Two undrafted rookie free agents topped the HBCU NFL Featured Players list in this week’s final preseason games.
Former Florida A&M outstanding security Markquese Bell with the Dallas Cowboys and former Norfolk State passing specialist De’Shaan Dixon with the Jacksonville Jaguars, both made a strong case for being on their teams’ final 53-man roster with their game this week.
NFL teams will cut their rosters from 80 to 53 players on opening day Tuesday. The teams will then designate 16 players to their practice squads. The NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday, September 8 when the Super Bowl champion LA Rams host Buffalo.
Highlights from the HBCU NFL Report
Bell intercepted a pass from Seattle quarterback Drew Lock and had four solo tackles in the Cowboys’ final preseason game on Friday against the Seahawks. Steven Bell of the Dallas Star-Telegram has more on how Bell solidified his chances of making the final roster.
Dixon was perhaps even more impressive in leading the Jaguars with eight tackles, including an 11-yard sack by Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder and another tackle for a three-yard loss against the Falcons. Justin Lewis of the Florida Times-Union wrote a story about Dixon’s efforts at the camp.
Both have excellent chances to make their teams’ 53-man roster. It is also not likely to be cut.
HBCU NFL Report: Highlights
Two other rookies, both drafted this season, finished their preseason with impressive performances.
Former Fayetteville Estate Defensive back Joshua Williams, the first HBCU player drafted this season by Kansas City in the fourth round, led the Chiefs in their preseason finale against Green Bay with five total tackles. Williams has been impressive throughout the preseason.
Cobie Durant starred in the state of South Carolina and was taken by the Super Bowl champion LA Rams in the fourth round. He had a similar output. He started his second preseason game and recorded three total tackles against Cincinnati.
HBCU NFL Report: Special Teams
Also, the former State of South Carolina and MEAC Star linebacker Joe Thomas likely cemented his roster spot with the Chicago Bears when he recorded two defensive tackles and two on special teams against Cleveland.
New York Giants kicker Jamie Gillan Out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, he threw five clearances for an average of 55.6 yards per punt, including a 67-yarder in his final preseason game against the New York Jets.
HBCU NFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
For preseason games August 25-28, 2022
– #41 MARQUISE BELLS, Dallas (1st season, FLORIDA A&M) – The free-agent rookie started at safety for the Cowboys in a 27-26 win over Seattle and finished with four solo tackles, an interception and a pass defensed while playing 72 snaps defensively (97%) and 13 snaps special teams (39%). . With his performance and his selection, Bell appears to have cemented his spot on the 53-man roster as the Cowboys prepare to open at home against Tampa Bay on NBC’s Sunday Night Football on Sept. 11.
– #47 DE’SHAAN DIXONDE, Jacksonville (season one, STATE OF NORFOLK) – Led Jacksonville with eight total tackles, two solos and six assists, a sack for -11 yards and two tackles for loss in a 28-12 loss to Atlanta. Dixon had 49 snaps on defense (75%) and four on special teams (16%).
– #66 JOSHUA MILESOT, Arizona (season four, MORGAN STATE) – Started at right tackle in a 26-23 loss to Tennessee. Miles played all 71 offensive snaps (100%) and five special teams snaps (15%). The Cardinals rushed for 86 yards and threw for 285 yards and a TD.
– #Four. Five JOSE TOMASLB, Chicago (8th season, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA) – Thomas had two solo tackles on defense and two special teams tackles in a 21-20 win over Cleveland. He played nine snaps on defense (11%) and 16 on special teams (64%).
– #17 JAMIE GILANP, New York Giants, (4th season, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – Punted five times for 278 yards (55.6 yards average) with a 67-yard punt in a 31-27 loss to the New York Jets. Gillan participated in ten special teams snaps (33%).
OTHER TOP HBCU NFL PERFORMERSSRE
– #71 TYTUS HOWARDOG, Houston (season four, STATE OF ALABAMA) – The former first-round pick started at right tackle in a 17-0 win over San Francisco participating in 36 offensive snaps (63%) and one special teams snap (5%). The Texans rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown, threw for 94 yards and a TD and allowed three sacks.
– #70 alex taylorovertime, Cleveland (second season, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA) – In the Browns’ 21-20 loss to Chicago, Taylor played 51 snaps on offense (61%) and two on special teams (8%). The Browns rushed for 78 yards and a TD and threw for 240 yards and a touchdown.
– #78 SCOTT TRAINovertime, Pittsburgh (season five, GRAMBLING STATE) – In the 19-9 win over Detroit, Scott played 31 offensive snaps (48%). The Steelers rushed for 57 yards and threw for 250 yards and a TD.
– #73 SIMMONS LACHAVIOUSOL, Chicago (season three, STATE OF TENNESSEE) – In a 21-20 win over Cleveland, Simmons played 27 offensive snaps (47%) and one special teams snap (4%). The Bears rushed for 78 yards and passed for 267 yards and three TDs in the win.
More on offense
– #76 KION SMITHOT, Miami (1st season, STATE OF FAYETTEVILLE) – Played 24 offensive snaps (38%) and five special teams snaps (17%) in a 46-10 win over Philadelpha. The Dolphins rushed for 203 yards and a TD and threw for 298 yards and four TDs.
– #60 NICK LEVERETTOL, Tampa Bay (Season Two, DOWNTOWN NORTH CAROLINA) – In a 27-10 loss to Indianapolis, the Bucs rushed for 94 yards and threw for 184 yards. Leverett played in 18 offensive snaps (32%) and one special teams snap (3%). He hurt his shoulder and is awaiting test results.
– #69 JA’TYRE CARTEROL, Chicago (season one, SOUTHERN) – In a 21-20 win over Cleveland, Carter was involved in six offensive snaps (11%) and one special teams snap (4%). The Bears rushed for 78 yards and passed for 267 yards and three TDs in the win.
– #85 SHEMAR BRIDGESWR, Baltimore (first season, FORT VALLEY STATE) – The rookie caught a pass on two targets for eight yards in a 17-15 win over Washington. Bridges participated in 15 offensive snaps (39%) and 14 special teams snaps (56%).
– #23 TRENTON CANYONRB, Tennessee, (fifth season, STATE OF VIRGINIA) – Did not record any stats in the 26-23 win over Arizona. He participated in seven snaps (10%) and two (6%) on special teams.
– #12 KHADAREL HODGEWR, Atlanta (fifth season, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M) – He did not play against Jacksonville.
– #72 LUMP ARM, LT, New Orleans (season nine, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – Did not play against Philadelpha.
– #17 DAYLEN BALDWINWR, Cleveland (first season, JACKSON STATE/MORGAN STATE) – Did not play against Chicago.
– #60 David MooreOG, Cleveland (season one, GRAMBLING STATE) – Did not play against Chicago.
– #23 JOSHUA WILLIAMSBC, Kansas City (1st season, STATE OF FAYETTEVILLE) – In a 17-10 win over Green Bay, Williams led the Chiefs with five total tackles, four solos with a pass defensed and one special teams tackle. He played 39 (58%) defensive snaps and ten (43%) special teams snaps.
– #14 COBIE DURINGCB, LA Rams (first season, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA) – Started at cornerback for the Rams in a 16-7 loss to Cincinnati and had three total tackles, two solos and one assist on defense. Durant played 47 snaps on defense (77%) and three snaps on special teams (16%).
– #90 GROVER STEWARTDT, Indianapolis (6th season, ALBANY STATE) – Three total tackles, two solos and two tackles for loss in a 27-10 win over Tampa Bay. Stewart participated in just 11 snaps (19%) on defense and four (14%) on special teams.
– #37 Mac McCainCB, Philadelphia (2nd season, NORTH CAROLINA AT&T) – Started at cornerback for the Eagles in a 46-10 loss to Miami. He posted two solo tackles while playing 54 defensive snaps (84%) and 20 special teams snaps (67%). The Eagles gave up 297 passing yards and four TDs.
– #56 QUINTON BELLOLB, Atlanta (sophomore, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M) – Bell had two tackles, a solo and an assist in a 28-12 win over Jacksonville. Bell played 25 snaps on defense (41%) and 11 snaps on special teams (44%).
– #27 BOBBY PRICEBC, Detroit (3rd season, STATE OF NORFOLK) – Had two solo tackles in a 19-9 loss to Pittsburgh. Price played 15 snaps defensively (23%) and 14 snaps special teams (56%).
More about Defense
– #59 JAMES HOUSTONLB, Detroit (1st year, JACKSON STATE) – Had a special teams inning in a 19-9 loss to Pittsburgh. Houston entered on nine defensive snaps (14%) and five special teams snaps (20%).
– #92 DARRYL JOHNSONDE, Carolina (4th season, NORTH CAROLINA AT&T) – Had no stats in Carolina’s 21-0 win over Buffalo. Johnson played 20 snaps on defense (36%) and five snaps (29%) on special teams.
– #36 Danny JohnsonBC, Washington (5th season, SOUTHERN) – Johnson started at cornerback in the Commanders’ 17-15 loss to Baltimore. Johnson played 18 snaps on defense (47%) and one snap on special teams (4%).
– #97 JAVON HARGRAVEDT, Philadelphia (seventh season, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA) – Not against Miami.
– #33 ANTONY HAMILTON, CB, Arizona (seventh season, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA) – Did not play in a 26-23 loss to Tennessee.
– #53 SHAQUILLE LEONARDLB, Indianapolis (5th season, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA) – Did not play against Tampa Bay.
– #75 Brandon ParkerOT, Las Vegas (4th season, NORTH CAROLINA AT&T) – Out with triceps break. Placed on reserve/injured list.
– #sixteen CHESTER ROGERSWR/KR, Houston (6th season, GRAMBLING STATE) – Was placed on the reserve/injured list following the Texans’ 24-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams last week.
HBCU NFL PLAYERS BY POSITION IN CAMPS
Before the cutoff on Tuesday, August 30, from 80 to 53 players
OFFENSIVE LINES 10 (2G, 8T)
DEFENSIVE BACKS 7 (6DB, 1S)
WIDE RECEIVERS 3 (3WR, OTE)
DEFENSIVE LINES 4 (2DT, 2DE)
LINEBACKERS 4 (2OLB, 2ILB)