It used to be hard to find former UW players in the NFL … not anymore
LARAMIE -- Remember a time when it was hard to find a Wyoming Cowboy playing in an NFL game?
Rarely was John Wendling, Derrick Martin or Adam Goldberg on television. Same goes for Chris Prosinski and Marqueston Huff. We got to see Malcom Floyd at least twice a year when the Chargers and Broncos met.
Patrick Chukwurah played in Denver for four seasons. That was a thrill for the locals.
Now, there are 15 former Pokes littering the NFL landscape. Fifteen! Think about that for a second. Did you ever see that coming?
These 15 guys aren't just protecting the water cooler, either.
Sunday, these Cowboys -- Josh Allen, Jacob Hollister, Marcus Epps, Logan Wilson and Brian Hill, among others -- were some of the best players on the field.
Here's the proof:
QB-Josh Allen-Buffalo Bills
The Josh Allen haters got really quiet last week. Now, they are apologizing. This kid from little ol' Wyoming might just be pretty good. For the third straight week, the Bills' gunslinger surpassed the 300-yard passing mark. For the second week in a row, he tossed four touchdown passes. Oh, and remember all the folks who screamed from the mountain tops that he will never be an accurate passer? How does that 71.1 percentage look now? Here's Allen's stat line after yet another fourth-quarter comeback win Sunday over the visiting Rams: 1,038 yards passing, 10 touchdown passes to go along with two more on the ground. By the way, Buffalo is 3-0.
RB-Brian Hill-Atlanta Falcons
Last week in this spot, we pleaded with the Falcons to run the ball more. Sunday, they did just that. Brian Hill, who had just six carries entering the matchup with the Bears, toted the rock nine times Sunday. You know what didn't change though? The Falcons blowing a double-digit lead. Let's stick to the good stuff. Hill had a sweet 35-yard touchdown run the second quarter where he blew through the line before cutting back across the field and outracing the Bears' secondary. It's in the video above. Hill finished with 58 yards on the ground. He also caught a pass for 22 yards.
TE-Jacob Hollister-Seattle Seahawks
One of Josh Allen's favorite targets in Laramie, Jacob Hollister, caught just one pass for one yard in Sunday's 38-31 victory over visiting Dallas. Not very impressive, right? Well, he made the most of that grab, scoring a late touchdown to extend the Seahawks' lead. Last week we said Russell Wilson was tossing touchdowns to everyone not names Hollister. He checked that one off the list. Hollister has just two catches for 10 yards through two games. Expect that to get amped up once defenses figure out Wilson loves to throw it deep -- a lot.
S-Marcus Epps-Philadelphia Eagles
I hope this former Cowboy stays off social media. Philadelphia is a tough town -- even with no fans in the stands. While Marcus Epps has been on the wrong side of plenty of comments from the Philly faithful (who hasn't?), Sunday, he made a touchdown-saving play that led to a Bengals' field goal, which eventually led to overtime and a tie. Epps had just one tackle and that pass deflection, but it's a major step in the right direction for the former Wyoming walk-on.
LB-Logan Wilson-Cincinnati Bengals
It's no surprise to any of us that Logan Wilson has a knack for takeaways. In Laramie, "The Governor" picked off 10 career passes. Sunday, he snagged his first in the NFL off former Craig Bohl quarterback, Carson Wentz. Not only did Wilson tally an interception, he had his best day as a pro, racking up five tackles in the tie in Philly.
S-Tashaun Gipson-Chicago Bears
First off, raise your hand if you thought the Bears would be 3-0 at this point? Liar. Anyway, less surprising is that former UW safety Tashaun Gipson picked off a pass. His fourth-quarter pick yesterday in Atlanta was the 24th of his nine-year NFL career. With the Falcons driving late, Matt Ryan chucked a ball into basically triple coverage. Gipson simply played center field and came up with the grab to secure the win for the visitors.
S-Andrew Wingard-Jacksonville Jaguars
No. 42 didn't play much in the second half of Thursday night's 31-13 setback against in-state rival Miami. Andrew Wingard suffered a groin injury, according to the team website. Before leaving the tilt, Wingard was credited with three tackles. Good news, though, the long-haired wild man is scheduled to practice Monday and should get the green light for Week 4. So far this season Wingard has 14 tackles and an interception.
DE-Carl Granderson-New Orleans Saints
The Pokes' former quarterback crusher broke up an Aaron Rodgers' pass in the first quarter for Sunday night's 37-30 home loss to the Packers. That was it for the big man's stat line because he went down on the Supderdome turf with an injury. He went into the medical tent and later returned to the sideline. Carl Granderson has three tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and that pass deflection on his resume this season.
NT-Mike Purcell-Denver Broncos
While the Broncos might be in a complete free fall as a team, one bright spot has been the defense. More specifically, the run stoppers. And that all begins with former Cowboy Mike Purcell. Tampa Bay rushed for just 68 yards on 25 carries Sunday in a 28-10 win in the Mile High City. That's an average of just 2.7 yards per rush. Purcell was in on two tackles, giving him eight on the season to go along with a sack.
C-Chase Roullier-Washington Football Team
It took seven Washington ball carriers, but the team with no name did eclipse the 100-yard mark on the ground for the second consecutive week. Unfortunately, Dwayne Haskins was also on his back three times in Sunday's 34-20 loss to the Browns. That' 10 sacks in the first three weeks. Obviously, those aren't all the fault -- if any -- of Chase Roullier, but that's how an offensive line can be graded as a whole.
Eddie Yarbrough (DE-Minnesota Vikings), Rico Gafford (WR-Las Vegas Raiders), Mark Nzeocha (LB-San Francisco 49ers), Cassh Maluia (LB-New England Patriots) and Tyler Hall (DB-Atlanta Falcons) are all on the active roster but failed to record any stats Sunday.