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Catching up with the Wildcats in the NFL

Take a look at where former Northwestern Wildcats are playing heading into the 2014 NFL season!

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams have set their 53-man rosters and the season is quickly approaching, so it's a good time to check in with the Northwestern Wildcats playing on Sundays. Here's a look at NU's players in the NFL:


Nick Roach, LB, Oakland - Roach is entering his 8th NFL season and his second with the Oakland Raiders. He went for 112 combined tackles last season and will start again this year at inside linebacker, now with fifth-overall pick Khalil Mack next to him in the Raiders' 3-4 defense. Roach still has two more years left on his four-year, $13 million dollar deal with Oakland.

Barry Cofield, DT, Washington - In his eight years in the NFL, Cofield has not missed a regular season game. After five years with the New York Giants and a Super Bowl title, Cofield signed a six-year deal with the Washington Redskins in 2011. He will look to get back to the 54 tackles he made in 2010 as he starts at nose tackle in Washington's 3-4.

Zach Strief, OT, New Orleans - Strief got paid in the offseason, receiving a five-year, $20 million deal from the Saints. He has spent the entirety of his NFL career in New Orleans and has started at right tackle there since 2011. Strief remains an integral piece in Drew Brees' pass protection for 2014.


Corey Wootton, DE, Minnesota - After spending the first four years of his NFL career in Chicago, Wootton signed a one-year deal with Minnesota in the offseason. He's listed as the back-up for both defensive end spots and adds more talent to the Vikings' depth in the pass rush.

Sherrick McManis, CB, Chicago - McManis has played sparingly in his four-year NFL career. In two years in Houston and two in Chicago, he's totaled 35 combined tackles in 50 games played. McManis is listed three-deep at left cornerback on the Bears' depth chart, so 2014 should be more of the same for the 26-year-old.

Corbin Bryant, DT, Buffalo - Bryant bounced around for a couple years before landing in Buffalo last season. He played a significant role, even starting in two games. Bryant is right behind starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus on the Bills' depth chart. Dareus was arrested several times in the offseason, but it looks like he won't face suspension, so Bryant is stuck as the back-up for now.

Practice Squad

Mike Kafka, QB, Tampa Bay - The Buccaneers signed Kafka to their practice squad Sunday, along with five other players. He was drafted in the 4th-round by the Eagles in 2011 but fractured his non-throwing hand in 2012 training camp. Kafka hasn't made a 53-man roster since the injury, but there's still some hope he can break out the potential Andy Reid saw in him three years ago.

Kain Colter, QB, Minnesota - The leader of the union movement was among Minnesota's final cuts, but the Vikings quickly signed Colter to their practice squad. He should be the first man Minnesota calls up in the result of an injury at receiver. The Vikings are particularly stretched at the position right now since Jerome Simpson has been suspended for the first three games of the season. If you're wondering what Colter does with his time off the field while the union push is in a lull, it looks like Colter went paint balling with Adrian Peterson and other Vikings teammates recently.

Free Agents

Rashad Lawrence, WR - Lawrence got looks from several teams in the last week. After he was cut by the Washington Redskins, the Patriots worked out 12 players, including Lawrence. However, he was not signed to the 53-man roster or practice squad.

Brian Arnfelt, DE - Arnfelt signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent last year and was eventually promoted from the practice squad to the active roster in December. However, Arnfelt was cut last Tuesday as the Steelers trimmed the roster to 75 players, and he was not signed to Pittsburgh's practice squad.

Tyler Scott, DE - There wasn't room for a third Wildcat on the Minnesota Vikings this season. Scott was cut last Monday, well before Minnesota's final preseason game and has not been signed to the practice squad. Scott was in a difficult situation trying out for Minnesota, who has a deep list of defensive ends, including former Wildcat Corey Wootton.

Marquice Cole, CB - Without a team and 30 years old is not a good combination for an NFL player. Cole's career appears to be nearing the end after 7 seasons in the league. His first two years were spent on the practice squad, but Cole played 64 games with the Jets and Patriots from 2009 to 2013.

Jeremy Ebert, WR - Ebert was among the final 10 cuts Atlanta made to get down to 53 players this weekend. The 25-year-old receiver spent time with a bunch of practice squads in 2012 before playing last season in Jacksonville. Ebert got his first three NFL receptions last season, but it looks like he won't be catching any more this year.

Jordan Mabin, CB - Also cut by the Falcons, Mabin didn't make it quite as far as Ebert when he was left off Atlanta's final 63. The 25-year-old defensive back has also bounced around, including two stints with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, and his future in the NFL seems bleak.

Al Netter, OG - After spending the last two seasons on the 49ers' practice squad, it's unlikely Netter gets an invitation back. San Francisco waived Netter as part of their final cuts, and he was not among the first seven signed to this year's practice squad.

Jeff Budzien, K - Northwestern's two-time first-team all-Big Ten kicker signed with Jacksonville after he went undrafted in April. The Jaguars released Budzien in mid-May and he has not seen action since. As automatic as he was in college, Budzien may not have the leg to play in the NFL.