Training camps are underway in the National Football League, and that means another season of riding with switzy! I'll be checking in on the #MizzouMade players throughout the league (and, by popular demand, DGB) on a pretty regular basis throughout the season providing you with stats, links, and recaps of important stories involving your favorite Tiger alums.
In this training camp edition, we'll be going team by team and looking at who is playing where, their contract and playing time status, and any interesting offseason developments. As a bonus to those interested in following along over the course of the season, each NFL team name will be a link to that team's SB Nation site, where you can usually find the latest important news - and some pretty great features - on those #MizzouMade players making headlines.
Let me in advance thank Dave Matter, who has no idea who I am but who published a quick and dirty list of all these names and teams a few weeks back, making my compilation a little easier to put together.
Without further ado, here we go. For each player, I'll have a short writeup, and a link to a recent-ish article of interest.
C Evan Boehm (2016 - 4th round - 128th overall)
arizonasports.com recently reported that Boehm was running with the 2nd string in camp, behind starter A.Q Shipley. However, other reports suggest that Boehm has a legitimate shot of claiming the starting job with a good camp.
From Revenge of the Birds: Arizona Cardinals' Evan Boehm and the Anonymous Scout
LB Markus Golden (2015 - 2nd round - 58th overall)
Golden was a part-time starter in his rookie season, and finished with very respectable numbers in pass rushing (31 tackles, 4 sacks). He also forced two fumbles. Golden is expected to get more playing time in 2016. Check the links below for a taste of how highly Golden is viewed.
From arizonasports.com: LB Markus Golden ‘turning into a heck of a player' for Cardinals
From Today's Pigskin: Markus Golden is Cardinals' top breakout candidate
LB Sean Weatherspoon (2010 - 1st round - 19th overall)
After (another) injury plagued season - this time with the Arizona Cardinals - Spoon return to the team that selected him in the 1st round 6 years ago. He's playing on a low-leverage contract, playing to prove himself once again. He'll be battling during camp to make the final squad.
From Atlanta Journal-Constituion: Weatherspoon brings energy, experience in second stint
DE Kony Ealy (2014 - 2nd round - 60th overall)
After a slow start to his sophomore season, Ealy strung together sacks in 5 consecutive games in mid-season, before struggling to the finish with a couple minor injuries. In the Panthers' losing effort to the Broncos in the Super Bowl, Ealy made a strong case for MVP honors (and guaranteed himself a spot in Peyton Manning's nightmares in the early days of his retirement) with 3 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and a recovered fumble. In camp so far, he's been sidelined a bit with a concussion and is working his way back into his first team position.
From panthers.com: Three Questions: Defensive Ends
TE Marcus Lucas (2014 - undrafted)
Lucas has bounced around with the Panthers and Bears, never cracking an NFL roster. Having converted to TE, he is competing with a host of guys for the Panthers' 3rd TE position and a spot on the roster. Having practice squad eligibility left means that he's more likely to end up there than on the main squad.
From Charlotte Observer: Panthers Training Camp Observations
LB Andrew Gachkar (2011 - 7th round - 234th overall)
After establishing himself as a special teams standout and securing a regular backup role with the Cowboys, Gachkar was competing in camp to claim a starting MLB job. However, he recently broke his thumb and surgery will cost him 3-4 weeks and possibly prevent him from the promotion.
From Dallas Star-Telegram: Cowboys LB depth takes hit with Andrew Gachkar out with thumb injury
OG Connor McGovern (2016 - 5th round - 144th overall)
McGovern came into camp as a 2nd stringer, but the usual slate of injuries has him getting quite a few first team reps - and some praise from observers.
From Mile High Report: Connor McGovern has the smarts to know where he needs to work on his game
DE Shane Ray (2015 - 1st round - 23rd overall)
Ray continues to fight for playing time behind Von Miller and an aging DeMarcus Ware. He made a few headlines by comparing himself favorably to the all-world Miller, but there is little question that Ray should see more time on the field and have every chance to back up his words with play.
From Mile High Report: Bradley Roby, Shane Ray will soon find place in Broncos spotlight
TE Chase Coffman (2009 - 3rd round - 98th overall)
Coming off his most productive season (only 8 catches, though) with Seattle, Coffman moves to Indy where the departure of Coby Fleener leaves Dwayne Allen as the only proven quantity at TE. Coffman seems to be fighting for the 2nd or 3rd string spot behind Allen; his receiving ability could certainly put him in position for playing time if there are injuries ahead of him. First, though, he needs to secure his spot.
WR Jeremy Maclin (2009 - 1st round - 19th overall)
One of the best Mizzou players to ever suit up in the NFL, Maclin enters the 2016 season as a bonafide star and the undisputed leader of the Chiefs' passing game. He'll be looking to follow up his gaudy 2015 numbers: 87 catches for 1,088 yards and 8 touchdowns.
From Maryville Daily Forum: Maclin becoming Mr. Reliable for Chiefs
C Mitch Morse (2015 - 2nd round - 49th overall)
After surprising some with his rookie season role as the Chiefs' starting center, Morse starts his second season with some higher expectations. However, he performed very well last season and will enter the season securely in his increasingly comfortable role.
From Kansas City Star: Chiefs see center Mitch Morse as seasoned beyond his two years
Also, be sure to check out this video of Mitch Morse meeting a fan:
C Tim Barnes (2012 - undrafted)
Barnes enters his third season as the Rams starting center but continues to draw mixed reviews for his performance. A good overview of his career and role can be found at the link below.
From Turf Show Times: 2016 Rams Roster Preview: C Tim Barnes, L.A.'s Road Grader
CB E.J. Gaines (2014 - 6th round - 188th overall)
Returning from a Lisfranc (foot) injury that kept him out all last season, EJ Gaines looks to take control of a starting corner position on the Rams in 2016. Given his impressive play as a rookie in 2014, his biggest competition in camp might be the recovery process; Gaines was only just recently cleared and is still being limited and tested to see what he needs to work on re-strengthening.
From Turf Show Times: 2016 Rams Roster Preview: CB E.J. Gaines Gearing For A Comeback
LB Kentrell Brothers (2016 - 5th round - 160th overall)
As a 5th round pick, Brothers is pretty likely to make the final roster but will almost surely be hoping to make his impact on special teams and bide his time waiting for a starting spot to open up down the line.
RB Marcus Murphy (2015 - 7th round - 230th overall)
Murphy started his rookie season very solidly as the Saints' starting returner, even notching a punt return for TD. However, after fumble issues jeopardized that position, a late season injury ended Murphy's campaign. This year in camp, Murphy is fighting for his roster spot both at returner and as a (likely) 3rd string RB. He's been making some noteworthy plays early, but will need to stay strong and perform in preseason games in order to keep his role.
From New Orleans Times-Picayune: Marcus Murphy pushes back after Tommylee Lewis' big day, and other Saints camp observations
DT Sheldon Richardson (2013 - 1st round - 13th overall)
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Sheldon Richardson is suspended one game. Despite that opening game suspension, though, Big Shel is definitely a top notch defensive lineman who will be looking to secure a big payday as he finishes up his entry-level contract. He'll be working entirely on the DL this season - no experiments with playing from an LB position - which should help him stay more consistent.
From nj.com: Sheldon Richardson on future with Jets: 'We'll see'
LB Aldon Smith (2011 - 1st round - 7th overall)
Suspended for a year last November, Smith remains with the Oakland Raiders and eligible to apply for reinstatement during the early part of the season. In the meantime, however, yet another off-field distraction has overshadowed Smith's talent. Check the link below for full details. Here's to hoping Smith gets his life in order before it's too late.
From ESPN: Reports: Raiders LB Aldon Smith enters treatment center
QB Chase Daniel (2010 - undrafted)
Chase Daniel entered this offseason not only as the jewel of Mizzou fans' hearts, but of the free agent QB class. Then rather than signing with a team in search of a starter, he plopped himself (admittedly, for big money) behindSam Bradford. "Bradford seems fragile" you might be thinking. But then the Eagles traded up to draft Carson Wentz2nd overall. And now, Daniel sits as a highly paid backup to a QB likely to be overtaken before too long by Daniel's backup. Shrug.gif.
Current Mizzou freshman QB Micah Wilson grew up a Missouri fan and here’s a picture with Chase Daniel, courtesy of his father.
QB Blaine Gabbert (2011 - 1st round - 10th overall)
The one-time bust has managed to rehabilitate himself into a decent starter - at least for the back half of last season when for the 49ers he threw for over 2,000 yards in 8 starts and rushed for almost 200, with a 10/7 TD/INT ratio. Of course, that was with Gabbert's prestige-doppleganger Colin Kaepernick (riding the much less fruitful superstar-in-waiting turned bust train) out with injuries. Now, with Kaep healthy, Gabbert is facing what appears to be a legitimate 50/50 battle for the starting position. But given his career arc prior, that's pretty darn good.
OL Justin Britt (2014 - 2nd round - 64th overall)
Seahawks fans have made little apology for their skepticism about Justin Britt over the last two seasons, as they've watched him bounce from serviceable to poor to decent seemingly on a week-to-week basis. This year, Britt has once again undergone a position change and is now primed to be the starting center for the Seahawks as they look to vastly improve their offensive line play overall.
From sports.mynorthwest.com: Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 7, C Justin Britt
TE Clayton Echard (2016 - undrafted)
Echard was a bit of a surprise signing by the Seahawks early in camp as they deal with injuries elsewhere. His best shot will be to impress enough to get stashed on the practice squad.
From seahawks.com: Seahawks Sign TE Clayton Echard, Waive/Injured WR Tyler Slavin
RB Russell Hansbrough (2016 - undrafted)
Hansbrough was signed to a UFA contract immediately after the draft, but is competing with a number of backs for the final spot on the position group. Like Clayton Echard, Hansbrough's best path to an NFL future is to impress enough in camp that he gets to stick on the practice squad.
From Tampa Bay Times: Ten position battles ahead for Bucs' final roster
DE Jacquies Smith (2012 - undrafted)
After tallying 6.5 sacks and 7 sacks respectively over the last two seasons, Smith enters 2016 hoping for the health as well as opportunity to continue his run of solid play. His 2015 season ended early with a shoulder injury and he missed the entire offseason following surgery. Now healthy and back at camp, Smith is likely to be a featured player on the TB defense despite some key additions at his position.
#Bucs' 1st depth chart has been released. Gholston/Ayers starting DEs, w/Spence & Jacquies Smith listed as backups.— Luke Easterling (@LukeEasterling) August 6, 2016
From Tampa Bay Times: Shoulder healthy, Bucs DE Jacquies Smith back at practice
LS Beau Brinkley (2012 - undrafted)
Brinkley still snappin'. He doesn't appear to have any real competition for the LS position he's held down for a few years now.
From Columbia Daily Herald: Breakdown on the Tennessee Titans
WR Dorial Green-Beckham (2015 - 2nd round - 40th overall)
After a disappointing rookie season, DGB is being challenged by his coaches to be more consistent - and get in better shape - this season. At various points, coach Mike Mularkey and his staff have attempted motivational tactics, including stashing DGB on the 2nd string in the early depth chart. He's got a ways to go to live up to his reputation, but has a QB certainly capable of getting him there.
From Springfield News-Leader: DGB has plenty to prove heading into second NFL season
DE Ziggy Hood (2009 - 1st round - 32nd overall)
Ziggy is in a fight for a roster spot, with a lot of competition along Washington's defensive front. He'll be putting in a lot of work throughout camp in the attempt to make the final squad; if he doesn't succeed, he'll likely be a midseason replacement option for a number of teams as the normal allotment of injuries takes its toll on teams' roster depth.
From redskins.com: Seven Things We've Learned About Ziggy Hood
S William Moore
DT C.J. Mosley
That wraps up the first look at the #MizzouMade for this season. Be sure to add any new developments you’ve noted in the comments section, and join me (almost) every week during the season as I keep you informed of how our Tigers are performing on Sundays (and Thursdays and Mondays, and occasionally on Saturdays again around the holidays).