Cougars in the pros: 13 former BYU players make NFL rosters
Thirteen former BYU football players made NFL 53-man rosters as the league’s teams made their final preseason roster cuts on Aug. 31.
While nine former Cougars were cut from their respective teams, safety Zayne Anderson, tight ends Matt Bushman and Bronson Kaufusi, offensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi and defensive back Chris Wilcox each signed with 16-man practice squads.
With Wilcox’s place on the Colts’ practice squad, all five former Cougars drafted in 2021 are part of an NFL team.
Zach Wilson enters the 2021 season as the New York Jets’ undisputed starting quarterback following stellar showings in his limited preseason. Wilson went 15-of-20 for 191 yards and two touchdowns during his appearances in the Jets’ preseason wins over the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.
Wilson will take his first regular-season snaps for the Jets as they open against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. MDT on CBS.
The Jets’ rookie signal-caller wasn’t the only former BYU player to shine in the preseason.
Dax Milne took advantage of the preseason to rise from an obscure wide receiver selected in the seventh round to solidifying his place on the Washington Football Team. The former BYU walk-on recorded five receptions for 52 yards in preseason action and now belongs to a receiver room that also features veterans such as Terry McLaurin, Adam Humphries and Curtis Samuel.
Khyiris Tonga battled his way from seventh-round pick rookie to second-string defensive lineman during the Chicago Bears’ training camp. Tonga is listed behind only Eddie Goldman at nose tackle on the Bears’ latest depth chart.
Offensive lineman Brady Christensen has found his place as the Carolina Panthers’ second-string right tackle. Christensen was the second Cougar to come off the board in April’s draft at the 70th overall pick in the third round.
Preseason success wasn’t limited to the Cougars’ 2021 draft class.
Remember Ty’Son Williams? Despite playing just four games for BYU before a season-ending injury, Williams quickly cemented himself in Cougar-lore with his game-winning touchdown run at Tennessee in 2019.
Williams now looks to make his mark in Baltimore.
The former undrafted free agent rushed for 130 yards on 24 carries in the Baltimore Ravens’ preseason games and rose from the practice squad to third-string running back on Aug. 31. With the injury to Ravens’ star J.K. Dobbins, Williams will likely see increased playing-time in 2021 alongside veterans Gus Edwards and Justice Hill.
Williams and the Ravens will kick off the 2021 season’s Monday Night Football slate with a matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, Sept. 13 at 6:15 p.m. MDT on ESPN and ABC.