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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | September 4, 2019

2019 NFL Rosters: Every DII player who made the 53-man cut

A deflection TD catch like you've never seen in DII Championship game

The 2019 NFL season is here. Former Ashland and DII football star tight end Adam Shaheen will be on the field opening night Sept. 5 when his Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers to kick off the 2019 season. Let's take a look at the former DII football players on 2019 NFL rosters.

OPENING WEEKEND SCHEDULE: The complete guide to the first weekend of DII football

The complete list of DII football players on NFL rosters

(NOTE: All rosters are strictly players on the active 53-man rosters on NFL.com as of Tuesday, Sept. 3. We will continue to revisit practice squad players prior to opening kickoff.)

Team Player Position School
Arizona Cardinals Dennis Gardeck LB Sioux Falls
Atlanta Falcons John Cominsky DE Charleston (WV)
Baltimore Ravens Brandon Carr DB GVSU
  Matthew Judon LB GVSU
  Seth Roberts WR West Alabama
  Brandon Williams DT Missouri Southern
Buffalo Bills John Brown WR Pittsburg State
Carolina Panthers Alex Armah FB West Georiga
  Brandon Zylstra * WR Augustana (SD) *
Chicago Bears Adam Shaheen TE Ashland
Cleveland Browns Eric Kush G Cal (Pa)
  Tavierre Thomas DB Ferris State
Dallas Cowboys C.J. Goodwin CB Cal (Pa)
  Jeff Heath S Saginaw Valley State
  Chris Jones P Carson-Newman
Denver Broncos De'Vante Bausby CB Pittsburg State
Detroit Lions Dee Virgin CB West Alabama
Indianapolis Colts Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood
  Kenny Moore II DB Valdosta State
  E.J. Speed LB Tarleton State
  Grover Stewart DT Albany State
Jacksonville Jaguars Keelan Cole WR Kentucky Wesleyan
  Matthew Orzech LS Azusa Pacific
Kansas City Chiefs Tyreek Hill WR West Alabama
Los Angeles Chargers Austin Ekeler RB Western Colorado
  Trey Pipkins T Sioux Falls
Los Angeles Rams Marqui Christian S Midwestern State
  Morgan Fox DE CSU-Pueblo
  Greg Zuerlein K Missouri Western
Miami Dolphins Deon Lacey LB West Alabama
  Chris Reed C/G Minnesota State
Minnesota Vikings C.J. Ham FB Augustana (SD)
  Adam Thielen WR Minnesota State
New England Patriots Gunner Olszewski WR Bemidji State
New Orleans Saints Deonte Harris WR Assumption
New York Giants Corey Ballentine CB Washburn
New York Jets Trenton Cannon RB Virginia State
  Rontez Miles S Cal (PA)
  Nathan Shepherd DL Fort Hays State
Oakland Raiders Denzelle Good G/T Mars Hill
  Erik Harris S Cal (Pa)
  Tyrell Williams WR Western Oregon
Pittsburgh Steelers Matt Feiler OT Bloomsburg
Seattle Seahawks David Moore WR East Central (OK)
Tampa Bay Bucs Tanner Hudson TE Southern Arkansas
  Ryan Jensen C CSU-Pueblo
  Zach Triner LS Assumption
Tennessee Titans Malcolm Butler CB West Alabama
  Delanie Walker TE Central Missouri

* = Zylstra played just his redshirt-freshman season with the Vikings before transferring to DIII Concordia College.

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Curious about those on practice squads? Here's a list of those still on NFL rosters, but keep in mind, practice squad players change frequently. These are official per NFL.com as of Sept. 3. 

  • Justin Zimmer, DT, Ferris State, Atlanta Falcons
  • Zack Sieler, LB, Ferris State, Baltimore Ravens
  • Stephen Denmark, DB, Valdosta State, Chicago Bears
  • Jonathan Harris, DL, Lindenwood, Chicago Bears
  • Deyon Sizer, DL, CSU-Pueblo, Denver Broncos
  • Anthony Pittman, LB, Detroit Lions, Wayne State (MI)
  • Brady Sheldon, LB, Ferris State, Green Bay Packers
  • Malik Taylor, WR, Ferris State, Green Bay Packers
  • Tyrell Adams, LB, West Georgia, Houston Texans
  • Vyncint Smith, WR, Limestone, Houston Texans
  • Ashton Dulin, WR, Malone, Indianapolis Colts
  • Leonard Webster, OL, Missouri Western, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Jody Fortson, WR, Valdosta State, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Nick Keizer, TE, GVSU, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Jason Moore, WR, Findlay, Los Angeles Chargers
  • Malik Henry, WR, West Georgia, San Francisco 49ers
  • Craig Reynolds, RB, Kutztown, Washington Redskins

See someone we missed? Let us know by sending us a note NCAASupport@turner.com.

PRESEASON RANKINGS: What we learned from the first poll of 2019 | Complete AFCA top 25

DII football players on NFL rosters: By the numbers

We began tracking former DII football alum on NFL rosters in the 2017 season. That first season saw 90 DII football players don rosters, but that number would drop to 83 for the 2018 season. Looking specifically at the 53-man rosters and disregarding the injured lists, physically unable to perform lists, and practice squads, there will be 49 former DII football players on opening day NFL 53-man rosters.

Let's take a deeper look at the numbers.

0 — Former DII quarterbacks on NFL rosters. There has been one since we started tracking NFL rosters. That was Texas A&M-Commerce alum and 2017 Harlon Hill Award winner Luis Perez who was eventually transferred to the Los Angeles Rams practice squad.

3 — Former DII players whose schools no longer carry a DII program. Alex Cappa is on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster and hails from Humboldt State, whose program was discontinued. The same for Ashton Dulin, who is on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad, with his Malone team discontinued. Then there is Jake Carlock on the New York Giants who hails from LIU Post. The Pioneers recently merged with LIU Brooklyn and became a DI program.

3 (Part II) — DII players that were All-Pros in 2019. Minnesota State's Adam Thielen had a tremendous season for his Minnesota Vikings. Brandon Williams of Missouri Southern represented the Baltimore Ravens while Tyreek Hill represented the Kansas City Chiefs. 

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4 — DII players on the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts rosters, the most of any team. The Ravens always seem to be among the most populous landing spots for DII football stars with five in 2017 and 2018. There are five teams — the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — with three apiece.

5 — Former West Alabama Tigers on NFL 53-man rosters. California (Pa) is right behind with four players, while Augustana (S.D.), Assumption, Colorado State-Pueblo, Minnesota State, Pittsburg State send two players to the 2019 NFL season.

6 — Teams with nary a DII football player on the 53-man roster, the same amount as last season. The Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins currently don't carry an active DII player. Some, like the Eagles, have DII players (Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State) on the IR, while others like the Packers are carrying former DII stars — Ferris State's Brady Sheldon and Malik Taylor, for example — on the practice squads.

13 — Defensive backs on NFL rosters, once again the leading position of all DII NFL-ers. There were 18 cornerbacks and safeties on rosters in 2017 and 17 in 2018. Here's a look at the break down by position:

 

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