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NFL Preview: Former BYU Cougars

With the 2009 NFL season kicking off tonight in Pittsburgh, it's appropriate to provide a brief preview covering former Cougars playing professionally.  There are currently 12 former BYU players on NFL rosters, including rookie WR Austin Collie who finished second on the Indianapolis Colts in receptions during the preseason with eight catches for 69 yards.  Two former Cougars should also be playing tonight however in Chris Hoke and Brett Keisel, veterans and long-time Pittsburgh Steelers.  (Not a coincidence that last season's champions rostered three BYU alums - the most in the NFL.)

Other players of note include John Beck (reunited with Cam Cameron, the former Miami Head Coach who drafted him) in Baltimore.  Beck is QB Joe Flacco's backup along with Troy Smith.  Interestingly, Todd Watkins has made the Raiders' roster after struggling to make teams in Arizona and Atlanta. (Of course, his speed certainly didn't hurt his chances with Al Davis' obsession.  See: Heyward-Bey, Darrius)

Former BYU linebackers Bryan Kehl (Giants) and Brady Poppinga (Packers) should see a lot of action this season. Last but not least, Fahu Tahi (who signed an offer sheet to return to the Bengals this offseason, but had the offer matched by the Vikings) will get a chance to block for not only Adrian Peterson, but Brett Favre as well.

After the jump is a comprehensive list of those currently playing professionally, their years spent at BYU, and their current teams.  Who will you be paying the most attention to this season?

NFL

(2004, 2007-08) Austin Collie, WR, Indianapolis Colts (Rookie)
(2004-05) Todd Watkins, WR, Oakland Raiders
(2003-06) John Beck, QB, Baltimore Ravens
(2003-06) Daniel Coats, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
(2002, 2005-07) Bryan Kehl, LB, New York Giants
(2001-04) Brady Poppinga, LB, Green Bay Packers
(2001-04) Aaron Francisco, S, Indianapolis Colts
(2001-04) John Denney, LS, Miami Dolphins
(1999, 2003-05) Fahu Tahi, FB, Minnesota Vikings
(1998, 2000-01) Brett Keisel, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers
(1998-01) Ryan Denney, DE, Buffalo Bills
(1997-00) Chris Hoke, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers

Free Agents

(2006-08) Travis Bright, OG (Dallas Cowboys) (Rookie 2009)
(2006-08) David Oswald, OT (St. Louis Rams) (Rookie 2009)
(2006-07) Kelly Poppinga, LB (Arizona Cardinals)
(2005-08) Ray Feinga, OG (San Diego Chargers) (Rookie 2009)
(2005-08) Dallas Reynolds, OG (Philadelphia Eagles) (Rookie 2009)
(2003, 2006-08) David Nixon, LB (Oakland Raiders) (Rookie 2009)
(2003, 2006-08) Fui Vakapuna, FB (Cincinnati Bengals) (Rookie 2009)
(2005-06) Jonny Harline, TE (Cleveland Browns)
(2004-06) Cameron Jensen, LB (Seattle Seahawks)
(2004-06) Zac Collie, WR (Philadelphia Eagles)
(2002-04, 2006) Curtis Brown, RB (Oakland Raiders)
(2002-04) Shaun Nua, DE (Pittsburgh Steelers)
(2002-04) Scott Young, OG (Cleveland Browns)
(2000-03) Scott Jackson, OG (Houston Texans)
(1998, 2001-02) Reno Mahe, RB (Philadelphia Eagles)
(1996-98) John Tait, OT (Chicago Bears)
(1993, 1997-99) Rob Morris, LB (Indianapolis Colts)

CFL

(2005-06) Aaron Wagner, LB, Saskatchewan Roughriders
(1997, 2000-01) Ben Archibald, OG, Calgary Stampeders (New Orleans Saints)
(1996-97) Ben Cahoon, WR, Montreal Alouettes
(1996-97) Omarr Morgan, CB, Saskatchewan Roughriders (St. Louis Rams)

UFL

(2000-03) Colby Bockwoldt, LB, Florida Tuskers (Cleveland Browns)

AFL

(2003-06) Jake Kuresa, OT, Utah Blaze (New Orleans Saints)

 

(Should there be any errors or additions please feel free to correct me in the comments below.)