NFL Preseason Preview: Teddy Williams – Carolina Panthers

Teddy Williams will be entering his third season with the Carolina Panthers, hoping to regain his roster spot after his 2016 season was ended early by an injury.

After playing in 16 games for the Panthers in 2015, Williams was left off the active roster in three of Carolina’s first four games in 2016. However, the poor performance of the cornerbacks ahead of him gave Williams a chance to get back into the picture in Week 5, and he had the best game of his career the very next week, recording his first career interception and six tackles.

Williams hasn’t seen the field since that day, leaving practice the following week with a knee injury and eventually being placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

TEDDY WILLIAMS

  • Team: Carolina Panthers
  • Position: Cornerback
  • Experience: 5 years

 

Prior to last season, Williams was used almost exclusively on special teams, where the former All-American sprinter was able to leverage his speed into regular playing time as a gunner on punts and kickoffs.

All reports indicate that Williams is now fully recovered from the injury that ended his season last year, but we’ll have to wait and see if he still has the speed and explosiveness that helped him break into the NFL in the first place.

CAROLINA PANTHERS CORNERBACK DEPTH

  • James Bradberry, 1 year experience
  • Daryl Worley, 1 year experience
  • Captain Munnerlyn, 8 years experience (injured)
  • Corn Elder, Rookie (Drafted, 5th round) (injured)
  • Cole Luke, Rookie (Undrafted)
  • Teddy Williams, 5 years experience
  • Jeff Richards, Rookie (AFL & CFL experience)
  • Zach Sanchez, 1 year experience
  • Devonte Johnson, 1 year practice squad experience

 

Bradberry, Worley and Munnerlyn have the starting outside corner and nickel spots all but locked up, but the competition behind them is wide open.

Carolina will likely only retain two or three backup cornerbacks out of the six that are currently on the 90-man roster.

Williams made some impressive plays during OTAs and briefly filled in for an injured Bradberry on the first team. However, he seems to have cooled down in recent weeks, leaving room for some of the younger guys to surpass him on the depth chart.

Corn Elder has managed to turn some heads in training camp and may have been the top choice as the backup outside corner, but a patella stress fracture will keep him out for at least a month.

Munnerlyn has also been sidelined recently, giving undrafted free agent Cole Luke a chance to cement himself as second-choice nickel.

As long as Williams doesn’t have any lingering issues from his injury, his utility on special teams should help give him the edge if none of the newcomers can impress enough in preseason to take the spot away from him.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 75%

 

The Panthers kick off week 1 of the NFL’s preseason slate tonight against Houston, airing live on NFL Network, followed by another chance to see Williams in action on national TV next week against Tennessee.

ATLANTA FALCONS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Wednesday, Aug. 9
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m. (NFL Network)

Saturday, Aug. 19
Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans, 2 p.m. (NFL Network)

Thursday, Aug. 24
Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Thursday, Aug. 24, 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 31
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Friday, Sep. 1, 3:00 p.m.

 

NFL Preseason Preview: Jordan Moore – Atlanta Falcons

Jordan Moore has had quite the journey to the NFL. After a lackluster three years at TCU, Moore transferred to LSU and joined their track and field program, winning SEC titles in both the 60-meter and 110-meter hurdle events.

As a graduate transfer, Moore switched his allegiance back to the gridiron and followed Frank Wilson from LSU to UTSA, immediately climbing the depth chart to become the Roadrunners starting strong safety and a frequent contributor on special teams, finishing the year as an All-C-USA Honorable Mention selection.

Moore received interest from a handful of NFL teams in the spring and eventually signed with his hometown Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent on April 30.

JORDAN MOORE

  • Team: Atlanta Falcons
  • Position: Safety
  • Experience: Rookie (Undrafted)

ATLANTA FALCONS STRONG SAFETY DEPTH

  • Keanu Neal, 1 year experience
  • Sharrod Neasman, 1 year experience
  • Jordan Moore, Rookie (Undrafted)
  • Quincy Mauger, Rookie (Undrafted)
  • Deron Washington, Rookie (Undrafted)

 

The Falcons have a clear #1 strong safety in 2016 first-rounder Keanu Neal, but the backup spot is up for grabs heading into preseason.

Moore’s stiffest competition will likely come from second-year player Sharrod Neasman, who spent part of last year on the practice squad before being called up to the active roster and being used sparingly, to the tune of 21 defensive snaps and 41 special teams, all in the final three weeks of the season.

Atlanta was clearly looking for some competition for Neasman in the offseason, signing three undrafted free agents, including Georgia standout Quincy Mauger.

With his combination of physicality and speed, Moore could prove to be a valuable contributor on special teams, and considering how little the #2 strong safety was called upon last season, the Falcons may just be looking for a guy like Moore as primarily a special teamer who can also fill in at strong safety in a pinch.

Odds to make 53-man roster: 40%

 

Jordan Moore and the Falcons will be in action this Thursday night as they travel to Miami to face the Dolphins, before heading to Pittsburgh for a live NFL Network game in Week 2.

ATLANTA FALCONS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

(all times Central)

Thursday, Aug. 10
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Aug. 12, 8:30 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 20
Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers, 3 p.m. (NFL Network)

Saturday, Aug. 26
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Sunday, Aug. 27, 1:30 a.m.

Thursday, Aug. 31
Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons, 6 p.m.
– NFL Network re-air: Saturday, Sep. 2, 1:30 a.m.

 

 

Roadrunners in the NFL: Preseason Preview

The 2017 NFL season is less than a month away, and preseason has officially kicked off.

Over the next few days, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the six UTSA alumni who will be fighting for NFL roster spots for the upcoming season.

ROADRUNNERS IN THE NFL

 

With the NFL eliminating the 75-man roster cut this season, we should get all four preseason games to see UTSA’s NFL-hopefuls in action prior to the September 2nd cuts from 90 down to 53.

 

NFL PRESEASON SCHEDULE (all times Central)

WEEK 1: AUGUST 10-14

Wednesday, Aug. 9
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m. (NFL Network)

Thursday, Aug. 10
Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills, 6 p.m.
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins, 6 p.m.
New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns, 7 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers, 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals, 6:30 p.m.

WEEK 2: AUGUST 17-21

Friday, Aug. 18
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks, 9 p.m. (NFL Network)

Saturday, Aug. 19
Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans, 2 p.m. (NFL Network)
Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals, 6 p.m.
Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins, 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 20
Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers, 3 p.m. (NFL Network)
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers, 7 p.m. (NFL Network)

WEEK 3: AUGUST 24-27

Thursday, Aug. 24
Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 26
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons, 6 p.m.
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.
Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 27
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins, 3:30 p.m. (FOX)
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings, 7 p.m. (NBC)

WEEK 4: AUG. 31-SEPT. 1

Thursday, Aug. 31
Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons, 6 p.m.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers, 6 p.m.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts, 6 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers, 6:30 p.m.
Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings, 7 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.

 

Roadrunners in the NFL: Morgan’s first catch, Price gets raise

DAVID MORGAN II

TE – Minnesota Vikings – UTSA ’11-’15

For the first time in his NFL career, David Morgan hauled in a pass from Sam Bradford midway through the second quarter of the Vikings’ Christmas Eve game against Green Bay, gaining four yards before being tackled by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. It was the rookie’s only target of the game.

Morgan was utilized on seven offensive snaps (9%) and seven special teams snaps (21%), the most since Week 2 prior to Rhett Ellison’s return from injury.

Minnesota Vikings Tight End Snap Chart

                       Off.      ST
Player          Pos Num Pct Num Pct
Kyle Rudolph     TE  75 96%   4 12%
Rhett Ellison    TE  21 27%  16 47%
David Morgan     TE   7  9%   7 21%

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table

Morgan also returned his second kickoff of the season, this one for 11 yards before being tackled by Jordan Tripp, bringing his career total up to 29 yards.

Here is an updated list of every yard gained in the NFL by UTSA alumni:

  • 10/27/2013 – Teddy Williams 51-yard reception (ARI vs ATL)
  • 10/16/2016 – Teddy Williams 19-yard interception return (CAR @ NO)
  • 12/11/2016 – David Morgan 18-yard kickoff return (MIN @ JAX)
  • 12/24/2016 – David Morgan 4-yard reception (MIN @ GB)
  • 12/24/2016 – David Morgan 11-yard kickoff return (MIN @ GB)

BRIAN PRICE

DT – Green Bay Packers – UTSA ’13-’15

Despite being released from the Packers active roster and spending the last ten weeks on their practice squad, former UTSA defensive tackle Brian Price has apparently garnered interest from multiple NFL teams in need of defensive line help, including the Indianapolis Colts.

In order to prevent Price from leaving Green Bay, his salary was increased to $26,470/week from the league minimum salary of $6,900/week.

INACTIVES

  • Ashaad Mabry – New Orleans Saints – Practice Squad
  • Brian Price – Green Bay Packers – Practice Squad
  • Teddy Williams – Carolina Panthers – Injured Reserve

NFL WEEK 17 MATCHUPS

Minnesota Vikings (David Morgan) vs. Chicago Bears
Sunday, January 1 – Noon – FOX

 

Final C-USA bowl projections prior to Selection Day

Selection Day is finally upon us. We should know where UTSA and the rest of Conference USA’s bowl-eligible teams are headed later this afternoon, but here are our final projections to hold you over until then.

UTSA will officially unveil their bowl destination at approximately 1:45 p.m. today on Facebook Live.

There have already been a handful of bowl swaps that didn’t impact C-USA, but any swaps that might change the C-USA bowl picture would likely be between multiple ESPN-owned bowls.

Bowl games owned by ESPN

  • Armed Forces Bowl
  • Birmingham Bowl
  • Bahamas Bowl*
  • Boca Raton Bowl*
  • Camellia Bowl
  • Celebration Bowl
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
  • Hawaiʻi Bowl*
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl*
  • Las Vegas Bowl
  • New Mexico Bowl*
  • St. Petersburg Bowl
  • Texas Bowl

*C-USA tie-in

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 1:00 p.m.
University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-6
2015 Payout: $456,250

Almost everyone is in agreement now that UTSA will be heading to Albuquerque for their first-ever bowl game, but you never know if ESPN will make a last-minute shift to try to create better match-ups elsewhere and send us to one of their other bowls.

Prediction: UTSA (6-6) vs. New Mexico (8-4)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 8:00 p.m.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
C-USA vs. Sun Belt #1
2015 Payout: $500,000

Multiple media outlets have now reported that the New Orleans Bowl will feature Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette. Given the ODU to Hawaii Bowl announcement, I don’t see anything that would get in the way of this.

Prediction: Southern Miss (6-6) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6)

Boca Raton Bowl

Tuesday, December 20, 6:00 p.m.
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.
C-USA vs. American #7
2015 Payout: $400,000

Western Kentucky are your C-USA Champs and will be heading to Boca for some of that south Florida recruiting. I previously put UCF in the slot opposite WKU, but it looks like they will go elsewhere in-state to the Miami Beach Bowl, so Memphis is the consensus to fill in here.

Prediction: Western Kentucky (10-3) vs. Memphis (8-4)

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

Friday, December 23, 12:00 p.m.
Thomas Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
C-USA vs. MAC #2-5 or American #6
2015 Payout: $450,000

It was confirmed last week that Old Dominion would face Eastern Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl.

Prediction: Old Dominion (9-3) vs. Eastern Michigan (7-5)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Friday, December 23, 3:30 p.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Big 12 #7 vs. American (Navy, if eligible)
2015 Payout: $675,000

This is where things start to get interesting. The Big 12 only has six bowl-eligible teams and this is their 7th slot, so I thought North Texas would be a shoo-in here given their proximity to the bowl. However, a report from Brett McMurphy at ESPN (who own this bowl, for what that’s worth) has a Big 12 team, likely Baylor, taking on Navy.

It seems reasonable that the Big 12 might try to dump their Cactus Bowl bid against a Mountain West opponent in favor of the Armed Forces Bowl against Navy, but the Cactus Bowl promises a very nice payout ($3.3 million last year) and it is owned by the Fiesta Bowl, not by ESPN, making the deal much more difficult to complete in such a short amount of time.

I’ve gone back and forth on this a few times, but it just makes so much more sense for all parties involved to have Louisiana Tech here and have the Big 12 retain their tie-in with the Cactus Bowl.

Prediction: Louisiana Tech (8-5) vs. Navy (9-3, game vs. Army remaining)

Hawai’i Bowl

Saturday, December 24, 7:00 p.m.
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
C-USA vs. Mountain West #2-6
2015 Payout: $650,000

Nothing has come out to cast any doubt on this Middle Tennessee-Hawaii match-up, and I don’t foresee any last-minute swaps here.

Prediction: Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Hawaii (6-7)

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 11:00 a.m.
Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas
C-USA vs. Big Ten #8-9
2015 Payout: $1.1 million

Louisiana Tech seemed like the obvious favorite for the Heart of Dallas Bowl for weeks now, but the aforementioned ESPN report has North Texas here against Army, and it makes sense for C-USA to go local with the Heart of Dallas since the Big Ten couldn’t provide a Power-Five opponent for us.

Prediction: North Texas (5-7) vs. Army (6-5, game vs. Navy remaining)

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 9:15 p.m.
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
Big 12 #6 vs. Pac-12 #7 (Backup: Mountain West)
2015 Payout: $3.3 million

With the Pac-12 unable to provide a team for the Cactus Bowl, their spot defaults to the backup Mountain West tie-in. Faced with the potential of matching up with a Group-of-Five opponent either way, perhaps the Big 12 worked a deal to keep their Armed Forces slot against a quality Navy team and give up Cactus to Louisiana Tech, but I just don’t see it happening with a non-ESPN bowl.

Prediction: Baylor (6-6) vs. Boise State (10-2)