As NFL teams make their final roster cuts, some players are seeing their professional dreams realized while others are going to have to take the hard road back onto a roster as a free agent during the season or potentially practice team player.
Some recent UConn graduates were cut and will be eligible for practice squads, and then 14 players are on active rosters across the league.
DL B.J. McBryde - San Francisco 49ers
McBryde was an undrafted free agent in 2015 and was signed by the 49ers on July 29, 2016 after spending time with both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, San Francisco has a lot of defensive line depth and he was stuck underneath it.
S Andrew Adams - NY Giants
Adams was also an undrafted free agent, but he was in his first training camp this year. He was picked up by the Giants and had 11 solo tackles over the preseason, in addition to two passes defended, with an interception in week three and forced a fumble in week four. Despite a fairly productive preseason, he was unable to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
WR Geremy Davis - NY Giants
Davis was a sixth-round pick of the New York Giants in 2015, finishing with two receptions for 21 yards in his rookie year. He had a hamstring injury during training camp and could not recover, leading to his release. He is the first member of the 2015 Giants draft class to be cut but may catch on somewhere else.
DL Kenton Adeyemi - Cleveland Browns
Adeyemi was an undrafted free agent in 2016, was signed by the Bears on May 16 and then waived on June 16. The Browns picked him up on August 5 but Adeyemi couldn’t catch on in Cleveland.
Reserve/Physically Unable To Perform:
WR Marcus Easley - Buffalo Bills
Perennially tabbed by Bills, Easley is a perennial preseason breakout candidate and hopeful for Bills fans, but simply can’t seem to catch any luck on the injury front. After missing his first two seasons with a knee injury and then a heart ailment, he saw scant playing time before blowing out his knee again late in the 2015 season.
Though he has not yet fully recovered from the injury, the Bills have placed him on the PUP list, where he can be activated as early as Week 6, when he will start counting towards the 53-man roster limit.
Despite failing to break through as a receiver, Easley has established himself as a special teams force, making Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro Special Teams in 2014.
On 53-man Rosters:
RB Jordan Todman - Indianapolis Colts
Picked in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by the Chargers, Todman bounced around for a couple of years before finding some stability with the Jaguars from 2012-2014. The Jaguars did not retain his services after a 2014 season in which he played in all 16 games, carrying the ball 32 times for 186 yards and adding 198 yards receiving while also returning 38 kicks for 972 yards.
Todman spent 2015 with the Steelers before signing a one-year deal with Indianapolis this past March. He’ll likely be the third option behind Frank Gore and former New England Patriot Stevan Ridley for the Colts.
LB Sio Moore - Indianapolis Colts
A former third-round pick of the Raiders, where he spent the first two years of his career, Sio Moore was traded to the Colts before the 2015 season. He suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason and is currently listed as week-to-week but is expected to take on a larger role in 2016, potentially as a starting inside linebacker.
CB Darius Butler - Indianapolis Colts
A former second-round pick by the Patriots, Butler has been with the Colts since 2012. He has provided depth and made the occasional start for the secondary during his time in Indianapolis, and figures to do the same in 2016.
OL Will Beatty - New York Giants
Beatty spent six up-and-down years with the Giants since being drafted by New York in the 2nd round of the 2009 Draft. The Giants released him after last season, but re-signed him five days before final roster cuts. Beatty could be a starter this season based on the current depth at the position.
WR Nick Williams - Atlanta Falcons
Williams was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014 after spending some time on the practice squad and appearing in five games in 2013. He signed with the Falcons before the 2015 season, catching 17 balls for 159 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games.
QB Dan Orlovsky - Detroit Lions
The longest-tenured Husky in the NFL and best quarterback in UConn history has been able to make a steady living as a backup. Now on his second stint with the Lions, Orlovsky appeared in two games last year backing up Matt Stafford.
CB Robert McClain - Carolina Panthers
McClain completed an incredible comeback onto an NFL roster by starting in the Super Bowl for the Panthers last year after starting the season unemployed. He’ll be a slot corner for the reigning NFC Champions this year.
TE Ryan Griffin - Houston Texans
Griffin has been with the Texas since being picked by the franchise in the 6th round of the 2013 draft. He had his most productive season as a pro last year, catching 20 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns in just nine games before going down with an injury. He could have a breakout 2016 as his role continues to grow in that offense.
DB Byron Jones - Dallas Cowboys
One of just two first-round picks in program history, Jones’ stock exploded after his record-breaking performance in the 2015 NFL Combine. As a rookie, Jones had a solid season which saw him play all over the secondary.
In his second season, Jones is expected to play more exclusively at safety, where many view him as a future cornerstone of the Cowboy defense.
CB Dwayne Gratz - Jacksonville Jaguars
Gratz finds himself on the week one roster, but will need to perform well in order to stay on the team once Jaguars nickle corner Aaron Colvin returns from suspension.
Once a starter, Gratz needed a strong camp to even make it through earlier rounds of cuts. He will likely start the season as a reserve player, but could see time in the slot.
Kendall Reyes - Washington Redskins
Arguably one of the best pass-rushers in school history, Reyes was a second-round pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 2012 draft. He had a very successful rookie season, collecting 5.5 sacks and 17 tackles while earning All-Rookie honors from ESPN.
But after a head coaching change, Reyes struggled to fit into the new scheme and fell down the depth chart. He signed with Washington this offseason with the hope that he could match the success of his first two seasons.
DT Shamar Stephen - Minnesota Vikings
Despite facing long odds as a seventh-round pick in 2014, Stephen made the team out of training camp and has seen success as a run-stopping defensive tackle.
After a strong start to his second season, Stephen injured his toe in week six and was subsequently placed on injured reserve. This year, Stephen has drawn praise from players and coaches alike for his technique and toughness in the trenches. He will provide depth and potentially be a rotational player at defensive tackle.
FB Anthony Sherman - Kansas City Chiefs
While he may not play the sexiest position on the field, Sherman has quietly developed into one of the best NFL players to come out of UConn. After two years in Arizona, Sherman has found his niche as a run blocker with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Sherman has experienced moderate success as a pass-catcher in the past but seems to be shifting to a pure blocking role, as indicated by only catching four passes on five targets last season.
S Tyvon Branch - Arizona Cardinals
In his ninth season in the NFL, Branch inked a two-year deal with Arizona this past offseason. He will likely see a decent number of snaps at safety with Tyrann Mathieu being deployed in a variety of roles on defense.
Branch was originally a fourth-round pick in the 2008 draft by the Oakland Raiders, where he spent the next seven seasons. In 2015, he signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs and performed well enough to earn $5 million guaranteed with the Cardinals.