NFL teams have made their cuts and the 53-man rosters are set ahead of the first Sunday of the 2018 season with 12 Division III players scattered throughout the league, which is five more than last year’s rosters.
Wide receiver has the most Division III players of any position with three, highlighted by 11-year pro and the 2013 NFL receptions leader Pierre Garcon of the San Francisco 49ers. There are two players at tight end and two on the offensive line.
Of the 12 NFL representatives of current Division III programs, three are listed as rookies and the other six have experience ranging from one to 11 seasons, averaging more than five seasons.
The Raiders are the only team with multiple former Division III players on their roster after the 49ers announced Thursday that they released Frostburg State alum Niles Scott, who initially made the practice squad as a rookie out of camp.
Garcon, a former Mount Union Raider (2005-08), is easily the most recognizable former Division III athlete in the NFL. Entering his 12th season, Garcon played for the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins before joining the 49ers, and has accumulated 7,568 yards on 604 receptions with 37 touchdowns in his career.
Former Hobart offensive lineman Ali Marpet has been a sturdy force for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after they made Marpet their second-round pick in 2015. Tramaine Brock of the Denver Broncos is in his 10th season and Derek Carrier of the Oakland Raiders is entering his seventh.
Former Mary Haydin-Baylor player Jerrell Freeman announced his retirement from the Chicago Bears in the offseason after six NFL seasons.
Below are the former Division III players who are on NFL rosters as of Sept. 7. Players on injured reserve list or the practice squad are noted as such. This list reflects players from colleges or universities that are currently Division III programs.
|Arizona Cardinals||Jeremy Vujnovich||OL||Louisiana College|
|Atlanta Falcons||Matt Gono||T||Wesley|
|Chicago Bears||Michael Joseph*||CB||Univ. of Dubuque|
|Denver Broncos||Tramaine Brock||DB||Belhaven|
|Green Bay Packers||Jack Kumerow*||WR||Wisconsin-Whitewater|
|Minnesota Vikings||Brandon Zylstra||WR||Concordia-Moorhead|
|New Orleans Saints||Dan Arnold||TE||Wisconsin-Platteville|
|New York Giants||Alex Tanney||QB||Monmouth (Ill.) College|
|Oakland Raiders||Derek Carrier||TE||Beloit|
|San Francisco 49ers||Pierre Garcon||WR||Mount Union|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Ali Marpet||OL||Hobart|
|* = IR/practice squad|