Several former Huskers and NFL wannabes are figuring out that jobs are hard to come by. The competition is ferocious and injuries are a possibility on every snap. Veteran players not only come with on field experience and polished skills, they tend to be intelligent, knowing those small things coaches are looking for in NFL players. Several great college players are finding out the business side of football can be frustratingly short.
For example, long snapper P.J. Mangieri signed with Dallas on August 11th, and then was cut August 12th. Mangieri is a great long snapper, playing in 55 consecutive games for the Nebraska Huskers, it’s hard to believe he was even given a shot during his short stay in Dallas.
Place Kicker/Punter Brett Maher signed with Dallas at the same time as Mangieri. Maher was cut from the Jets after spending one month there earlier this summer He’s battling for the Dallas kicking job with Dan Bailey, who was 29-31 FGM and 37 for 37 XPM last season. It appears Maher was brought in to provide depth at the position during camp and a small chance to compete for the job, but unless there’s an injury to Bailey it’s unlikely Maher will stick.
Linebacker Will Compton signed with the Washington Redskins as free agent in May. He played well in last nights game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and is currently listed as the number 3 line backer on the depth chart. With the Redskins playing a 3-4 defense, they have a strong need for quick strong players like Compton. His 12,000 or so twitter followers have been encouraging him.
Being selected in the annual NFL draft doesn’t come with any guarantees either. Nor does being considered one of the “good” guys in all of college football. Cincinnati RB Rex Burkhead was drafted in the sixth round and is in a three way battle with veteran NFL players for a 4th string spot on the depth chart. Burkhead has posted good numbers in the first two preseason games averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He does look the part of an NFL running back, bruising his way for a few extra yards on every carry. Huskers fans will be disappointed if he doesn’t make the team, but in the NFL there are no guarantees.
Safety Daimion Stafford was also selected in the NFL draft (7th round) by the Tennessee Titans. He’s missed some practice recently with a hamstring issue but appears to be well on the way to making the team. He’s a tough, hard hitting safety and should spend plenty of time on special teams in his rookie season.
Keep an eye out for updates on former Huskers in the NFL here at the Husker Corner.