As the wait for college football season continues — 19 days and counting — the NFL has gotten underway in the form of preseason. That, in turn, has lent itself to football action.
This preseason, 15 former ISU players have found homes in NFL camps. Through one week of preseason game action, it figures to be a good time to take a look at where they stand.
- Ahtyba Rubin, Defensive line — Cleveland Browns
A product of the 2008 NFL Draft, Rubin has stuck with the Browns as he now enters his seventh season in the league. He made 52 tackles last season and is expected to be a key component of the Browns’ defensive line this season.
- A.J. Klein, Linebacker — Carolina Panthers
The fifth-round pick from a season ago finds himself in a battle with last year’s starter, Chase Blackburn, to be the Panthers’ starting outside linebacker. Last season Klein appeared in all 16 games for the Panthers, starting twice in place of Blackburn when he suffered a foot injury. He recorded 24 tackles and two sacks.
Klein made two tackles in Week 1 of the preseason. He is set to make the roster, but whether he contributes more on special teams or at outside linebacker for the Panthers remains to be seen.
- Carter Bykowski, Offensive tackle — San Francisco 49ers
Bykowski was selected in the seventh round last season by the 49ers and stuck. While he spent the entirety of the season on the team’s practice squad, Bykowski is vying for a position with the team’s 56-man roster this season, though he does have practice squad eligibility. Evaluating linemen based on stats is difficult, but 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was complimentary of the team’s second-string line, which included Bykowski, after Game 1.
- David Sims, Defensive back — Indianapolis Colts
Since going undrafted in 2011, Sims has bounced around. He did get a shot with the Eagles during the 2012-13 season and made 15 tackles. After a year away from football, he signed with the Colts in February, which is where he currently finds himself in camp.
- Deon Broomfield, Defensive back — Buffalo Bills
An undrafted free agent this spring, Broomfield finds himself in a heated battle to make the Bills’ roster as a defensive back. The rookie had two tackles and an assist in his first NFL action.
- Jake Knott, Linebacker — Philadelphia Eagles
Knott, who signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 Draft, contributed mostly on special teams last season, appearing in 12 games while recording eight tackles. After violating the league's performance enhancing substance policy during the off-season, Knott will be suspended for the first four games this season.
Nonetheless, Knott is eligible for training camp and the team’s four preseason games. The second-year pro, however, was sidelined for the Eagles’ first game with a hamstring injury.
- Jake McDonough, Defensive end — Washington Redskins
McDonough initially signed with the New York Jets last spring after going undrafted, but shortly after headed to the Arena Football League, playing with the Portland Thunder. He eventually returned to the NFL with the Colts’ practice squad, but was waived in February. As July wound down, McDonough signed with the Redskins, although his role remains to be seen.
- Jansen Watson, Defensive back — Oakland Raiders
After going undrafted this spring, Watson signed with the Raiders. The rookie played in the team’s first preseason game in Minnesota, recording a tackle and assisting on another. Watson injured his toe in the opener, and recent reports say he has since left training camp while he evaluates his future.
- Jeremiah George, Linebacker — New York Jets
Oh, the life of a rookie in the NFL. While reports out of Jets camp have raved about linebacker Jeremiah George, a fifth-round pick this spring, he received a quick taste of the NFL reality in his first preseason game, watching the Colts’ Dan Herron scamper into the end zone on a 12-yard reception.
Jeremiah George is carving out a role with the Jets.
George, though, was playing with the No. 1s, which is a good sign. He figures to be in New York this season, but his role is to be determined.
- Jeremy Reeves, Defensive back — New York Jets
Reeves went undrafted in 2013 and sat out after having pectoral surgery, but he received a contract this spring with the Jets following a strong pro day appearance. With a barrage of injuries, Reeves appears to have a chance to crack the Jets rotation of defensive backs. He had a tackle in the preseason opener, but has also now joined the injured as he battles a knee injury.
- Josh Lenz, Wide receiver — Indianapolis Colts
After jumping around as an undrafted free agent last season, Lenz eventually joined the Colts and returned to the team for training camp this summer. Lenz wasn’t active for the team’s first preseason game, but has gotten reps with the second and third team early on in camp.
- Kelechi Osemele, Offensive line — Baltimore Ravens
This preseason is an important one for Osemele, not because he needs to prove himself to make the team, but because he is bouncing back from an injury that prematurely ended his 2013 campaign. After starting 16 games at right tackle during the regular season as a rookie, the 2012 second-rounder started only seven games before a back injury required surgery last season. Osemele appears healthy and in line to start.
- Leonard Johnson, Defensive back — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Johnson went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, but quickly latched on with the Buccaneers. He has been a success story since, appearing in 32 games over the past two seasons while starting 14. During that time, Johnson has four interceptions -- three coming during his rookie season -- and has returned two for touchdowns. He appears in line to be the team’s starting nickel this season barring any sudden changes.
- Reggie Stephens, Offensive line — Baltimore Ravens
A seventh-round selection in 2010, Stephens has bounced around the league. In January 2013 he signed with the Ravens and spent the season with the team. He returns to camp with them this summer, hoping to crack the roster rather than spend the season on the practice squad.
- Tim Dobbins, Linebacker — Atlanta Falcons
Dobbins is becoming an NFL veteran after being drafted in the 2006 NFL Draft by San Diego. He begins the 2014 season with his fourth team, but suffered an ankle injury in the Falcons’ preseason opener. He appeared in only three games for the Texans last season.