On Monday and Tuesday, we previewed the Mountaineers on NFL rosters going into training camp in the AFC in a three-part series. Now we turn to the NFC in two parts: this article and one for Bruce Irvin.
Seattle Seahawks rookie Bruce Irvin will be the big story of former Mountaineers in the NFC throughout the course of the season. Because of that, we will have a full preview for him later this week.
There are nine Mountaineers in the NFC. Most of them play in the NFC South and East.
The Tampa Bay Bucs drafted Najee Goode and Keith Tandy in consecutive rounds. They also added long-snapper Cody Nutter and Tyler Urban (now with the Patriots) after the end of the Draft. New Bucs head coach Greg Schiano took on a decidedly Mountain State flair with his first rookie class.
Goode will likely see a lot of playing time at middle and strongside linebacker. He will be mostly a two-down player against the run. The Bucs have an inexperienced group of linebackers, and it is possible Goode could crack the starting lineup.
“You know, as a general player in football, you try to always go in there and take a spot and to get a spot on the team.” Goode said following last week’s rookie camp.
With the exception of quarterback, every position is up for grabs in Schiano’s first NFL training camp.
“I’ll be watching everything closely, but that’s certainly an important position, and I think there is some great competition there,” said Schiano. “Those young guys have a chance to compete for playing time, and let’s see how they do.”
Tandy played CB at WVU. The Bucs think his skill set and size will translate to safety. He played both positions during Bucs OTA’s. Schiano loves Tandy’s versatility. Tandy will have to adapt to man coverage after playing mostly zone in college.
Both players will make sure of a spot on the team if they make a difference on special teams.
Cody Nutter is a longshot to make the Bucs roster as a long-snapper.
Brandon Hogan goes into his first full season with the Carolina Panthers with the hope of earning the starting No. 2 cornerback spot. Hogan sat out most of last season while recovering from ACL surgery he suffered at WVU.
Last year’s starting No. 2 corner for the Panthers was the undersized Captain Munnerlyn. Munnerlyn was statistically the worst cornerback in the NFL last season. The Panthers would like to slide him to the No. 3 corner and allow either Hogan or rookie Josh Norman to start at No. 2. Even if Hogan has a poor showing at training camp, he still may get the starting job.
However, Hogan’s knee may not be 100%.
“I think I’m right about there. I still have some swelling, some pain sometimes,” Hogan said. “But I just try to push through it and see how it feels afterward.”
Chris Neild goes into year two looking to grow in his reserve role at DT for the Redskins. Neild spent the offseason getting stronger after reuniting with old strength coach Mike Barwis. He wanted to focus on losing fat and gaining muscle over the summer. The Redskins will not allow him to report to camp over 325 lbs. (We will have more on Neild later)
Selvish Capers won a Super Bowl ring while on the New York Giants practice roster last season after coming over from Washington. Capers signed a futures contract with the Giants which means if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster, he should get placed on their practice squad again.
J.T. Thomas spent last season on the Chicago Bears Injured Reserve. Thomas will give the Bears with some much needed depth at linebacker. The coaching staff thinks Thomas has progressed well from his first season to his second, but will most likely make his mark on special teams as the Bears bring him along.
The Green Bay Packers signed Don Barclay as a free-agent after he went undrafted. He has an uphill climb to make the final roster for the Packers.
RELATED: (Links will get added as the previews get published)