The American Athletic Conference had nine players drafted in the NFL in April, and some other players including ex-Golden Hurricane Keyarris Garrett were picked up by teams immediately following the conclusion of the draft. Here’s a brief look at where these players stand at this point in the season.
The big news for the Golden Hurricane, unfortunately, is that Keyarris Garrett was cut from the Carolina Panthers on Saturday as they trimmed their roster to 53 men. Garrett did not have the best start to training camp, but looked to be turning things around in the last couple weeks. Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera said “He’s had a couple of really good days, and he played well the other night [against the Baltimore Ravens]. He’s a young guy who is starting to string it together.” Garrett also made some strong plays in the preseason games against the Patriots and an impressive one-handed catch against the Steelers in the preseason finale. Even with being cut, Garrett’s career isn’t over. He will most likely make it onto the practice squad which will give him a chance to make the team at a later point.
Some of the other players drafted out of the AAC are having tough times in the NFL as well. Paxton Lynch, previously at Memphis and drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos, is fighting for the backup position behind Trevor Siemian. He played the entirety of the final preseason game and threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns, but still has room to improve.
Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak talked about what he needs to do. “He continues to make plays because of his ability, but it continues to be about consistency. But I think the strides he’s made since we got him have been very good and he’ll make some more.”
The other first-round pick from the AAC, William Jackson III, has had a rough start for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was having a strong training camp before he suffered a pectoral injury that many thought would end his 2016 season before it had even truly begun. However, after getting a second opinion, there is a possibility that he will be able to return before the season is over. Head Coach Marvin Lewis said “he’s going to have a surgery that is going to re-attach his pectoral muscle, but we anticipate that he has an opportunity still to play this football season. It’s just a matter of how his body heals. He had a little more glide in his stride this morning because he sees some light at the end of the tunnel.”
Keenan Reynolds, the quarterback from Navy who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and had to receive special permission to postpone his service for the Navy in order to play in the NFL, was cut from the Ravens roster. This move was made to bring their roster within the required 53 players. The expectation at this point is that if he clears the waivers he will become a member of the Ravens’ practice squad.
All the other AAC players drafted into the NFL made it onto their respective team’s 53-roster and will continue on in their NFL career. This includes Demarcus Ayers (Houston – Steelers), Parker Ehinger (Cincinnati – Chiefs), Matthew Ioannidis (Temple – Redskins), Tyler Matakevich (Temple – Steelers), Chris Moore (Cincinnati – Ravens), Elandon Roberts (Houston – Patriots) and Tavon Young (Temple – Ravens).