Oregon Ducks

Taggart and Oregon must recruit at historic levels to meet expectations

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Taggart and Oregon must recruit at historic levels to meet expectations

Most Oregon football fans will probably be pretty giddy about what looks to be a strong recruiting class the Ducks will announce Wednesday during National Signing Day.

The class currently ranks at No. 20 on Rivals.com and No. 24 in 247sports.com's composite rankings. A couple of late commitments could push the Ducks into the high teens. Not bad, given that new coach Willie Taggart took over the reins of the program on Dec. 7 following a 4-8 season that led to the firing of Mark Helfrich.

But here's the deal: This projected recruiting class simply isn't good enough. Not even close. Not given the crazy expectations that surround a program that hasn't quite figured out how to handle relatively new success. Oregon is going to have to elevate its recruiting classes into at least the low teens if not the top-10 to have a reasonable shot at winning a national title, which is Oregon's ultimate goal.

The numbers simply do not lie.  

Since 2002, the average class ranking for the five recruiting classes signed prior to a team winning or splitting a national is 7.93 (see chart below).

All 16 national title teams since 2002 (LSU and USC split the 2003 national championship) signed at least one top-five class within five years of winning the championship. All but two of those programs (2003 USC and 2005 Texas) signed at least two top-10 classes prior to being crowned champions.

To be fair to Taggart and his staff, they should not be judged in anything but a favorable light for this year's recruiting class. They did a great job of hitting the ground running and adding nicely to the nine committed players secured by the former staff, which had a class ranked No. 23 on Rivals before Helfrich's firing. 

Where Taggart, who came to UO from South Florida, and his staff will truly earn their money will be by elevating UO's recruiting prowess to historic heights in the coming years. If not, Oregon will settle right into a pattern of ups and downs that most programs go through. It's unavoidable, even though that's exactly what did in Helfrich and company. 

-- No excuses

The narrative surrounding the firing of Helfrich was that the bar for success had been raised and that under no circumstances was it acceptable for the program to ever have a down season even if the roster is young and beset by numerous injuries.

No excuses. 

That's why athletic director Rob Mullens fired Helfrich. Forget the nonsense about players cutting corners or lack of accountability. Most programs go through that from time to time. All of that was all fixable. That staff had overcome worse messes. The losing season in a culture now accustomed to contending on an annual basis is what did in Helfrich and a staff responsible for Oregon's greatest ever single season in 2014, just two short years ago. Also, it was a staff, for the most part, that had its finger prints all over four conference titles, two Rose Bowl wins, a Fiesta Bowl victory, an Alamo Bowl romp, two national title appearances (UO was a knee injury away from a third), and the program's first ever Heisman Trophy, all since 2009.

It was a great run. But it clearly wasn't good enough to warrant a mulligan for the coaching staff following the program's first losing season in 12 years (2004).

But here is the problem moving forward, and the challenge facing Taggart: The former coaching staff, during the end of Mike Bellotti's tenure through Chip Kelly's four-year run and under Helfrich, were able to overcome a lack of national title contending talent with a unique offense that allowed the Ducks to play beyond their overall talent level. 

The Ducks' average recruiting class ranking from 2002 through 2016 was 21.7.  The 2010 Ducks reached the national championship game with an average five-year class ranking of 24.8 with a high of No. 12 in 2007. The 2014 Ducks reached the national title game with an average class ranking of 17.2 with a high of No. 9 in 2012.

Helfrich's three full recruiting classes (he took over for Kelly in in Mid-January of 2013) had an average ranking of 22.7 with a high of No. 17 in 2015. 

As one can tell, Oregon having a class ranked No. 20 is hardly earth shattering or cause for a parade. The Ducks have had seven top 20 classes since 2002 and four in the top 10.  

Taggart needs to land more often in the top 10 than out of it to succeed. And it won't be easy. 

Most national powers can fill their recruiting classes with high-end recruits living nearby. Oregon cannot. It must fan across the country to fill its roster. To that end, Taggart has assembled a strong recruiting staff with coaches that have had success getting players from all over the country. But none had ever been forced to recruit those players to Eugene.

To land a glut of four-star and five-star recruits, the Ducks' staff must out-recruit other big-time programs after the same players and do so to a city with a 1.4 percent African-American population and one that is difficult to get to. 

These things matter to many parents and most of Oregon's recruits are African-American. Oregon certainly has a lit of glitz going for it with the uniforms and amazing facilities, but nowadays, most programs have updated facilities and multiple uniform combinations. 

But there is hope. 

-- Being aggressive

What Taggart and his staff did this recruiting cycle was establish a strong presence nationally while being ultra aggressive. It resulted in the landing of some key recruits, but maybe more importantly for the program's future, set the tone that the Ducks' will be recruiting differently in hopes of elevating that recruiting base. 

The Ducks have already used Taggart's connections to land commitments from six players from the fertile recruiting state of Florida. Without even looking, we know that's an Oregon record, although the Ducks do have two impact players from Florida, receiver Charles Nelson and running back Tony Brooks-James.

But the hype surrounding the six Florida recruits is a bit overblown. Five of them are three-star recruits, which grow on trees for the Ducks. A three-star recruit from Florida is no better or worse than a three-star recruit from Arizona, Illinois, Texas or anywhere else. 

Of the six recruits from Florida, only one, four-star athlete Bruce Judson, received an offer from both Florida and Florida State, according to Rivals.com.  Only two others had offers from one or the other in-state powerhouses. 

Even if it's not a group of can't-miss prospects, landing all six could pay off big down the line if they report back to the other future recruits from Florida that they like it in Eugene, the weather isn't all that bad and they are having fun and winning. 

That could lead to an increase of higher-end recruits electing to make the trek to Eugene to play for Taggart. 

--- Could still contend

The Ducks could still show flashes of being a national threat even if they don't elevate recruiting on an annual basis if the coaching staff proves to be elite.

After all, Washington reached the 2016 national playoffs with an average five-year class ranking of 29. However, once the Huskies got on the field with Alabama and it's numerous top three classes, it was clear that they were out-manned in the overall talent department.

Certainly, winning the Pac-12 title will be within reach for UO if Taggart and his staff can coach, and when the Ducks have an elite quarterback. Winning the Pac-12 with at worst a 12-1 record will in most years get that team into the national playoffs. Unfortunately, once there that team will likely take on a program with simply far too much talent to overcome.

When the Ducks faced Ohio State in the national title game following the 2014 season, the Buckeyes had an average recruiting class ranking of 9.0. Furthermore, Ohio State had 17 players drafted over the next two drafts, nine inside the first three rounds, compared to eight and five for Oregon.

Taggart should be able to get the Ducks into the mix for conference titles from time to time. To do so on an annual basis in a deep conference will require elevating their recruiting reach above the competition. And that's going to be tough to do with the likes of USC working on its third top 10 class in four years

The greatest challenge facing Taggart might not be on the field or on the recruiting trail. It could very simply be meeting expectations that require taking Oregon places it's never been before. 

-----------

Recruiting class rankings for national champions based on Rivals.com (some early years from 247sports). Classes listed are those within five years of team winning national title.

2016 Clemson: Average class rank = 10.4 (No. 14 in 2012, No. 14 in 2013, No. 13 in 2014, No. 4 in 2015, No. 6 in 2016)

2015 Alabama: Average = 1.2 (No. 1 in 2011, No. 1 in 2012, No. 1 in 2013, No. 1 in 2014, No. 2 in 2015)

2014 Ohio State: Average = 9.0 (No. 25 in 2010, No. 11 in 2011, No. 4 in 2012, No. 2 in 2013, No. 3 in 2014)

2013 Florida State: Average = 5.83 (No. 7 in 2009, No. 10 in 2010, No. 2 in 2011, No. 6 in 2012, No. 10 in 2013).

2012 Alabama: Average = 1.8 (No. 1 in 2008, No. 1 in 2009, No. 5 in 2010, No. 1 in 2011, No. 1 in 2012).

2011 Alabama: Average = 3.6 (No. 10 in 2007, No. 1 in 2008, No. 1 in 2009, No. 5 in 2010, No 1 in 2011).

2010 Auburn: Average = 12.0 (No. 10 in 2006, No. 7 in 2007, No. 20 in 2008, No. 19 in 2009, No. 4 in 2010).

2009 Alabama: Average = 8.2 (No. 18 in 2005, No. 11 in 2006, No. 10 in 2007, No. 1 in 2008, N0. 1 in 2009).

2008 Florida: Average = 6.0 (No. 10 in 2004, No. 15 in 2005, No. 2 in 2006, No. 1 in 2007, No. 3 in 2008).

2007 LSU: Average = 7.2 (No. 1 in 2003, No. 2 in 2004, No. 22 in 2005, No. 7 in 2006, No. 4 in 2007).

2006 Florida: Average = 9.8 (No. 20 in 2002, No. 2 in 2003, No. 10 in 2004, No. 15 in 2005, No. 2 in 2006).

2005 Texas: Average = 13.5 (No. 11 in 2001 [247 sports], No. 1 in 2002, No. 15 in 2003, No. 18 in 2004, No. 20 in 2005).

2004 USC: Average = 9.8 (No. 12 in 2000 [247 sports],  No. 20 in 2001 [247 sports], No. 13 in 2002, No. 3 in 2003, No. 1 in 2004).

2003 Co-champ LSU: Four-year Average – 9.8 (No. 21 in 2000 [247 sports], No. 2 in 2001 [247 sports], No. 15 in 2002, No. 1 in 2003).

2003 Co-champ USC: Four-year Average – 12.0 (No. 12 in 2000 [247 sports], No. 20 in 2001 [247 sports], No. 13 in 2002, No. 3 in 2003).

2002 Ohio State: Three-year Average – 6.67 (No. 9 in 2000 [247 sports], No. 6 in 2001 [247 sports], No. 5 in 2002).

2001 Miami: Two-year Average – 7.5 (No. 7 in 2000 [247 sports],  No. 8 in 2001 [247 sports]).

Which Duck linebackers will wreak havoc? The locks, contenders and longshots

Which Duck linebackers will wreak havoc? The locks, contenders and longshots

The Ducks know they have two stars at linebacker in junior Troy Dye and senior Justin Hollins. With the emergence of La’Mar Winston Jr., this position unit could be the strongest on the team.

LOCKS

Troy Dye, junior, inside linebacker: Oregon's defensive MVP for the 2017 season has generated major NFL draft buzz and has landed on three major watch lists; the Bednarik Award (nation’s top defensive player), the Butkus award (nation’s best linebacker) and the Nagurski award (nation’s best defensive player).

In his two seasons, the preseason All-American has 198 tackles with 118 solo tackles, 80 assisted tackles and 9.5 sacks.

Justin Hollins, senior, outside linebacker: The Butkus award nominee is heading into his fifth year at Oregon as the only Duck to have played on the unit that helped get Oregon into the inaugural College Football Playoff championship game in 2014.

Last season he forced three fumbles and finished third on the team in tackles for loss (11.5) behind defensive end Jalen Jelks (15) and linebacker Troy Dye (13.5).

La’Mar Winston Jr., junior, outside linebacker: The Len Casanova Award for leadership winner (voted on by his teammates) played in all 13 games for the Ducks in 2017, including seven starts. Five of those starts came over the final six games when he delivered 31 tackles with five for loss. He finished the season with 49 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks. 

[WATCH: A SUMMER IN PARIS WITH LA'MAR WINSTON JR.]

"(La'Mar)'s put on weight and strength," Dye said. "Seeing his transition from our freshmen year until now is phenonemal."

CONTENDERS

Kaulana Apelu, senior, inside linebacker; The walk-on was placed on scholarship before the start of 2017 season. He played in five games and made three starts, totaling 20 tackles, including three for loss before suffering a season-ending injury. Apelu rehabbed and returned to the field in time for spring practice. In the spring game, he led the Ducks’ defense with nine tackles and returned a tipped pass 100 yards for a touchdown.

Isaac Slade-Matautia, redshirt freshman, inside linebacker: Last season Slade-Matautia utilized his redshirt. ESPN and Rivals ranked the four-star prospect a top two player from the state of Hawaii. He is competing to be in the mix for starting alongside Dye.

"(Isaac)'s a beast," Dye said. "He's going to surprise a lot of people. There are a lot of things that he has taught me."

Adrian Jackson, freshman, inside linebacker: A consensus four-star prospect and the state of Colorado's top player in 2017. Dye called Jackson a "phenomenal beast" a few days into fall camp. Jackson currently backs up Dye at the JACK linebacker position, but says he’d be willing to move to MIKE.

[READ: How the new redshirt rule helps Oregon]

Keith Simms, sophomore, outside linebacker: Suffered a season-ending injury last season. Played both inside and outside throughout spring practices and totaled 8 tackles and a sack during UO’s spring game. Simms could add quality depth if he can stay healthy.

LONGSHOTS

Sampson Niu, sophomore, inside linebacker: In 2017, Niu played in six games and finished with eight tackles and one tackle for loss. He missed spring drills while rehabbing an injury suffered in the Las Vegas Bowl. Four-star prospect and the top inside linebacker in the state of California by Rivals and 247Sports.

MJ Cunningham, true freshman, inside linebacker: A consensus three-star prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. The Portland-native is another freshman that could crack the rotation.

Who will Herbert sling the ball to? The Locks, Contenders and Longshots at receiver

Oregon releases new uniforms; internet blows up

Oregon releases new uniforms; internet blows up

The Oregon Ducks have unveiled their Nike football uniforms for the upcoming season. The winged helmets are back and the jerseys feature a new large "Mighty Oregon" font. Check them out.

The jerseys are more simple than years past. Everyone (and their mother) had something to say about the reveal on Twitter. Here are some of the most sarcastic, clever, interesting and fun tweets.

Font size humor:

A cool throwback to a life before Twitter from former Duck T.J. Ward:

The team is stoked:

And so is the Oregon Duck Mascot:

Can't forget the age old joke...

Where do they rank on your all-time Oregon uniform list?

 

 

REPORT: Dallas signs former Ducks WR Darren Carrington Jr.

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REPORT: Dallas signs former Ducks WR Darren Carrington Jr.

The Dallas Cowboys have signed former Oregon and Utah wide receiver Darren Carrington Jr., according to multiple reports.

The signing was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Carrington, who played at Oregon from 2013 through 2016, played last season at Utah after former UO coach Willie Taggart dismissed him from the team for violating team rules.

Carrington, who was suspended for six games in 2014 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the national championship game played at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, is a talented receiver who has the skills to play in the NFL but has hobbled his career by repeatedly making poor decisions away from the field. 

Carrington went undrafted last spring even after being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. He recently participated in a tryout with Dallas and showed enough to get signed to the team's roster. Plus, Dallas has experienced several injuries at wide receiver during training camp. 

Oregon agrees to home-and-home matchups with Michigan State, Boise State

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Oregon agrees to home-and-home matchups with Michigan State, Boise State

Oregon has agreed to a home-and-home series with Michigan State renewing one of the better non-conference football series in Ducks history. 

Oregon will play at MSU on Sept. 8, 2029 and host the Spartans on Sept. 7, 2030. 

Oregon this summer also agreed to a home-and-home with Boise State. That series will run for three years with Oregon hosting the Broncos on Sept. 14, 2024, and Sept. 5, 2026. UO will play at Boise State on Sept 13, 2025.

Oregon recently faced MSU in 2014 and 2015. The Ducks, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, defeated Michigan State 46-27 in 2014 to get a key victory on their way to the national title game. 

The following season, Oregon lost 31-28 at MSU.

Boise State is 3-0 against the Ducks including a 38-28 win in last year's Las Vegas Bowl. Boise State won the first meeting in 2008 by the score of 37-32 at Autzen Stadium. The following season, the Broncos won 19-8 in Boise. 

Here is a list of Oregon's upcoming non-conference opponents:

2019: vs. Auburn (Arlington, Texas), Nevada, Montana 
2020: North Dakota State, Ohio State, Hawaii 
2021: Fresno State, at Ohio State, Stony Brook
2022: Eastern Washington, BYU
2023: Portland State, at Texas Tech, Hawaii 
2024: Texas Tech, Boise State, at Hawaii 
2025: at Boise State 
2026: Boise State 
2027: at Baylor 
2028: Baylor
2029: at Michigan State
2030: Michigan State

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.19 - Gary Zimmerman

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.19 - Gary Zimmerman

Successful college career – Check.

Successful NFL career – Check

Member of the NFL Hall of Fame – Check

 

Who are we talking about?  We are talking about former Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman.

Zimmerman has a great career at Oregon and was named the Pac-10 Conference Offensive Lineman of Year in 1983. But it was in the NFL where he truly blossomed.

Zimmerman was selected in the first round of the 1984 supplemental draft and made his NFL debut two years later with the Minnesota Vikings.

Once he hit the field, he never left it, literally. Zimmerman started 169 consecutive games, a streak that came to an end in 1996.

He was named to both the 1980’s and 1990’s All-Decade teams, earned All-Pro honors eight times, and was selected to seven Pro Bowl.  Zimmerman ended his career in fashion, winning the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos.

Zimmerman was enshrined in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and joined his fellow legends in the NFL Hall of Fame in 2008.

Denver RB Royce Freeman scores in NFL preseason debut

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Denver RB Royce Freeman scores in NFL preseason debut

Denver rookie running back Royce Freeman rushed for a 38 yards on four carries and scored on a 23-yard run in the second quarter of the Broncos' 42-28 loss Saturday night at home to Minnesota in the preseason opener for both teams. Freeman, listed second on the team's depth chart behind Devontae Booker, also caught one pass for no gain. Booker started the game but received just two carries for seven yards. 

Freeman, selected by Denver in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, received his first three carries out of a single-back set with quarterback Paxton Lynch under center. Freeman's touchdown run, however, came on a zone read play run out of the shotgun formation with four receivers, both familiar scheme elements to Freeman from his days at Oregon. 



Freeman received the handoff from Lynch's right after the quarterback read an outside linebacker keying on him. The quarterback then carried out his fake to further draw the defender allowing Freeman to zoom by him and to the second level of the defense. There he encountered a hard-charging safety that Freeman successfully juked to the right. From there, he was gone, racing down the right side with the help of downfield blocking from receivers. 

Freeman is believed to have a shot at earning the starting job. His performance Saturday was a good start in that direction. 

How the new redshirt rule helps Oregon

How the new redshirt rule helps Oregon

Oregon’s cupcake nonconference schedule just got more interesting and the Ducks may see less transfers this season. 

If you are not familiar with the new NCAA rule passed in June, college football players can now play up to four games in a season and redshirt without burning a year of eligibility. College football players are granted five years to complete four seasons of eligibility.

The rule was unanimously agreed upon amongst college football coaches, including Oregon coach Mario Cristobal. Cristobal is excited for how it changes the developmental aspect of the sport.  Whether it be to injury or a player developing throughout a season, he plans to award playing opportunities to Ducks who he believes can help the team.

“The opportunities are endless to not only help your team, but to prevent a guy from losing an extra year of eligibility,” Cristobal said. “It certainly helps you plan differently.”

With that said, Cristobal made it clear he expects the level of competition to increase, not decrease.

Playing time will not be handed out

Just because the new rule allows participation in four games a season doesn’t mean Oregon players are guaranteed to see the field. According to Cristobal, playing time will remain a privilege, not a right. 

“That would create the wrong kind of dynamic within the walls of our locker room,” Cristobal said.

Oregon’s cupcake nonconference schedule just got more interesting

The Ducks’ nonconference opponents (Bowling Green, Portland State, San Jose State) went a combined 4-32 last season. Those three yawn-worthy games just got more interesting because now coaches and fans will get a chance to see plenty of freshmen from that highly touted 2018 recruiting class get on the field.

This means true freshman quarterback Tyler Shough, who many have described as starting quarterback“Justin Herbert-like” is likely to get a chance to play at the college level right away without wasting a year of eligibility. The back-up quarterback competition could play out between Shough and sophomore Braxton Burmeister in live games instead of just behind closed doors at practice. Keep in mind that Burmeister could also utilize his redshirt if he does not appear in more than four games.

Freshmen get valuable experience

It’s hard to emulate the speed of the college game in practice, even on scout team. Now freshmen will be able to get on the field in low-pressure situations, which is great to get their feet wet and for coaches to see how they handle being under the lights.

Oregon could give an early opportunity to see how a player reacts to the level of college level or allow them to continue to grow and learn the playbook before potentially playing later in the season.

Those meaningless bowl games that some player skip? Freshmen can get added into those, with the added month of bowl practice.

“The development process is real now,” Cristobal said. “It’s almost like the developmental squad in the NFL where down the line the opportunity, whether it be due to injury or whether that player has developed to a point where they can help us and actually contribute to the team.’

Incentivizes and may limit transfers

The new rule keeps players involved and motivated by the possibility of playing time at some point during the season.

Oregon could show a player how he fits into a game scheme, without losing a year of eligibility. Which is a great way for a coach to prove the school has a plan for him, which could potentially prevent some players from transferring.

Takes pressure off starters

Oregon starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries. The change provides more roster depth and the opportunity for Ducks at the top of the depth chart to experience less wear and tear throughout the season.

[WATCH: Cristobal continues to impress on the recruiting trail]

Imagine how different last year could have been

In 2017, the Ducks redshirted eight players on the 2018 roster; CJ Verdell, Cyrus Habibi-likio, Demetri Burch, Daewood Davis, Cody Shear, Alex Forsyth, Popo Aumavae, and Isaac Slade-Matautia. All of those players could have played in four games and still have four years of full eligibility left if this rule was in place last season.

The rule allows for the development of the player to be improved and the coaches’ ability to evaluate the player. Which Duck freshman are you most looking forward to utilizing this rule?

 

Marcus Mariota tosses TD pass in Titans' preseason opener

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Marcus Mariota tosses TD pass in Titans' preseason opener

Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who had a down statistical season last year, got off to a strong start in Tennessee's first preseason game Thursday night at Green Bay.

Mariota completed 2 of 3 passes for 41 yards and a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Jennings and then promptly called it a night. Green Bay won, 31-17. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not play. 

The Titans' scoring drive covered 71 yards in nine plays. Mariota got sacked early in the drive before completing a 38-yard pass to wide receiver Nick Williams to the Green Bay 30. Two plays later, Mariota scrambled for seven yards to the Packers' 15.

Mariota threw a career low 13 touchdown passes last season with a career high 15 interceptions. 

 

Former Oregon RB Royce Freeman to make Denver debut Saturday

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Former Oregon RB Royce Freeman to make Denver debut Saturday

The NFL preseason schedule kicks into high gear tonight with 12 games. 

However, the biggest rookie to exit Oregon this year, Denver running back Royce Freeman, won't get his feet wet in NFL action until Saturday night when the Broncos host Minnesota at 6 p.m. live on NFL Network. 

Freeman, a third-round pick, is listed as the No. 2 running back on Denver's depth chart behind Devontae Booker, who has rushed for 911 yards in two NFL seasons. 

But all is not lost for Freeman in the competition for Denver's starting running back position. Former Denver running back, and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Terrell Davis appeared on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" show this week and said that he has heard nothing but good things about Freeman from inside training camp. 

“I’ve talked to people in Denver,” Davis said.  "And they’re just thrilled by what they see in camp and what they saw in minicamp from Royce Freeman. They think he’s going to be the starting running back.”

We shall see. The first audition goes down on Saturday. 

Here is a list of all the players with connections to the state of Oregon on NFL rosters (let us know if we've missed anyone). We will post updates on their performances over the weekend and throughout the season:

 ARIZONA CARDINALS

None. 

 ATLANTA FALCONS

  • Sean Harlow, Oregon State, guard: The 2017 fourth-round pick enters his second season. Spent all of last season inactive. 
  • Andy Levitre, Oregon State, guard: Entering his 10th season. 
  • Rocky Ortiz, Oregon State, running back: Spent last season on Baltimore's practice squad. Signed with Atlanta on May 18. 
     

 BALTIMORE RAVENS

  • Randin Crecelius, Portland State, guard: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Portland State, linebacker: Entering his third season. Appeared in 16 games last season and finished with 90 total tackles. 
     

 BUFFALO BILLS

  • Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, safety: Entering his sixth season. Intercepted five passes in 2017. 
     

 CAROLINA PANTHERS

  • Kenjon Barner, Oregon, running back:  Returns to Carolina, where he spent his rookie season, after winning Super Bowl with Philadelphia in his fifth season. 
  • Evan Bayless, Oregon, tight end: Spent last season with Baltimore where he appeared in one game. 
  • David Mayo, Texas State (Scappoose H.S.), linebacker: Entering his fourth season. Had 19 tackles last season. 
     

 CHICAGO BEARS

  • Hroniss Grasu, Oregon, center: Entering his fourth season. 
  • Kyle Long, Oregon, guard: Entering his sixth season. A three-time Pro Bowl player. 
  • Ryan Nall, Oregon State (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), running back: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
     

 CINCINNATI BENGALS
 

  • Jake Fisher, Oregon, offensive tackle: Entering his fourth season. Has started 11 career games. 
     

 CLEVELAND BROWNS
 

  • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon, defensive back: Intercepted four passes last season for Kansas City. 
  • Fred Lauina, Oregon State, offensive line: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May. 
     

 DALLAS COWBOYS
 

  • Tyree Robinson, Oregon, safety: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
     

 DENVER BRONCOS

  • Royce Freeman, Oregon, running back: Denver selected Oregon's all-time leading rusher in the third round last spring. 
  • Kyle Peko, Oregon State, nose tackle: Entering second season. Appeared in six games last season. 
     

 DETROIT LIONS
 

  • Jace Billingsley, Eastern Oregon, wide receiver: Appeared in two games last season. 
  • LeGarrette Blount, Oregon, running back: Rushed for 766 yards last season for the Super Bowl champion Eagles. 
  • Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, offensive tackle: Selected in the fifth round last spring. 
  • DeShawn Shead, Portland State, defensive back: Shead missed most of last season with Seattle with a knee injury suffered the year before. 
     

 GREEN BAY PACKERS 

None. 

 HOUSTON TEXANS
 

  • Treston Decoud, Oregon State, cornerback: Entering his second year. Appeared in 10 games last season. 
  • Brennan Scarlett, California and Stanford (Central Catholic H.S., Portland): Entering his third season. Appeared in 18 games over the past two seasons. 
     

 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

 

None. 

 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
 

  • Tim Cook, Oregon State, running back: The undrafted rookie free agent in 2017 is entering his second season. 
  • Manase Hungalu, Oregon State, linebacker: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
     

KANSAS CITY

  • Steven Nelson, Oregon State, defensive back: Entering his fourth season. Nelson has appeared in 36 career games. 
  • Arrion Springs, Oregon, defensive back: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon, wide receiver: Entering his fifth season. Has 61 career receptions. 
     

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

  • Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (Cascade H.S., Turner), wide receiver: Entering his fourth season. Has 1,877 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns for his career. 
     

LOS ANGELES RAMS
 

  • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, wide receiver: On his third team in five years. Has three seasons of 1,000 receiving yards or more for his career. 
  • Johnny Hekker, Oregon State, punter: The four-time Pro Bowler enters his seventh season. Averaged 47.9 yards per punt last season. 
  • Troy Hill, Oregon, defensive back: Entering his fourth season. Hill has appeared in 24 NFL games. 
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State, quarterback: Entering his third season. 
  • Johnny Mundt, Oregon, tight end: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (Grant H.S.), defensive tackle: The five-time Pro Bowler joined the Rams over the offseason. 
     

MIAMI DOLPHINS
 

  • Kiko Alonso, Oregon, linebacker: The sixth-year pro had 115 tackles last season. 
     

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

 

  • Josh Andrews, Oregon State, guard: Spent last season on the Eagles' practice squad. 
  • Mike Remmers, Oregon State, offensive tackle: Entering his sixth season in the NFL. 
     

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

  • Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (West Salem H.S.), punter: Entering his sixth season, all with the Patriots. Has a career punting average of 45.3 yards. 
  • Patrick Chung, Oregon, safety: Entering his 10th season, eighth with the Patriots. 
  • Eddie Pleasant, Oregon, safety: Recently signed with New England. Spent six seasons with Houston. 
     

 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

 

  • Josh Huff, Oregon, wide receiver: Entering his fourth season, first with the Saints. 
  • Henry Mondeaux, Oregon, defensive line: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Max Unger, Oregon, center: The two-time Pro Bowl player is entering his ninth season. 
     

 NEW YORK GIANTS
 

  • Jonathan Stewart, Oregon, running back: Rushed for 7,318 yards in 10 seasons with Carolina. 
  • Aldrick Rosas, Southern Oregon, kicker: Made 18 of 25 field goal attempts last season. 

 

NEW YORK JETS

  • Obum Gwacham, Oregon State, linebacker:  Entering his fourth season. Has appeared in 14 NFL games. 

 

 OAKLAND RAIDERS
 

  • Cameron Hunt, Oregon, offensive line: Spent last season on the 49ers' practice squad. Signed with Oakland in May. 
  • Pharaoh Brown, Oregon, tight end: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last year. Spent most of the season on the team's practice squad. 

 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

  • Taylor Hart, Oregon, offensive tackle:  Entering his fifths season. Began his career as a defensive lineman. 
  • Haloti Ngata, Oregon, defensive tackle: The five-time Pro Bowler is entering his 13th season. 
  • Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State, guard: Entering his third season. Has appeared in 23 games. 
  • Joe Walker, Oregon, linebacker: Appeared in 12 games as a rookie last season. 
  • Marcus Wheaton, Oregon State, wide receiver: Entering his sixth season. Spent last year with the Bears. 
     

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
 

  • Kameron Canaday, Portland State, long snapper: Appeared in 16 games last season.  Entering his third year. 
     

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

  • Arik Armstead, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his fourth season. The former first-round pick appeared in just six games last year. 
  • Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State, wide receiver:  Had 396 yards on kick off returns last season.
  • DeForest Buckner, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his second year after making 45 tackles last season. 
     

 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

  • D.J. Alexander, Oregon State, linebacker: Entering his fourth season. Has 34 career tackles in 44 games. 
  • Tanner Carew, Oregon, long snapper: Released last week. 
  • Ed Dickson, Oregon, tight end: Entering his ninth season. Caught 30 passes for 437 yards last season. 
  • Dion Jordan, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his second season with Seattle. Had for sacks in five games last season. 
     

 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

  • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, running back: Entering his eighth season. Rushed for 244 yards last season with the Buccaneers.  
     

 TENNESSEE TITANS

  • Marcus Mariota, Oregon, quarterback: Entering his fourth season. Had a career low 13 touchdown passes last season. 

 

 WASHINGTON REDSKINS

  • Alex Balducci, Oregon (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), offensive line: Originally with San Francisco as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Byron Marshall, Oregon, running back: Entering third season, second with Washington.