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N(U)FL: A Peek At Northwestern Alumni On NFL Rosters

Barry Cofield, doing his part to injure Michael Vick and assure fellow NU alum Mike Kafka of playing time.
Barry Cofield, doing his part to injure Michael Vick and assure fellow NU alum Mike Kafka of playing time.

It's time for preseason football! You know what that means: former Northwestern football players across the country are deluding themselves into believing they can make the cut and achieve regular season NFL glory.

I've saved them the trouble: I took a moment to catch up with the 15 former Cats currently on NFL rosters to look at how likely it is that they make their respective rosters to keep you guys from having to watch the fourth quarters of meaningless preseason games.

Hit the jump to read about the Pro Cats and how they're likely to fare. Let's put it this way: there's going to be some interesting preseason camp battles deciding the professional futures of more than a couple of ex-Cats over the next few weeks, so I'll be paying attention.

Dudes who are definitely gonna play a bunch

Trai Essex, Pittsburgh Steelers: Trai is pencilled in as the starting left tackle for Pittsburgh, meaning he'll be protecting Ben Roethlisberger. Wait, does he have to protect Ben Roethlisberger? Dude's a jerk. Backup and second-round pick Mike Adams is giving him a run for his starting spot, though.

Barry Cofield, Washington Redskins: He's the starter in Washington at nose tackle. Cofield has yet to bust out the taser dance while playing for the Redskins, despite three sacks last year, so that's really the most important thing to look for.

Nick Roach, Chicago Bears: Nick is currently manning the middle linebacker role for Chicago as Brian Urlacher is hurt - Bears fans are wondering if perhaps they should get used to him there. Once Urlacher gets back, Roach will either slide into a reserve role or stick out out at one of the other linebacker slots as the Bears' depth chart suggests. Also, did anybody notice how I put "Roach" after "Kafka"? I sure did, and I'm patting myself on the back for it.

Dudes vying for playing time

Mike Kafka, Philadelphia Eagles: Everybody's favorite crazy-legged quarterback with the name of a Czech author is having some struggles in Iggles' camp. He came into the year as the likely backup to Michael Vick, but broke his non-throwing hand in a game where he struggled, going 5-for-9 for only 31 yards and a pick while backup Nick Foles tossed two touchdowns. Now, Foles is playing as the second-stringer while Kafka is on the sidelines. Nick Foles is a jerk and I hate him. Hopefully Kafka can redeem himself upon his return to play and stake his claim as Vick's No. 2.

Zach Strief, New Orleans Saints: Strief is currently the backup at right tackle behind Charles Brown, who was drafted in the second round in 2010.

Corey Wootton, Chicago Bears: Wootton is listed as second string on the Bears' depth chart behind Israel Idonije alongside Shea McClellin. McClellin is Wootton's, and therefore, SoP's, mortal enemy not only because they're fighting for a spot on the depth chart, but also because the Boise State rookie is wearing Wootton's 99. A jerk of the highest order. Anyway, Wootton can hopefully win playing tim in his third NFL season by doing stuff in practice like this:

Or by continuing to just sack Brett Favre, year-in, year-out.

Sherrick McManis, Houston Texas: McManis is listed at third-string for the Texans, and Texans fans seem to think the former fifth-rounder is safe.

Dudes tryina make the cut

Marquice Cole, New England Patriots: Cole had himself a nice little niche as a gunner on the Jets playing spot minutes at cornerback. Like A MILLION OTHER PEOPLE WHO ALL TURNED OUT TO BE SUCCESSFUL, Cole has now gone to the Jets' division rival, where he might make the roster as a special teams ace. If he does, I will have to root against him.

Jeremy Ebert, New England Patriots: The Pats' seventh-rounder seems likely to go the way of the practice squad on a team laden with WR depth - so much WR depth, he's listed as "other" on the team's depth chart. Sadly, Cole and Ebert are practically fighting for a roster spot: if the team keeps an extra DB, they'll probably take one less WR. Ebert nabbed one catch for four yards in the team's preseason opener.

Drake Dunsmore, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dunsmore is really battling for a chance to be a third- or fourth-string tight end job in Tampa Bay, and might make the cut. But he also might not. He reeled in a catch for two yards in Tampa Bay's first preseason game, so, preseason!

Corbin Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers: Bryant was a practice squadder who got into one game for the Gotham City Rogues, only to see the entire field get blown up under his feet. Behind the Steel Curtain thinks he'll be on the practice squad again

Tyrell Sutton, Seattle Seahawks: After a few years in Carolina followed by a year out of the league, the best running back in recent Northwestern memory is on a squad in Seattle. They haven't released a depth chart, but he's projected as a fourth stringer behind Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, and Leon Washington. At the very least, he can hope to make the roster if Lynch earns a suspension for a DUI accrued over the summer, and maybe even stick regardless. He had two carries and a reception in Seattle's first preseason game.

Yeah, nah

Zeke Markshausen, Kansas City Chiefs: The Syndrome teetered on and off the Chiefs' practice squad roster last season, never staying there for more than a week. He's back on their training camp roster, but at the end of the day he's 5-foot-10 and not that fast.

Andrew Brewer, Green Bay Packers: Brew had a brief tryout with the Eagles, and was cut, and is now having a tryout with the Packers. He seems to have more of an NFL chance than Markshausen, but whatever. In weird news, it seems he's now going by "Andy".

Al Netter, San Francisco 49ers: NU's multi-year starting left tackle is now San Fran's fourth-string right guard. Not a lot of fourth-string right guards in the league.

Jordan Mabin, Baltimore Ravens: Maybe you're also enthusiastic about Jordan Mabin's odds as a fourth-string CB. Not a great year for undrafted NU free agents.

John Gill, FA: I just wanted to point out that the Eagles are really jerks:


That's two Northwestern players signed and released in no time. Teases.


Kevin Bentley: The linebacker bounced around the league last year, eventually retiring at years' end.

Luis Castillo: The former first-round pick is in limbo after being released by the Chargers this offseason. He chose to re-sign with San Diego when his mega-contract ran out this offseason, picking them other teams like the Patriots, but was released only a few months later for undisclosed reasons. Injury concerns after he got hurt in the season-opener last year are likely, and the defensive end hasn't yet signed with anybody.

Ike Ndukwe: The offensive lineman isn't on a team right now after a brief stint with the Chargers last year.

So, I don't think I missed any. Did I?