Sixteen Former Wildcats Make NFL Rosters

Darren Sproles

Sept. 4, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State saw 16 of its former football players make NFL rosters as teams were mandated to trim their rosters to 53 active players on Saturday. Of the 16 players, nine are on offense and seven are on defense.

The longest-tenured former Wildcats include Oakland running back Rock Cartwright and St. Louis linebacker Ben Leber, who are beginning their 11th season in the league. Kansas City safety Jon McGraw and Dallas cornerback Terrance Newman are each entering their 10th NFL season.

The lone former Wildcat to make a NFL team as a rookie is Miami running back Daniel Thomas, who was drafted in the second round of this past year’s draft.

Additionally, four organizations have two former Wildcats on its roster as Thomas is joined by tight end Jeron Mastrud in Miami, McGraw and offensive lineman Ryan Lilja are playing for the Chiefs, quarterback Josh Freeman and linebacker Zac Diles are playing for Tampa Bay, and wide receiver/kick return Brandon Banks and linebacker Rob Jackson are teammates for Washington.

Diles was with St. Louis during the preseason but was cut by the Rams on Saturday. He was quickly signed by the Buccaneers on Sunday, who are coached by former Wildcat defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

The 32 NFL teams will fill out practice squads, which will be announced at a later date.

The NFL season kicks off on Thursday, September 8, while a full slate a games are scheduled for Sunday, September 11.

Wildcats in the NFL – As of Sept. 4

Name              Organization  Pos. NFL Exp.
Brandon Banks     Washington    WR   2
Rock Cartwright   Oakland       RB   10
Jeromey Clary     San Diego     OL   5
Zac Diles         Tampa Bay     LB   5
Josh Freeman      Tampa Bay     QB   3
Rob Jackson       Washington    LB   2
Ben Leber         St. Louis     LB   10
Ryan Lilja        Kansas City   OL   8
Jeron Mastrud     Miami         TE   2
Jon McGraw        Kansas City   S    9
Joshua Moore      Chicago       CB   2
Jordy Nelson      Green Bay     WR   4
Terence Newman    Dallas        CB   9
Darren Sproles    New Orleans   RB   7
Daniel Thomas     Miami         RB   R
Reggie Walker     Arizona       LB   3

List does not include practice squad players or those on injured reserve