagles are excited to have him back. McLeod signed a big contract in 2018, but restructured it this offseason.

Morgan Moses - OL - Washington Redskins: The former UVA star lineman is currently the starting right tackle for DC and will be relied on for leadership if star left tackle Trent Williams continues his holdout. Moses signed a big five-year deal a couple seasons ago but will need to improve on his league-leading 14 penalties last season.

Brent Urban - DL - Tennessee Titans: Urban is currently projected to be on the starting defensive line for the Titans after signing a one-year deal in the offseason. The former UVA standout played five seasons in Baltimore.

Role Players:

Juan Thornhill - DB - Kansas City Chiefs: One of last year’s leaders on the UVA defense is now going to roaming the defensive backfield for Kansas City. Thornhill has been impressive in the preseason for the Chiefs and is in line to see a lot of playing time, even if he is not starting in Week 1. The second-round pick signed a four-year, $4M deal after the draft so expect to see a lot of interceptions from the ball-hawk in the coming years.

Backups:

Oday Aboushi - OL - Detroit Lions: Aboushi will be a backup guard for the Lions after signing a one-year deal in the offseason. The former Hoo lineman is on his sixth team after being drafted in 2013.

Dontrelle Inman - WR - Los Angeles Chargers: After joining the Patriots in May, Inman requested to be released and then signed with the Chargers. The former star UVA wideout spent four seasons with the Chargers before playing briefly for Chicago and Indianapolis. He will start out buried in the depth chart, but hopefully his previous relationship with Philip Rivers will help him move up the ranks.

Darius Jennings - WR/Kickoff Returner - Tennessee Titans: Jennings is a kickoff return specialist for the Titans and had a return for a touchdown for Tennessee last season. The undrafted free agent is on year two of a two-year deal.

Matt Schaub - QB - Atlanta Falcons: The former UVA legend is still holding the clipboard for Matt Ryan in Atlanta. Since his Pro Bowl years in Houston, Schaub has only attempted 100 passes in the past five years and a grand total of 10 in relief of Ryan the past two seasons. He is still signed on with Atlanta through 2020. Sweet gig.

Chris Peace - DL - Los Angeles Chargers: Peace went undrafted but made the Chargers roster this weekend. He signed a three year contract and was understandably pumped on that he made the squad:

Andrew Brown - DL - Cincinnati Bengals: A fifth round pick last year, Brown was on the Bengals practice squad last season but improved and made the roster this year.

Eric Smith - OL - New York Giants: Smith was claimed off of waivers this week by the New York Giants after being cut by the New York Jets. The former Hoo lineman was on New England’s practice squad last season and on the injured reserve list for Miami in 2017.

Olamide Zaccheaus - WR - Atlanta Falcons: After an impressive preseason full of highlight reel catches, Zaccheaus made the Falcons roster has the sixth WR. The former UVA star signed a three year deal, so hopefully he will be making lots of plays in ATL for years to come.

Injured Reserve:

Kurt Benkert - QB - Atlanta Falcons: After injuring his toe in the first preseason game, the former UVA signal-caller was placed on the injured reserve. Don’t fret though, that gave him more time to be a special guest on the Streaking the Lawn podcast a few weeks back.

Tim Harris - DB - San Francisco 49ers: Harris was drafted in the seventh round by the 49ers, but was placed on the injured reserve after injuring his groin.

Micah Kiser - LB - Los Angeles Rams: The former UVA star linebacker was in line to start for the defending NFC champion Rams, but injured his pectoral muscle in a preseason game and was placed on the IR. The second year player still has two years remaining on his rookie contract.

Practice squad players that could be called up during the season:

Marcus Applefield - OL - Baltimore Ravens

Maurice Canady - DB - Baltimore Ravens

Quin Blanding - DB - Carolina Panthers

Jordan Ellis - RB - Cincinnati Bengals

Smoke Mizzell - WR - New Orleans Saints

Free agents that were recently in camps but could sign elsewhere during the season:

Eli Harold - DL - Philadelphia Eagles

Andre Levrone - WR - Carolina Panthers

Luke Bowanko - OL - Detroit Lions

Austin Pasztor - OL - Tennessee Titans

LaRoy Reynolds - LB - San Francisco 49ers