USATodaySports/Hartline

NFL Cougs gear up for 2016-17 season; 10 Cougars on NFL rosters or practice squads

FORMER COUGAR D-LINEMAN Destiny Vaeao has beaten the odds and earned his way into the NFL. Vaeao made Philadelphia’s 53-man roster despite being an undrafted free agent, with Philly waiving three of its eight draft choices in finalizing its roster. Vaeao is one of 10 Cougars on NFL rosters or practice squads headed into the NFL’s opening weekend.

OL Joe Dahl, taken in the fifth round by Detroit, not only made the team -- he’s listed as the No. 2 at both left guard and right guard on the Detroit depth chart.

Other NFL Cougar veterans back for 2016 include S/LB Deone Bucannon (Arizona), DL Xavier Cooper (Cleveland) and RB Chris Ivory (Jacksonville). Chicago WR Marquess Wilson is on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he will miss at least the first six weeks of the season.

Meanwhile, four Cougars were named to NFL practice squads after the rosters were finalized including one with the Seahawks: LB Kache Palacio (Seattle), WR Dom Williams (San Diego), John Fullington (New Orleans) and Vince Mayle (Dallas).

Keep an eye out to see if longtime NFL defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua will get picked up by someone. Pitoitua was waived by the Titans, as predicted by Tennessee beat writers before training camp opened in large part because cutting him would save Tennessee $3.08 million in cap space.   He remained a free agent as of last check.

Pitoitua was an undrafted free agent out of Washington State but has seven years of NFL experience with the Chiefs, Giants and Titans. Pitoitua played 33 games for the Titans over the past three seasons, combining for 74 tackles and six sacks in 2013-14.

RELATED STORY: Vaeao shines in Philly, Seahawks pick up Palacio


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