The NFL season is onto championship Sunday with a spot for the Super Bowl on the line, so now is a great time to look back at how the former Nevada Wolf Pack players fared this year.
San Fransicso 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick: After leading his team to the Super Bowl in his second season and an NFC Championship Game in his third, the former Nevada superstar struggled mightily in his third season. His passer rating of 86.4 ranked 20th of 40 quarterbacks this season, finishing behind the likes of Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler. He threw for 19 touchdowns to go along with 10 picks and a completion percentage of 60.5 percent. Although his numbers seem bad, and many pointed to bad decision making and inaccurate throws, the major reasons for his struggles was his offensive line, or lack thereof.
In his 15 starts previous to this season, Kaepernick was sack a total of 58 times over the span of two seasons. This season, he was sacked a staggering 52 times, the second most in the NFL. There are rumors that Kaepernick could be traded, as the 49ers are going in a separate direction after firing Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. We can only hope that he will find a new home where he will start and get a little bit of blocking.
Cleveland Browns OL Joel Bitinio: The rookie offensive guard for the Browns was arguably one of the best offensive lineman in football this season. He played every snap for Cleveland, and was ranked the third best guard by Pro Football Focus (Subscription Required), behind the only Marshal Yanda and Josh Sitton, and ahead of the likes of Mike Iupati and teammate John Greco.
Denver Broncos TE Virgil Green: It's hard to complain as a pass-catcher when you have Peyton Manning throwing you the ball, only caught six passes for 74 yards this season, with most of that production coming in the final game of the season. However, Green has exceeded in his role as a blocker. During the final six regular season games, he played 70% of his teams snaps. He was also one of the key factors in the Broncos' new run game. Though he lacks production, Green is one of the best at what he does in the NFL.
Denver Broncos LB Brandon Marshall: After spending most of last season on the Denver practice squad, Marshall enjoyed a breakout season in 2014, leading the Broncos with 95 solo tackles, along with an interception and forced fumble. He will be a major piece of the Denver defense moving forward.
Kansas City Chiefs LB James-Michael Johnson: Johnson stepped into the starting role this season after Derrick Johnson went down with a ruptured achilles. Playing alongside former Wolf Pack star Josh Mauga he recorded 42 tackles and also forced a fumble in 16 games.
Kansas City Chiefs LB Josh Mauga: In his first year with the Chiefs, James-Michael Johnson's running mate enjoyed a very successful season in Kansas City. After signing as a free agent, Mauga finished second on the team with 82 solo tackles, along with 0.5 sack.
Tennessee Titans LB Kaelin Burnett: The third-year linebacker did not do much this season, as he was only active for two games, recording only three tackles.
Tennessee Titans LB Dontay Moch: Nevada linebackers and the Tennessee Titans don't seem to mesh. Moch was only active for 3 mes, and only recorded four tackles.
(We swear that was the last linebacker)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Isaiah Frey: After a lackluster rookie year, Frey was released by Chicago after only three games, to then be signed by Tampa Bay. Overall, he combined for 27 tackles, but did force two fumbles while still with the Bears.
Miami Dolphins WR Rishard Matthews: The seventh round pick in 2012 was only active for 11 games, totaling twelve catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
New York Jets TE Zach Sudfeld: Zach "Studfeld" as he was referred to by the media, burst onto the scene in training camp last season with the Patriots, and was drawing comparisons to the indicted Aaron Hernandez. He never came near those expectations, and was released later that year by New England, to be picked up by New York. He has not had much success in the Big Apple either, as last season he only caught five passes for a measly 85 yards.
Buffalo Bills S Duke Williams: The sophomore safety enjoyed some success, as he recorded at least one tackle in every game besides Week 16, in which he did not play because of injury. He also intercepted the ball once and, yes, as you guessed it, forced one fumble.
Tennessee Titans CB Khalid Wooten: I retract my earlier statement. The Tennessee Titans and Nevada football don't mix well. It's not just the linebackers. Wooten was only rostered for three games this season, and was inactive for all of them.
New England Patriots (PS) OL Chris Barker: Spent year on New England Patriots practice squad.