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Wayne Cavadi | | October 23, 2019

DII football players on 2018 NFL rosters

Manning's tackle-breaking TD headlines DII Top Plays

The NFL preseason is in the books. The final cuts have been made and the rosters are set. With Thursday's kickoff between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles looming, let's take a closer look at the 2018 NFL rosters.

Make sure you stay up to date with the latest season and check out where DII football players are playing in the 2019 season

There are 83 former DII football players on current NFL rosters, down from the 90 that opened up the 2017 season*. Some have made themselves household names, like Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler and 2017 breakout star Adam Thielen. Others are rookies simply looking for a chance, like 2018 Harlon Hill winner and national champion quarterback Luis Perez. 

MORE: A closer look at the DII top 25 | Week 1 by the numbers

Here's a closer look at former DII players on NFL rosters by the numbers:

1 --  Quarterback on a roster. That honor goes to Texas A&M-Commerce's Luis Perez. It's rare for a DII quarterback to get a chance, even if it's on the practice roster like Perez. Last year, there were no DII quarterbacks in the NFL.

MORE: Meet Luis Perez, the most interesting man in DII football

3 --  The number of players who kick a football. The Los Angeles Rams' Greg Zuerlein out of Missouri Western has a Pro Bowl appearance to his name. 

6 --  The number of former DII linebackers and running backs each in the NFL. Tiffin's Chris Ivory earned a Pro Bowl trip in 2015 with a 1,000-yard season.

6 -- NFL teams without a single DII player on its roster. The Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins had some in camp, but none made the final cut.

6 -- The number of former DII players the Indianapolis Colts roster,  tied for most in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have six apiece. 

10 -- Tight ends on NFL rosters that played DII football. Central Missouri's Delanie Walker may be the best known of the bunch.

13 -- Former defensive linemen on NFL rosters.

14 -- Wide receivers and offensive linemen on NFL rosters. West Alabama's Tyreek Hill is a star in the making, already with two All-Pro appearances, while the aforementioned Thielen is widely considered one of the better receivers in football.

17 -- The most populous positions on NFL rosters go todefensive backs. Twelve-year veteran, four-time Pro-Bowler, and former Shippensburg star Brent Grimes may be the best of the bunch.

(* Note: All rosters per Rosters included injured reserved and practice squad players and are noted in the list below. Several teams were still at 52 spots on their rosters, while others had not filled out their practice squads at the time of the release of this article. Those updates will be made as we are made aware of them. These are also current DII schools only. Though players like Janoris Jenkins of the New York Giants did play DII football, North Alabama is now an FCS program.)

Player Position School Conference
Arizona Cardinals      
Dennis Gardeck LB Sioux Falls NSIC
Will House * OL Southern Nazarene GAC
Zack Moore DE Concordia-St. Paul NSIC
Jonathan Owens (IR) S Missouri Western MIAA
Jalen Tolliver* WR Arkansas-Monticello GAC
Atlanta Falcons      
Brandon Fusco G Slippery Rock PSAC
Ryan Schraeder T Valdosta State GSC
Justin Zimmer DL Ferris State GLIAC
Baltimore Ravens      
John Brown WR Pittsburg State MIAA
Brandon Carr CB Grand Valley State GLIAC
Myles Humphrey* DE Shepherd MEC
Matthew Judon OLB Grand Valley State GLIAC
Zack Seiler DT Ferris State GLIAC
Brandon Williams DT Missouri Southern MIAA
Buffalo Bills      
Andre Holmes WR Hillsdale G-MAC
Ruben Holcomb* OL Indianapolis GLVC
Chris Ivory RB Tiffin G-MAC
Deon Lacey LB West Alabama GSC
Khari Lee TE Bowie State CIAA
Carolina Panthers      
Alex Armah RB West Georgia GSC
Amini Silatolu T Midwestern State LSC
Justin Vander Laan TE Ferris State GLIAC
Chicago Bears      
Eric Kush OG California (PA) PSAC
Adam Shaheen (IR) TE Ashland GLIAC
Cincinnati Bengals      
C.J. Goodwin* CB California (PA) PSAC
Chris Okoye (IR) DT Ferris State GLIAC
Cleveland Browns      
Desmond Harrison OL West Georgia GSC
Brady Shelton LB Ferris State GLIAC
Tavierre Thomas DB Ferris State GLIAC
Dallas Cowboys      
Jeff Heath S Saginaw Valley State GLIAC
Chris Jones P Carson-Newman SAC
Denver Broncos      
Marquette King P Fort Valley State SIAC
Jared Veldheer T Hillsdale G-MAC
Houston Texans      
Jevoni Robinson TE Barry SSC
Vyncint Smith WR Limestone SAC
Indianapolis Colts      
Tyrell Adams (IR) LB West Georgia GSC
Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood MIAA
Denzelle Good T/G Mars Hill SAC
Kenny Moore II CB Valdosta State GSC
Grover Stewart DT Albany State SIAC
J'Marcus Webb T West Texas A&M LSC
Jacksonville Jaguars      
Keelan Cole WR Kentucky Wesleyan G-MAC
Chris Reed OL Minnesota State NSIC
Kansas City Chiefs      
Tyreek Hill WR West Alabama GSC
Josh Crockett* WR Central Oklahoma MIAA
Ron Parker DB Newberry SAC
Los Angeles Chargers      
Austin Ekeler RB Western State RMAC
J.J. Jones WR West Georgia GSC
Tyrell Williams WR Western Oregon GNAC
Los Angeles Rams      
Marqui Christian S Midwestern State LSC
Morgan Fox (IR) DE Colorado State-Pueblo RMAC
Matt Longacre OLB Northwest Missouri State MIAA
Luis Perez* QB Texas A&M-Commerce LSC
Ethan Westbrooks DE West Texas A&M LSC
Greg Zuerlein K Missouri Western MIAA
Miami Dolphins      
William Hayes DE Winston-Salem State SIAC
Minnesota Vikings      
C.J. Ham RB Augustana (SD) NSIC
Adam Thielen WR Minnesota State NSIC
New York Giants      
Michael Jordan CB Missouri Western MIAA
Scott Simonson TE Assumption NE10
New York Jets      
Trenton Cannon RB Virginia State CIAA
Rontez Miles (PUP) S California (PA) PSAC
Mike Pennel DL Colorado State-Pueblo RMAC
Nathan Shepherd DL Fort Hays State MIAA
Oakland Raiders      
Paul Butler* TE California (PA) PSAC
Erik Harris S California (PA) PSAC
Seth Roberts WR West Alabama GSC
Philadelphia Eagles      
De'Vante Bausby* CB Pittsburg State MIAA
Billy Brown* TE Shepherd MEC
Tre Sullivan S Shepherd MEC
Pittsburgh Steelers      
Matt Feiler OT Bloomsburg PSAC
Marcus Tucker (IR) WR Northern Michigan GLIAC
Seattle Seahawks      
David Moore WR East Central GAC
Tampa Bay Buccaneers      
Alex Cappa OL Humboldt State GNAC
Brent Grimes CB Shippensburg PSAC
Tanner Hudson* TE Southern Arkansas GAC
Ryan Jensen C Colorado State-Pueblo RMAC
Freddie Martino WR North Greenville GSC
Leonard Webster T Missouri Western MIAA
Tennessee Titans      
Malcolm Butler CB West Alabama GSC
Jerome Cunningham* TE Southern Connecticut State NE10
Johnny Maxey (IR) DL Mars Hill GSC
Delanie Walker TE Central Missouri MIAA
* = Practice squad      

DII football programs with the most NCAA DII national championships

Here's a look at the programs that have won the most DII football national championships.

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Ferris State opened with a win to maintain the top spot, but there was certainly a shakeup in the latest DII football Power 10 rankings. Take a look, plus more than 20 players to watch for the 2022 Harlon Hill Trophy.

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