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:
Some guys were big recruits, some were not. But, they chose the right place 4 them 2 develop! Who's next? #gobeavs pic.twitter.com/CkHAt1mIt5— brent brennan (@coachbrennan) August 19, 2016
Now let’s take a look at the offensive players:
Derek Anderson (QB) Carolina Panthers: Now a veteran quarterback entering his 12th season in the NFL, Anderson is a long way from the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl version of himself and the 6’6”, 235 pounder has settled comfortably into the role of Cam Newton’s back-up instead for Carolina. Not a bad gig if you can get it. For his career, Anderson has thrown for 9,943 yards and 58 touchdowns but in four of the last five seasons, he’s attempted less than seven passes. Clearly his best days are behind him but Anderson is riding out the last days of his run on one of the top rosters in the NFL.
Josh Andrews (OL) Philadelphia Eagles: Andrews joined the Eagles in 2014 as an un-drafted free agent and after sticking it out on the team’s practice squad, it looked like he had a chance to make the final roster this preseason. That assumption is now up in the air due to Andrews injuring his ankle against the Buccaneers. Andrews is still listed as the third-string center for the Eagles behind Jason Kielce and Stefen Wisniewski and there is some more good news in the fact that the team just released another center in Bruce Johnson. Andrews’ situation will be one to keep an eye on come final cut day.
Brandin Cooks (WR) New Orleans Saints: A favorite name of avid Fantasy Football participants, Cooks is a rising star in the NFL for New Orleans, who is on track in his third season to become one of the top receiving targets in the whole league. Cooks is coming off a 2015 campaign in which he caught 84 passes for 1,138 yards and 9 touchdowns and the third year player is expected to have an even larger impact this upcoming season. A focal point of the Saints offense, Cooks has already solidified his place as one of the best Oregon State alumni in the NFL.
Connor Hamlett (TE) Cleveland Browns: It was unknown if Hamlett would ever play football again after his last days at Oregon State, when the 6’ 7” tight end thought about walking away from the game due a myriad of injury issues. But after taking some time away from football, Hamlett took his shot at the NFL and has now had his chances in Jacksonville, Oakland, New Orleans and Cleveland. The key for the big man at this point is to try and stick on a roster. The Browns like what they see out of Hamlett so far this preseason but there is still some work to be done for him to secure his spot on the Browns’ final depth chart.
Johnny Hekker (P) Los Angeles Rams: The lone “true” special teams player on our list, after going un-drafted out of Oregon State back in 2012, the Redmond, Washington native was picked up by the Rams to shore up their punter spot. And shore up their void, he sure did. Dekker has been a mainstay on the now-Los Angeles based special teams units, having punted for over 15,687 yards already in his career. In 2014, Hekker also signed the largest contract ever given to a punter, when he inked a six year extension with the Rams worth $18 million dollars.
Andy Levitre (OG) Atlanta Falcons: The first offensive guard selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, Levitre started his career in Buffalo, earning NFL All-Rookie Honors in his first campaign and solidifying the Bills line for his first four seasons. He then moved on to Tennessee, where he signed a six year, $46.8 million dollar contract in 2013 before being shipped just two years later to Atlanta. For a usually reliable starting guard, somehow the 6’ 2”, 300 pound guard just can’t seem to stay in one place. Even after the Falcons gave up just a 6th round pick to the Titans for his starting services, Levitre’s long-term position with the team seems to be in question once again.
Sean Mannion (QB) Los Angeles Rams: While most quarterbacks wouldn’t be happy to know their team used the #1 pick in the NFL Draft on another gunslinger, the selection of California’s Jared Goff by Los Angeles was music to Mannion’s ears, as it meant the immediate departure of fellow quarterback Nick Foles. With Foles out of the picture, Mannion will likely settle into a third-string role for the Rams, with Case Keenum and Goff expected to duel for the starting job.
Matt Moore (QB) Miami Dolphins: Moore’s 2016 season got off to a rough start after sustaining a concussion in Miami’s preseason game against the Cowboys, an injury that could derail his plans for the upcoming year. With the Dolphins having added Brandon Doughty from Western Kentucky to the quarterback mix late in the 2016 NFL Draft, Moore’s competition in the Magic City has also increased as well. Rumors are now swirling that the veteran quarterback’s days in Miami may be numbered. Moore is still a wanted back-up commodity in the league (no matter where he goes) but he’s a far stretch from the field general who saved the Dolphins season back in 2011.
Mike Remmers (OT) Carolina Panthers: Remmers started his NFL career with a bit of a journeyman path, which included stops in Denver, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Minnesota, before latching on with Carolina back in 2014. The 6’ 5”, 305 pound tackle got his chance to shine when the Panthers offensive line was ravaged by injuries during the 2014 season and he never looked back, winning out the full-time starting spot in 2015. He now enters this year’s camp as the incumbent starter. With Carolina hoping for a repeat trip to the Super Bowl, Remmers will have to be a key anchor on an offensive line in charge of protecting the franchise cornerstone in quarterback Cam Newton.
Jacquizz Rodgers (RB) Chicago Bears: One of the most electrifying players in Oregon State history, Rodgers now enters his sixth season in the NFL as a serviceable running back, with that big-play potential still lurking at all times. Rodgers spent four seasons in Atlanta, totaling 305 carries for 1,116 yards and was picked up before the 2015 season by Chicago, as a versatile option out of the backfield. Coming off an arm injury that shortened his 2015 season, Rodgers is expected to work behind Jeremy Langford on a crowded Bears depth chart.
Terron Ward (RB) Atlanta Falcons: Signed by Atlanta as an un-drafted free agent in 2015, Terron Ward has carved out a niche for himself as a situational third-string reserve for the Falcons, behind two talented options in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Hampered by an ankle injury heading into camp this season, Ward may have to fight for his position on the roster with recently signed, former Kansas City Chiefs rusher Cyrus Gray now added to the mix.
Markus Wheaton (WR) Pittsburgh Steelers: Wheaton may be going through some mysterious preseason injury trouble for the Steelers but make no mistake about it, when opening day comes around, the 2013 Beavers graduate is expected to be a featured part of the Pittsburgh offense. Wheaton caught 44 passes for 749 yards and 5 touchdowns a season ago and should enter the 2016 season as the number two option on the team to one of the league’s top receivers in Antonio Brown.
Colin Kelly (OT) San Francisco 49ers: At 6’ 5”, 300 pounds, Colin Kelly may have the look of an NFL offensive lineman but it took a career trip north of the border to the CFL for him to finally find his way into the league. Kelly played for the Ottawa Redblacks last season before being signed by 49ers coach Chip Kelly (a noted fan of the CFL) this winter.