Final weekend of NFL preseason: Which former Hoos will make the cut?

By Scott Ratcliffe

Olamide Zaccheaus (17) gets past former Virginia teammate Bryce Hall (37) for a touchdown on Monday. (Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

With just one week remaining in the NFL preseason, several former Virginia football players will have one last chance this weekend to make sure they see their name on the opening-day roster.

All 32 teams must trim their rosters from 80 players down to 53 by Tuesday. In the event that a player doesn’t make the final cut, there will still be an opportunity to make their respective practice squad — which was bumped up from 14 to 16 players in the offseason — or possibly get picked up by another organization.

First, here’s a recap of how the Wahoo alums performed last week:

Defensive back Tim Harris (Class of 2018) is the only former Hoo that didn’t make the cut thus far, as he was released by the Bills last Tuesday.

On Thursday, Chicago linebacker Charles Snowden (‘20) registered a solo tackle against the Seahawks. Snowden saw 38 snaps on defense and 19 on special teams.

His former UVA teammate, safety Joey Blount (‘21), recorded three stops (two solo) for Seattle. Blount was in on 24 snaps on defense and 17 on special teams.

Bryce Perkins (‘19) didn’t see quite as much playing time as he did in Week 1 of the preseason on Friday against the Texans, but still made his case for the LA Rams’ backup quarterback job. Wake Forest alum John Wolford, who served as the No. 2 behind Matthew Stafford over last season’s Super Bowl run, got the start against Houston and played the entire first half, while Perkins took over for the second half.

After a quick three-and-out on the opening possession of the third quarter, Perkins — who led a pair of scoring drives, the second of which gave the Rams a 20-17 lead with just over five minutes to play — settled in and completed 11 of his 13 attempts for 123 yards and rushed twice for a total of one yard.

Perkins made an eye-popping play with his feet late in the third quarter, stretching the ball across the goal line after hurdling a defender on what would have been a touchdown, but the Rams committed a penalty on the play to wipe the points off the scoreboard.

Down 24-20 with under two minutes left, Perkins did his best to give LA a shot to win, but after calling their final timeout with 12 seconds left, the Rams fell short, as Perkins connected with Lance McCutcheon inside the 20-yard line in the waning seconds, but he was tackled inbounds just before the final horn sounded.

Wolford was sacked five times on the night, compared to just once for Perkins, who registered a QB rating of 106.1 (Wolford’s was 82.0, completing 14 of 22 passes for 142 yards and no touchdowns).

Safety De’Vante Cross (‘21), who was signed last week by Green Bay, made his NFL debut on Friday for the Packers against the Saints, recording a solo tackle across his 15 snaps on the night.

Wide receiver RaShaun Henry (‘21) had one reception for 12 yards in Carolina’s 20-10 loss to New England on Friday. It was his lone target of the evening out of 25 snaps.

Jelani Woods (‘21) got the start at tight end for the Colts on Saturday against the Lions, participating on 19 snaps on offense and nine on special teams. The former Wahoo has been turning heads and making noise in Indianapolis’ training camp, and looks to have a good shot of making the opening-day roster, especially after recently losing fellow TE Drew Ogletree for the season.

Woods’ Colts teammate, Rodney McLeod (‘11), didn’t suit up for Saturday’s game, but the veteran is in a battle for the starting strong safety spot in Indy.

Free safety Juan Thornhill (‘18) had two tackles (one solo) against Washington on Saturday. Thornhill should be considered a lock to begin his fourth NFL season with the Chiefs.

Chargers receiver Joe Reed (‘19) was targeted once, but couldn’t haul in a reception against the Cowboys on Saturday night, while returning a pair of kickoffs for 26 yards (long of 22).

Meanwhile, teammate Andrew Brown (‘17) is competing for a spot on Los Angeles’ defensive line.

Anthony Harris (‘14) sat out the Eagles’ second exhibition contest against the Browns on Sunday. Harris is expected to start at safety for Philadelphia on opening day.

Eric Smith (‘16) is fighting for one of the right-tackle spots for the Giants, and he played the majority of the second half — he was in on 45 snaps — on Sunday against the defending AFC champion Bengals. Smith also saw a little time at right guard in the preseason opener against New England.

Offensive tackle Morgan Moses (‘13) is entering his ninth professional season, this season as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. Just like the week before, Moses did not play against the Cardinals on Sunday, but he’s likely to be a fixture all season on the O-line.

Two of his UVA-alum teammates suited up, as defensive end Brent Urban (‘13) made two tackles (one solo), including one for a loss, while tight end Tony Poljan (‘20) saw eight snaps on offense and five on special teams for the Ravens.

Atlanta wideout Olamide Zaccheaus (‘18) made his lone reception count against the Jets on Monday night, hauling in a 13-yard touchdown catch from Marcus Mariota in the first quarter, beating former Cavalier teammate Bryce Hall on the play.

Zaccheaus was targeted twice on just six snaps, but is expected to start for the Falcons in Week 1. Hall (‘19) had four tackles (all solo) against the Falcons. Guard Chris Glaser (‘21) is hoping to make the cut on the Jets’ offensive line.

You can catch several former Hoos in action this weekend on NFL Network (see the full schedule below), which is also showing replays of last week’s games if you missed anything, or just want to watch again.

Week 3 schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 25
Green Bay (Cross) at Kansas City (Thornhill), 8 p.m. (NFL Network)

Friday, Aug. 26
Buffalo at Carolina (Henry), 7 p.m.
Seattle (Blount) at Dallas, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)
LA Chargers (Brown, Reed) at New Orleans, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 27
Jacksonville at Atlanta (Zaccheaus), 3 p.m. (NFL Network)
LA Rams (Perkins) at Cincinnati, 6 p.m. (NFL Network)
Chicago (Snowden) at Cleveland, 7 p.m.
Philadelphia (Harris) at Miami, 7 p.m.
Washington at Baltimore (Moses, Poljan, Urban), 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Indianapolis (McLeod, Woods), 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 28
NY Giants (Smith) at NY Jets (Glaser, Hall), 1 p.m. (NFL Network)

 

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