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UConn in the NFL: Nine former Huskies make initial 53-man rosters

A handful of former UConn stars are lined up for big roles with their respective NFL team this year.

Atlanta Falcons v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

With NFL cutdown day having passed, nine former UConn football players are listed across the 32 teams’ initial 53-man rosters. There can always be changes, especially considering that many rosters are still in flux for the first few weeks of the season, but this is still a strong showing for the program.

Here’s who made it through the most stressful day on the NFL calendar:

QB Tim Boyle - Green Bay Packers

If Aaron Rodgers goes down this season, the Packers will be placing the offense in the hands of Tim Boyle. The Middlefield, Connecticut native beat out DeShone Kizer for the backup spot after a preseason in which Boyle went 34 of 57 with six touchdowns and no picks. Boyle spent his rookie season as the third-string passer where he didn’t appear in any games. If he throws a pass this season, he will become just the third UConn player ever to do so in the NFL, joining Dan Orlovsky and Bob Leahy (per Heart CT’s Jim Fuller).

WR Geremy Davis - Los Angeles Chargers

Davis is entering his fifth year in the NFL and his fourth with the Chargers. He’s built a reputation as a blocker and key special teamer, finishing third on the team with 13 special teams tackles last season despite only seeing action in 14 games. Davis is projected to be the Chargers’ fourth receiver, meaning this could be the year he finally breaks out as a pass catcher. He only has two career catches to his name, both of which came during his rookie season with the New York Giants.

DL Foley Fatukasi - New York Jets

After essentially redshirting his rookie season, Fatukasi had a strong camp with the Jets. Though he started preseason on the roster bubble, Fatukasi made the 53-man roster and now projects to be a part of the Jets’ defensive line rotation this season.

TE Ryan Griffin - New York Jets

Griffin will team up with Fatukasi and former UConn offensive coordinator John Dunn in New York, as the latter serves as the Jets’ tight ends coach. Griffin had a rough offseason after getting arrested for vandalism and public intoxication in Nashville during the weekend of the NFL draft before getting released by the Houston Texans shortly after. He signed with the Jets ahead of training camp and projects to be their top option at tight end for the first four weeks while Chris Herndon serves a suspension.

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

DB Byron Jones - Dallas Cowboys

After undergoing hip surgery in March, Jones missed all of training camp and was only activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Monday. However, he’s expected to be ready to play in week one for the Cowboys. Jones enters the final year of his rookie deal, so another strong year from Jones could earn him a lot of money next offseason — in Dallas or elsewhere.

DB Obi Melifonwu - New England Patriots

Melifonwu managed to crack not only one of the deepest rosters in the NFL but one of the deepest secondaries as well. After winning the Super Bowl with the Patriots last season, Melifonwu saw some time with the starters at the beginning of camp with incumbent starter Patrick Chung out with a shoulder issue. However, Melifonwu went down with an undisclosed injury of his own and missed the final two preseason games. It’s possible he ends up on short-term injured reserve and returns midway though the season.

FB Anthony Sherman - Kansas City Chiefs

Sherman is entering his ninth season in the NFL and one thing he has clearly learned in his time in the pros is how to make an entrance.

“The only way I’m going to keep up with these young kids is to ride in this,” Sherman said on his arrival.

With all the weapons on the Chiefs, Sherman should see most of his time clearing the way as a run-blocker while occasionally providing a safety blanket for quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the passing game.

DL Shamar Stephen - Minnesota Vikings

After spending last season in Seattle, Stephen is back with the Vikings — the team he played for during the first four years of his career. He missed the first few weeks of training camp with an undisclosed injury but returned prior to the second preseason game. Stephen projects to be one of the starters along Minnesota’s defense line this season.

DB Blidi Wreh-Wilson - Atlanta Falcons

Already in his seventh season in the league, Wreh-Wilson will likely be a backup cornerback for the Falcons yet again. He’s only seen action in a total of 12 games with Atlanta.

There were a handful of former Huskies that weren’t so lucky, though. Despite having UConn grad Bob Quinn as general manager, both Andrew Adams and Jamar Summers were cut from the Detroit Lions. Wide receiver Nick Williams ended up on the San Francisco 49ers injured reserve while Ryan Crozier was waived with an injury distinction from the Denver Broncos.