It’s training camp season in the NFL! Let’s take a look at where our Hokies are and what we can expect for them as we enter the 2018 preseason.
Adonis Alexander: The ‘Skins are no stranger to Virginia Tech Hokies defensive backs, so it came as little surprise to see them reach out for Alexander during the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft. Adonis clocks in as one of three Hokies Washington drafted this year. At 6’2” he has desirable height for a DB, but at 195 pounds and a 4.6 40-yard dash there is certainly room for development. Although the Redskins have a tenuous secondary situation, unless something spectacular occurs during training camp / preseason, expect Adonis to be competing for a place on the practice squad in hopes of developing into a potential roster player over the next season.
Tim Settle: It came as something of a surprise that Settle declared for the draft early. The Redskins drafted Settle in the fifth round with the 163rd overall pick. The general feeling out of Washington is that they got a steal grabbing Settle that late in the 2018 NFL Draft. Without a doubt Tim’s offseason conditioning program and his performance in training camp / preseason will dictate where he lands in the depth chart. I believe Settle has the athleticism and speed to perform at the professional level, but he will be unable to rely on that to compensate for some of his deficiencies as he did at the NCAA level. Hopefully coaching, conditioning, and effort will help him develop into the starter he has the potential to be. Currently he is showing strong during the Redskins training camp.
Greg Stroman: Like Tim Settle, Stroman grew up in the greater Washington D.C area. The Redskins’ current defensive backs coach, Torrian Gray, has a bit of familiarity with the secondary of the Hokies considering he filled the same role with Virginia Tech in years past. Stroman has demonstrated value at both the corner back position and with special teams as a returner. The Redskins would love to see their seventh-round pick develop enough to immediately contribute on defense and special teams.
Nick Becton: The 6’6”, 322-pound, offensive tackle from Fayetteville, NC has bounced around the NFL for the last four years. The Giants signed him to their practice squad late in the 2017 season before promoting him to the active roster.
Duane Brown: The Houston Texans traded Brown to the Seahawks in October 2017 for two draft picks (a third round 2018 pick and a second-round pick in 2019). There are concerns regarding his age, but Brown was named to the 2018 Pro Bowl, and the Seahawks will expect him to start in hopes of bolstering a pedestrian offensive line.
Chuck Clark: Entering his second season Clark is turning heads in Baltimore and is looking to step into a larger role with the Ravens in 2018. Expect him to make the active roster.
Terrell Edmunds: The surprise first rounder just recently signed his rookie NFL contract. The Steelers will be looking for Terrell to develop and immediately contribute at both the DB and LB positions.
Ryan Malleck: Malleck has spent the last year bouncing between the Ravens, Texans, and Steelers. This past June he signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh in hopes of finding a way onto the active roster.
Tremaine Edmunds: The younger Edmunds was drafted at the ripe age of 19. Tremaine was the highest selected Hokie of the 2018 NFL Draft. He and his brother Terrell became the first set of brothers to be selected in the first round of the same NFL Draft. Buffalo spent the 16th overall pick on Edmunds and expect him to immediately contribute on the building playoff team.
Cam Phillips: Cam was signed as an undrafted free agent. I detailed why Cam fell out of the draft in an article back in May. Phillips was limited in showcasing his abilities due to injuries, which led to a rather pedestrian performance at his pro-day workout. Though the Bills have a rather crowded WR corps Phillips will be competing for an active roster spot.
Wyatt Teller: During their 2018 binge of VT players the Bills selected Teller during the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The 6’5”, 314-pound big man is solid when planted, but will need to develop his mobility. The expectation is that Teller will make the active roster and potentially compete for a starting guard position on a struggling Buffalo O-line.
Logan Thomas: Last year the 6’6” 250-pound tight end did not develop into the matchup nightmare that Buffalo had hoped. He appeared in 12 games, but only mustered seven receptions, 67 yards, and a singular touchdown. Last year was Thomas’s first complete season at the TE position and his offseason was less than optimal after he needed surgery to restore a torn meniscus suffered during the regular season. It seems that the Bills still have interest in Logan’s rumored potential and would love to seem him develop into a viable option at the position to compliment Charles Clay.
Antone Exum Jr.: The Glen Allen, Virginia native was drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. After having two solid seasons with the Vikes he was injured during the 2016 season and placed on injured reserve. After being waived Antone was signed by the 49ers in November 2017, and then re-signed this past June. The June signing is an encouraging indicator, but Exum is going to have to work hard to earn a place on the final roster.
Brandon Facyson: Brandon was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent, to a three-year deal worth a reported $1.7 million. The deal carried no signing bonus or guarantees, but LAC felt good enough about Facyson to lock him down for three years. The Chargers’ secondary is fairly deep, but there are health concerns. Jason Varrett suffered a torn Achilles Friday morning and that might open up some space as the DBs fill forward. We should expect Facyson to be competing for a practice squad position with the outside potential to find the starting roster if there are depth concerns.
Isaiah Ford: Entering last year’s preseason Ford looked to be one of the biggest steals of the 2017 NFL Draft. The seventh-round pick’s exciting potential was cut short due to a season-ending injury. There has been some shuffle in the WR corps from last year and if Ford can continue to demonstrate the abilities that turned heads last year he could find himself competing for a spot on the Dolphins’ active roster.
Kyle Fuller: Last year the 2014 NFL Draft overall No. 14 pick had his best season. After missing the entire 2016 effort due to a knee injury Kyle returned with a vengeance in 2017. Fuller was commended for his ability to be solid during the pass game, with 17 PDs and two INTs, he has also been recognized for his ability to be a bully when facing the run. Fuller seems to be one of the best players on Chicago’s defense, and ready to prove that he is elite.
Kendall Fuller: Fuller the younger was drafted by the Washington Redskins, during the 2016 NFL Draft, in the third round. After spending two seasons with the ‘Skins he was traded to KC for QB Alex Smith and a third-round pick. Fuller is expected to have an immediate impact and start for the Chiefs.
Andrew Motuapuaka: Andrew was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent to a Jaguars defense that is considered by many to be the best in the NFL. There simply isn’t a defensive unit on JAX that isn’t riddled with stars, but the depth at LB is probably the upstart team’s largest defensive concern. Myles Jack and Telvin Smith are the clear starters and probably the most athletic pair of linebackers in the league. Blair Brown is poised to fill as the third starting LB. Motuapuaka’s ceiling will be dictated by his performance at camp. The VT homer in me wants to think he has an outside chance to make the active roster, but more realistically he will be competing for a practice squad spot and could see the active roster when the Jags need to bolster depth.
Bucky Hodges: After being drafted, by the Vikings, as the 201st overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft Bucky has found himself already associated with three teams. In September 2017 Hodges was waived by Minnesota before being signed by the Carolina Panthers, to their practice squad, two weeks later. On Halloween of 2017 he was released by the Panthers. This past April the Jets signed Bucky. At 6’6” 257 pounds Bucky could be a matchup problem for opposing defenses. Bucky is probably a longshot to make the active roster but should be very competitive for a NYJ practice squad spot.
Vinston Painter: Painter was signed by the Cardinal’s practice squad last September and spent last season bouncing between the active roster and practice squad. He has spent the last five years of his NFL career with five other teams doing that exact same thing. Expect the same merry-go-round for Vinston this year.
Sam Rogers: Rogers was waived by the Rams this past May, which comes as no surprise. He is currently an unsigned free agent, but it wouldn’t surprise If Rogers again found a place on the Rams practice squad.
Tyrod Taylor: The Buffalo Bills traded the VT all-star for a 2018 NFL Draft third round pick. Even though he set multiple Bills franchise records and led the Bills to the playoffs last year the Buffalo leadership never seemed to fully buy into Tyrod. Although Cleveland drafted Baker Mayfield with the first-round pick of the 2018 draft Tyrod is fully expected to be the starter going into 2018. I personally believe Tyrod has the chops to continue being a successful starting QB in the NFL and there could be quite the QB controversy during the Brown’s 2019 training camp.
Best of luck gentleman!