The NFL season starts tonight. That means we’ve got a chance to see numerous former UConn football stars in action as this nation’s most popular sports league gets underway.
Though only four Huskies have been picked in the NFL Draft since 2016, UConn players are finding a way in via the undrafted route, and three of those four drafted players are still in the league. Below are the latest updates on where you can find the former Huskies in the NFL.
Fatukasi is entering his sixth season after signing a three-year $30 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The defensive end was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Jets where he played for four years. Fatukasi had his best season in 2021 where he racked up a career-high of 46 total tackles during the season. In his first year with the Jags, the former Husky played in a total of 14 games (starting 13) and finished the season with 24 total tackles.
After a solid rookie season, Travis Jones looks to keep the momentum going in 2023. After the defensive lineman was drafted 76th overall in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens last year, he played in a total of 15 games finishing the season with 24 total tackles (10 solo) and proving to be a solid addition to the Raven’s defense. This year, Jones will look to help Baltimore make a run for the AFC North and win the AFC. He is the earliest draft pick among active Huskies.
Burns recently signed with the Bears’ practice squad. After initially being cut, the fullback will remain in Chicago for the time being. Burns was an undrafted free agent who saw the field during the Bears’ preseason games against the Panthers and Bills. The rookie recorded 8 carries for 39 yards, but fumbled on one of the receptions. He also had 3 catches for 15 yards against Carolina. In the game against Buffalo, he had two catches for 7 yards. With it just being his rookie season, Burns still has a lot to prove but could still find himself moving up from the practice squad onto the field as a versatile back.
Ryan Van Demark
We noted Van Demark earlier this summer that it looked like Van Demark had a chance to make the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent from the 2022 class. The offensive lineman survived final cuts for the Bills and will be playing in his first official NFL season this year for the AFC contenders.
After not making a mark over the last two years, Peart will look to bounce back in his fourth season with the New York Giants. The offensive lineman was drafted 99th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft with the hopes of being a well-need addition to the Giants’ offensive line. But injuries and sub-optimal performances have hampered Peart’s career, and many look at this upcoming season as make or break for the Jamaica native.
Despite going undrafted this past year, Bouyer-Randle signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The linebacker arrived at Storrs as a graduate transfer where he played a total of 13 games and recorded 98 tackles (34 solo), two interceptions, and a sack. With the former Husky being signed to the Buccaneers’ practice squad, he will look to earn a spot on the official roster and hopefully see some playing time this season.
Boyle was recently announced to the Jets’ practice squad. With the addition of Aaron Rodgers to New York, Boyle was one of the last-minute cuts by the Jets in order to make some roster space, but it doesn’t mean he won’t be called up anytime during this season. During four preseason games, the 28-year-old quarterback completed 37-of-56 passes for a total of 358 yards and finished with a 92.7 QB rating. The former Husky shined in the fourth quarter where he threw for a combined total of 4 fourth-quarter touchdowns. Though he’s on the practice squad, if injuries affect the Jets, he could see some playing time this season.
Davis is entering his fourth year as a tight end in the NFL and his third with the Green Bay Packers. During his time at UConn, Davis arrived as a quarterback but eventually moved over to tight end before transferring to Georgia Tech. After being selected in the sixth round of the 2020 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was later waived and ended up in Green Bay. Although he hasn’t seen much playing time, Davis was shaping up to be a prime option for the Packers at TE. However, after suffering an ACL tear in Green Bay’s game against the Bengals, he will not have a 2023 season.
Beavers is another former Husky who has found himself cut from an NFL roster and on a practice squad. The linebacker is entering his second year with the Giants after being drafted in the sixth round last year. Many picked Beavers to be a lock for the starting line-backer position coming into last season, but an ACL tear ruined his chances. Even though he’s spent the past off-season recovering, the linebacker has found himself being outperformed by other linebackers like Micah McFadden. Now on the practice squad, Beavers is facing an uphill battle to see the field.
Lucien transferred to Vanderbilt from UConn and then started his pro journey as an undrafted free agent. He signed with the Ravens and is on their practice squad.