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Beavers in the NFL: Defensive Players

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A look at all of the Oregon State Alum currently in the NFL

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The NFL preseason is in full swing, which marks a perfect opportunity to check in on how these former Beavers are doing at the next level. In all, there are 28 Oregon State alums in the NFL. In fact, receivers coach Brent Brennan has been using them as somewhat of a recruiting tool. He recently posted on Twitter:

Now let’s take a look at the defensive players:


Brandon Browner Seattle Seahawks: Brandon Browner’s journey to the NFL has been well documented and included a 4 year stop in the CFL. He signed with the Seahawks in 2011 and became a key member of the Seahawks defense. He rejoined the Legion of Boom this offseason after spending time with the Patriots and Saints. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has stated, Browner will play a different role than his previous stint with the Seahawks. This time as a hybrid corner/safety/linebacker.


D.J. Alexander (LB) Kansas City Chiefs: Alexander was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Chiefs, despite not being invited to the NFL combine. He’s developed into a solid special teams player for the Chiefs and has been getting good run so far in the preseason at inside linebacker.


Scott Crichton (DE) Minnesota Vikings: Crichton was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 3rd round (72th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. He’s appeared in 21 games the last two years, but has been somewhat of a disappointment. He’s dealt with injury concerns, but this offseason he has moved from DE to DT and is hoping the move inside will utilize his strengths.


Obum Gwacham (DE) New Orleans Saints: Gwacham was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Seahawks, but was waived and then quickly picked up by the Saints. As a rookie he played in nine games; recording 2.5 sacks, four tackles and a fumble recovery. He currently is locked in a battle for the starting spot at right end for the Saints. Oregon State fans will remember his transition from WR to DE and his underutilized athleticism while in college, but Gwacham seems to be transitioning incredibly well to the NFL game and will make an impact for the Saints defense.


Keenan Lewis (CB) New Orleans Saints: Lewis has had a successful NFL career since being drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Steelers. In 2013 he signed a five-year $26.3 million contract with the Saints. But, has been battling injuries and was released by the Saints yesterday. It’s unclear if he is healthy enough to continue his NFL career but he has proven that he is an effective corner when healthy.


Steven Nelson (CB) Kansas City Chiefs: Steven Nelson is entering his second year in the NFL after being drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft. He’s caught the eye of head coach Andy Reid and is said to be the leader in the clubhouse to start at right cornerback next to Marcus Peters.


Stephen Paea (DT) Washington Redskins: Paea was a second round pick in the 2011 NFL draft and sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone for a safety on his NFL debut. Last March, he signed a four-year $21 million, contract with the Washington Redskins. This offseason he’s been training like crazy and should play a big role on the Redskins defensive line.


Jordan Poyer (DB) Cleveland Browns: Poyer enters his fifth year in the NFL, last year he posted career-highs in tackles (43) and had his first two interceptions. This offseason former Browns free safety, Tayshaun Gipson, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jordan Poyer is set to become the full-time starter for the Browns at free safety.


Dwan Edwards (DT) Carolina Panthers: Edwards was a second round pick back in the 2004 NFL draft. He’s recorded 222 tackles and 19.5 sacks during his 12-year NFL career. He’s spent the last four seasons with the Panthers, but was released this offseason. His playing days are likely over in the NFL, but another team looking for veteran leadership might just entice him with an offer sheet.


Rashaad Reynolds (CB) Detroit Lions: Reynolds signed with the Jaguars after going undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft. He was placed on injured reserve though with a broken hand soon afterwards. This offseason the Detroit Lions jumped on the opportunity to sign him.


Tyrequek Zimmerman (S) Arizona Cardinals: After going undrafted in 2015, Zimmerman spent time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. He was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals this offseason but was released to make room for nine-year NFL cornerback Alan Ball, but then resigned again after the Cardinals waived safety Durell Eskridge, who is dealing with an arm injury.


Kyle Peko (DT) Denver Broncos: Peko went undrafted this past year after just one year at the Division I, level but signed with the Broncos as a free agent. He’s been catching defensive coordinator, Wade Phillip’s eye in camp and made his NFL debut in the Preseason vs. Chicago last Thursday.


Dylan Wynn (DE) Cleveland Browns: After going undrafted in the 2015 NFL draft the talented defensive end signed a three-year deal worth $1,575,000 with the Browns. He had an impressive showing in rookie camp and looked to be gaining momentum for his sophomore campaign. Unfortunately, last week he injured his ankle and will likely miss the 2016 season. The Browns will keep him on injured reserve.


Ryan Murphy (S) Denver Broncos: Murphy was drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Seahawks, but was waived and picked up by the Broncos. He spent the 2015 season on the Broncos Practice Squad. He made waves for popping up in the news during Super Bowl week, for all the wrong reasons. This offseason he was again picked up by the Broncos, but is a long-shot to make their final roster.


Larry Scott (CB) San Diego Chargers: Scott was a standout corner for Oregon State until his senior season was cut short by injury. Back in July he signed as an undrafted free-agent with the Chargers. He’s made a number of plays during the Chargers OTAs and recorded a tackle in their first pre-season game. He will really need to stand out though in order to make the roster as an undrafted free-agent.