The last time the Texas State Bobcats football program had multiple players drafted into the NFL, the year was 2000 and the school was still known as Southwest Texas State. Now with Dennis Franchione at the helm, Texas State has increased their number of active players in the league from one in now-free agent Fred Evans to six players currently on NFL rosters after the 2015 draft (with an additional player still working things out as an undrafted free agent).
Let's take a look at who's still in the league and where things stand with each player.
Darryl Morris (CB), Houston Texans
Our Texans SBN blog Battle Red Blog and Houston's scout.com site both agree that Morris is likely to stay on with a deep group of cornerbacks after training camp. He impressed Texans head coach Bill O'Brien after snagging a game-clinching interception against Buffalo last season and appears to be in a good position to stay on. However, as San Francisco showed him before last season, nothing's guaranteed.
Joplo Bartu (LB), Atlanta Falcons
After a decent freshman outing as a backup, Bartu had a rockier sophomore season and offseason. The move from outside to inside linebacker didn't suit him and Prince Shembo also cut into his playing time. Off the field, he also received a DUI that cost him a $50,000 fine.
SBN's Falcons blog The Falcoholic seems to think he'll get cut after training camp. If that happens, Bartu will still have a decent chance of finding his way to a team with a real need for a backup at OLB in a 4-3 scheme.
David Mayo (LB), Carolina Panthers
Texas State's Thor-like tackling machine was selected in the fifth round by the Carolina Panthers and by many accounts has more than likely secured a place in the lineup despite stiff competition at a depth-heavy position. Panthers SBNation blog Cat Scratch Fever notes that Mayo has already made a positive impression in summer workouts:
The 2015 5th round pick impressed coaches in the rookie camp and in OTAs. He is already making all the calls for the second-team defense.
Mayo may be forced out of the middle linebacker position just because there's a logjam of talent at that spot, but his workout ethic and ability to pursue opposing backs over the field should keep him in the lineup anyway. CSF gives him a good chance of sticking around.
It's hard to say where he fits, but he is going to fit.
Chance of starting: 5%. Chance of making the roster: 75%.
Craig Mager (CB), San Diego Chargers
We knew that Mager was going to be a bit of a project based on him needing work with some of his reaction instincts, but Day 1 of training camp reportedly didn't go well for him. Our San Diego Chargers SBN blog Bolts From the Blue was, well, pretty merciless in reacting to his performances today.
Mager leaving quite a cushion for these WRs just gave up a completion on a curl— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) July 30, 2015
Steve Williams getting second team snaps before Craig Mager & Chris Davis— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) July 30, 2015
Mager out here getting toasted by everyone and anyone. Absolute trash.— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) July 30, 2015
Against Mager. But that’s true of everyone. https://t.co/k0sZx7NnQB— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) July 30, 2015
Probably a bit of an overreaction considering it's Day freaking 1 of training camp, but it sounds like Mager's got a lot of work to do. Mager shouldn't crash out of the Chargers' roster since he's a third round pick unless he really bombs all of training camp.
Terrence Franks (RB), St. Louis Rams
St. Louis hasn't started their training camp yet, but whether Franks makes the roster or not kinda depends on who you ask. Bleacher Report seems to think that Franks could use his blazing speed and earn himself a spot on special teams or perhaps the practice squad, but our SBN blog Turf Show Times is less optimistic, giving him a 20% chance of making the roster.
We talked this up last week in the Trey Watts roster preview, but (the running back position is) crammed.
At the top, you've got Todd Gurley, Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham. Chase Reynolds' special teams contributions of the last two years likely have him over the line.
If the 2014 roster is any indication of a five-running back corps being carried into the season, that leaves one slot open for Isaiah Pead, Watts, Malcolm Brown (roster preview), fullback Zach Laskey (roster preview) and Franks.
ESPN also thinks he'll get cut. Having to go up against Pead and explosively talented but mercurial former Longhorn Malcolm Brown is no picnic, so Franks is going to have to really stand out in training camp to get himself a roster spot.
Will Johnson (P), Houston Texans
It's unfortunate, but Johnson is staring down the barrel of getting cut through no fault of his own. He has to go up against Shane Lechler, who has been in the league for 16 years and has established himself as one of the better players at his position.
Unless the Texans go certifiably insane and decide to take two punters on their 53 man roster, Johnson's probably going to have to try and land with another team that doesn't have a reliable punter.
Mike Orakpo (LB), Arizona Cardinals(?)
No word yet from the Cardinals about where 'Rak fits into their plans, but he's not listed on Arizona's roster. I spoke with Mike and he later came out with a public statement that sort of clarified his status:
I appreciate everybody hittin me up, I am not with any team at the moment I will have some other opportunities comin up. Stay Tuned— Mike Orakpo (@Raknation) July 30, 2015
That said, don't count out the Cardinals just yet.