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Minnesota Football: Gophers in the NFL—Preseason Edition

23 Gophers started training camp on NFL rosters!

NFL: AUG 13 Preseason - Dolphins at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the 2022 college football season creeps ever closer, so does the 2022 NFL season. Minnesota has (as far as I can remember) a record 23 players in NFL training camps to start the fall. Now, obviously not all 23 will end the preseason on an active NFL roster, or even earn a practice squad spot, but you can definitely tell that PJ Fleck has increased the talent level at the University of Minnesota over the past few seasons. Here is a look at where the 22 ex-Gophers started camp, how they have done in any preseason action thus far, and a percentage chance as of now that they start the season on the active NFL roster barring injury.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Antoine Winfield Jr—CB

Tyler Johnson—WR

Ko Kieft—TE

The Bucs lead the way with a trio of former Gophers in camp, two players who are in their third years in the NFL, and a rookie who has taken Tampa by storm. Antoine Winfield has not played much in the preseason, but that’s because he doesn’t need to. He’s an obvious starter on the Bucs D and was just ranked by NFL Network as the 75th best player in the league.

Johnson has looked good in camp as he tries to win the 4th WR spot in Tampa once again. In their preseason opener Johnson had 7 targets, 6 catches, 73 yards as he looks to beat out free agent signing Russel gage.

Meanwhile just like in Dinkytown, Ko Kieft has won over another fanbase by just kicking ass. Kieft had several gorgeous blocks in the Bucs preseason opener and the surprise 6th round selection seems on his way to sticking with the team this fall.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Winfield 100%

Johnson 90%

Kieft 75%

Houston Texans

Eric Murray—S

Blake Cashman- LB

Seth Green -TE

Houston is another team with a trio of former Gophers in camp. Eric Murray signed a two-year extension with the Texans in the offseason to the dismay of many Houston fans. The former Gopher cornerback has been in Houston the past three seasons and has had an up and down tenure as a safety. He currently sits second on the depth chart at safety behind rookie Jalen Pitre, so will need to keep up his play the rest of the preseason to make sure he doesn’t end up a salary cap cut.

Blake Cashman signed with Houston in the offseason after a disappointing three years with the new York Jets that were full of injuries. He’s fighting for a roster spot and currently sits third on the depth chart at middle linebacker despite looking great in the Texans preseason opener last week.

Former Gopher all-purpose offensive player and Houston tight end Seth green is in camp with the Texans as well. he is well back on the TE depth chart for the Texans and frankly is playing for tape to try and somehow end up on someone’s practice squad.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Murray 75%

Cashman 50%

Green 0%

Baltimore Ravens

Rashod Bateman—WR

Danielle Faalele—OT

Both ex-Gophers have looked good early in camp for Baltimore. With the trade of Marqueis Brown in the offseason Bateman has a good chance to slide into the #1 WR role for Baltimore this season. Meanwhile Faalele has looked good in the preseason opener. He is still working into NFL shape but will definitely make the Ravens roster and has the potential to work his way into the lineup early in the season if he continues to improve.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Bateman 100%

Faalele 100%

Carolina Panthers

Kamal Martin-LB

Damien Wilson-LB

A pair of ex-Gopher linebackers is working hard to make the Panthers final roster cuts. Wilson came over in the offseason after playing a year ago in Jacksonville and is slotted into a starting spot for the Panthers. into the first preseason game the other former Gopher Kamal Martin was slated as Wilson’s backup. But unfortunately the injury bug has once again hit Martin. After starting off his NFL career with a bang in his first camp in Green Bay, he hurt his knee and missed a good chuck of the season. After being cut by the Packers Martin signed in Carolina last season and worked his way from the practice squad to the active roster for 6 games. Unfortunately Martin was waved by Carolina earlier this week with an IR designation. He can try and latch on with another team, and had a good chance at being a midseason pickup by someone if his injury is not too great, but it appears he won’t start the season on an NFL roster.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Wilson 100%

Martin 0%

Tennessee Titans

LB Jack Gibbons

CB Chris Williamson

A pair of ex-Gophers started camp with the Titans, but just one remains. Jack Gibbons has had a great camp as a UDFA signing by Tennessee. He led the team with 9 tackles in their preseason opener and looked good on special teams as well. He recieved great praise from Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel; “Dr. Gibby is smart. He’s picked up the defense very well. It’s going to be fun to watch him play in [preseason opener],” said Wrabel. “He puts everyone in line. He knows exactly what to do. He can help other people. He’s always around football. That’s what we saw last year while watching the film in Minnesota.”

If he can’t land a roster spot he seems like an obviousl choice for a practice squad spot somewhere.

On the other side is Chris Williamson who has flirted around the fringle of the NFL the past few seasons. Williamson was waived last week by Tennessee with an injury designation and is looking to catch on elsewhere in a camp.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Gibbons 25%

Williamson 0%

Minnesota Vikings

Esezi Otemewo-DE

A 5th round pick of the Vikings, Esezi struggled a bit in the Vikings first preseason game against the Los Vegas Raiders and has work to do to make the roster. He’s one of seven defenseive lineman competing for three or so spots in the roster, and probably sits in the 5th spot as of today. He can make up the grown over the next two weeks, but it may be a practice squad spot in the future for the former Gopher.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Otemewo 10%

Miami Dolphins

Blaise Andries-OL

The former anchor of the Gopher offensive line signed a UDFA contract with the Dolphins last spring. He made a splash with an impressive WWE style act early in camp, but hasn’t made quite the impact on the field.

Andries played just three snaps for the Dolphins in their preseason opener and has a lot of work to do to try and climb up the depth chart. He’s currently a third string left guard on the depth chart heading into Preseason game #2.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Andries 5%

Chicago Bears

Micah Dew-Treadway-DL

The Chicago native signed a UDFA deal with his hometown team in the spring and has looked good early in camp. He’s listed as the backup nose tackle on the early depth chart and recorded a game sealing sack in their preseason opener. He still has lots of work to do, but he could be right on the cut bubble as the Bears will need to make some tough decisions.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Dew-Treadway 20%

Green Bay Packers

De’vondre Campbell-LB

One of the best linebackers in the NFL a season ago, Campbell resigned with the Packers on a massive deal and will be a thorn to deal with in the NFC North for some time.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Campbell 100%

Washington Commanders

Benjamin St. Juste—CB

St, Juste enters his second year in the league after a rookie year with some ups and downs. He had some great games, but dealt with injury issues as well. He didn’t play in the team’s preseason opener with hamstring tightness but has made the case to potentially start at one of the Commander’s CB spots in 2022.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

St, Juste 100%

Seattle Seahawks

Boye Mafe-DE

Mafe wasted no time showing why he might be a darkhorse pick for defensive rookie of the year this season. He started his career off with a bang with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble. He will most likely start for a rebuilding Seattle team and could be really really good.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Mafe 100%

Jacksonville Jaguars

Ryan Santoso-K

After a few years of bouncing around the NFL Santoso appears to have finally won himself a starting job. He is the only kicker left to Jacksonville’s roster after the other candidate was cut on Monday. Now the Jags may go looking on the waiver wire after final cuts as there are always a few kickers available, but for now Santoso is the starting kicker in Duval.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Santoso 85%

New York Giants

Carter Coughlin—LB

The former Gopher star rush end is back at his natural linebacker position in the Meadowlands this fall. He currently is slated to be a backup inside linebacker for the Giants and will feature on special teams as well. While not guaranteed a roster spot, he feels relatively safe.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Coughlin 90%

San Francisco 49ers

Sam Schuleter-OT

Schlueter signed as a UDFA in the spring and like fellow rookie OL Blaise Andries went viral featuring a Stone Cold Steve Austin gag in training camp.

He played 35 snaps on the first preseason game for the 49ers and will see a similar count in the game this weekend at US Bank Stadium against the Vikings one would expect. He’s currently the third string LT and most likely like Andres is fighting for a practice squad spot, but only time will tell.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Schuleter 5%

Arizona Cardinals

Maxx Williams-TE

Williams is looking for a bounce back 2022 after suffering a season ending knee injury a year ago. He was off to a great start to his 2021 season before it all was taken away from him. Williams started camp on the PUP list, but was activated two weeks ago and started 11 on 11 work earlier this week. Williams was receiving high praise from Kliff Kingsbury and should have a roster spot locked down once he returns from his injury. Whether thats in time for Week 1—will be a question.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Williams By Week 1 10% By Week 4 100%

New York Jets

Chris Streveler-QB

Streveler signed with the Jets after several seasons as Kyler Murray’s backup in Arizona. He was slated as the Jet’s 4th qb headed into the preseason opener but after an injury to Zach Wilson saw more time and let the Jets back with two TDs in the fourth quarter for a win. Stuck behind Wilson, Joe Flacco and Mike White on the depth cart his chances of making the roster are not great. Maybe if the Jets keep 3 qbs and with Wilson questionable for Week 1. But Streveler most likely will get cut and will need to see if he can catch on elsewhere during the season.

Chances to make the final 53 man roster:

Streveler 2%

Good luck to all the Gophers as the cut down from 85 to 80 players happens by August 23rd then from 80 to 53 by August 30th. We will have another look at how the Gophers are looking as we near the August 30th date.