Despite an up-and-down 2014 campaign, the Oregon State football team still yielded 10 players to the NFL (five via the draft, five via un-drafted free agency signings.) With roughly two weeks until opening kickoff, here’s how they’re faring so far:
Sean Mannion, QB, (Third Round): Mannion was widely considered to be a developmental pick for the St. Louis Rams, as proven veteran Nick Foles is currently cemented as the number one quarterback. Backups Austin Davis and Case Keenum have been reportedly battling for the number two spot on the roster, so it looks as though Mannion may be delegated to the third string as he learns how to play at NFL speed. So far through two preseason gams, Mannion has completed 14-20 passes for 146 yards.
Tyrequek Zimmerman, S, (UDFA): Zimmerman, who originally signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, was waived by the team and subsequently signed by the Seattle Seahawks. Zimmerman appears to be a camp body and may have trouble making the Seahawks’ all-world secondary unit.
Steven Nelson, CB, (Third Round): Nelson is quietly working his way up the ladder with the Kansas City Chiefs. Currently listed as the third string cornerback, Nelson has three tackles through the preseason thus far.
Dylan Wynn, DE, (UDFA): "The guy plays like his hair is on fire." this quote from Cleveland Browns’ Defensive Coordinator Jim O’Neil should come as no surprise. While Wynn’s exceptional motor (and body frame that is eerily reminiscent to Bane’s) may be impressing coaches at the next level, he still faces an upward battle to make the final roster. Wynn has
not recorded a two tackles and two QB pressures thus far in preseason action.
D.J. Alexander, LB, (Fifth Round): Alexander was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs under the impression that it would likely be a year or two before he would make any meaningful contribution. Alexander is currently listed second on the depth chart behind Pro-Bowl LB Derrick Johnson.
Terron Ward, RB, (UDFA): Signed by the Atlanta Falcons (who seem to enjoy churning human bowling balls/Oregon State alumni at the running back position,) Ward has mostly struggled in the preseason with nine attempts for 11 yards in two preseason games. However, Ward hit pay dirt for the first time with a score against the New York Jets.
Obum Gwacham, DE, (Sixth Round): The Seattle Seahawks, stocked with a cornucopia of defensive talent, took a flier on the athletic upside of Obum Gwacham with a sixth round pick. Maybe they liked the flashes they saw on tape, or perhaps they decided to burn their pick on him because he has a cool name. Regardless, he’s still extremely raw, and Gwacham has not made much of a splash so far in his rookie season. He currently sits as the third string option at DE.
Ryan Murphy, S, (Seventh Round): Another Seahawks late-round flier. Murphy is a cousin of Beast Mode, but that wasn’t the only reason the Seahawks drafted him. They are giving Murphy a shot because of his tantalizing size/speed upside. He’s currently listed as the third-string free safety behind all-world talent Earl Thomas.
Michael Doctor, LB, (UDFA): Doctor, another one of the four Beaver players signed by the Chiefs at some point or another this offseason, appears to have been waived from the team.
Connor Hamlett, TE, (UDFA): Last time Hamlett made the rounds in the news, he announced that he was retiring from the game of football. Now, he’s vying for the precious opportunity to catch wildly thrown passes from Blake Bortles. Ostensibly, Hamlett’s chances at making the Jaguars went up after starting TE and Portland State alumnus Julius Thomas went down with a broken hand.
Other former Beavers to watch for in 2015: The explosive receiving duo of Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton look primed to breakout on their respective teams this season. Jimmy Graham is gone from New Orleans, and Cooks is suddenly the lone receiving threat. Markus Wheaton will be starting opposite Antonio Brown and will be roasting opponents in single coverage all year long. Defensive Tackle Stephen Paea recently signed a four-year deal worth $21 million with the Washington Redskins and will be relied on as a force up front. The Redskins are going to be a train wreck, but Paea may prove to be a shiny penny for the Redskins in a season full of rubbish.