Each week after the NFL has completed its slate of games (starting with Thursday night football and ending after Monday night football) this series will take a look at news and statistics surrounding former Utah State Aggies players.
The current Aggies in the NFL include Tyler Larsen (Carolina Panthers), Patrick Scales (Chicago Bears), Tipa Galeai (Green Bay Packers practice squad), Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers), Darwin Thompson (Kansas City Chiefs), Nick Vigil (San Diego Chargers), Dominik Eberle (Las Vegas Raiders practice squad), Nevin Lawson (Las Vega Raiders Reserves), Dallin Leavitt (Las Vegas Raiders), Kyler Fackrell (New York Giants), and Bobby Wagner (Seattle Seahawks). If there is any new information on the players in reserves or practice squads there will be updates, however this series will mainly focus on those who are currently active on NFL rosters.
The only active Aggie player on the Carolina Panthers roster is Tyler Larsen, who is currently an offensive center in the reserves. Larsen, who was signed as a free agent in 2014, has struggled to find playing time. He originally signed with the Miami Dolphins but was eventually waived and cut from the team. His next stop was the Washington Football Team who also waived and cut Larsen and then the Carolina Panthers, who waived and cut Larsen in 2016 but resigned him to the practice squad later that year. He was activated from the practice squad in the same year and eventually in 2018, was to a two year $4.4 million contract extension with the Panthers. As a reserve, he has not seen much playing time, but that could change with the circumstances of COVID-19 as more depth will be significant for teams moving forward.
Similar to Tyler Larsen, Patrick Scales has a history of being cut and waived but is currently active in the NFL. Patrick Scales signed as a free agent to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 and was cut. The Miami Dolphins next signed Scales in 2013 followed by the New York Jets who cut Scales not long after singing him. Tampa Bay was the last team to sign Scales before he had a longer stint with the Baltimore Ravens signed, waived and cut a few times before he subsequently ended up with the Chicago Bears in 2015. Since then he has also been waived and cut by the Bears but since 2019 has been ultimately resigned to a one year contract.
Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love is probably one of the most anticipated names on the list of active Utah State players since he was picked late in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Love had a very memorable college career at Utah State, finishing his career with the Aggies with 8,600 yards passing and 60 touchdowns to 29 interceptions and he also led the Aggies to a strong 2018 season where they were ranked in the final AP poll for just the third time in school history. Love set three career records with Utah State with 9.003 yards of total offense, 12 career 300-yard passing games and four completions of at least 80 yards. Love also set eight single game records during his college career and he received a lot of love (pun intended) from NFL scouts. He is currently a third string quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers and Tim Boyle. While he has not played in any games yet due to the preseason games being canceled because of COVID-19, Love will likely get his chance to make plays at some point as a first round pick.
Kansas City Chief
Darwin Thompson is currently playing for the Chiefs and was picked in the 2019 NFL Draft in the 6th round. He has not had a lot of chances to show what he can do as he is one season into the NFL with talent backs on the Chiefs rosters and has not seen the field in 2020. In 2019, Thompson rushed for 128 yards on 37 attempts and had one touchdown with a long rush of 12 yards. He also had 43 yards receiving on nine receptions. Running back will be an interesting position this season when considering the health of the backs to injury and COVID-19 so Thompson could see his production increase this year and if he takes advantage of the opportunities, in future years as well.
Los Angeles Chargers
Linebacker Nick Vigil has seen the most production of anybody on this list. In the most recent Charges game this past weekend against the Bengals, Vigil had 5 tackles, 3 solo and 2 assists. Vigil was picked in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Bengals before being signed to the Chargers. Vigil did not see much time in 2016 with only 21 tackles and 6 sacks, however his production increased in 2017 as Vigil finished the season with 79 tackles and 5 sacks in addition to his first career interception. The highlight of the 2018 season for Vigil was the season opener against the Steelers, in which he posted 17 tackles. He finished the 2018 season in Cincinnati with 84 tackles, 62 solo and 22 assisted. In his final season with the Bengals in 2019, Vigil had over 100 tackles, totaling 111 and had one sack and one interception. What the statistics show is that Vigil’s production went up every year after his first and he has already made an impact with the Chargers. This will be a former Utah State player with plenty of opportunities to make big plays and a former player to keep an eye on throughout the season.
Las Vegas Raiders
There are a few Utah State alumni on the Raiders practice squad, however safety Dallin Leavitt is the only Aggie turned Raider to see playing time. Leavitt signed to the Raiders as a free agent in the 2018 NFL Draft and was activated from the practice squad to contribute. He had just one tackle in 2018 and ten in 2019 so there is more room for production. Leavitt has not been given many opportunities which is understandable as he signed as a free agent out of college. That is not to say that Leavitt is not capable of playing well, he finished his career with the Aggies with 200 tackles as a safety and also had seven career interceptions despite not playing in 2015, sitting out after he transferred from BYU after the 2014 season. He is currently listed second on the depth chart at full safety so he will certainly get more opportunities than he did in 2018 or 2019 to make big plays on defense.
New York Giants
Linebacker Kyler Fackrell was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft and is currently listed as second on the depthchart at weakside linebacker. He was originally drafted by the Packers and played three seasons with them until the Giants signed Fackrell in 2020. During the 2016 season, Fackrell had 18 tackles and upped that number to 28 in his second season with the Packers. His best season came in 2018, when he had 43 tackles and 10.5 sacks. The numbers fell down a little bit in 2019, 23 tackles one sack, before he was signed by the Giants. Fackrell played his first game with the Giants against the Steelers in a 26-16 loss where Fackrell recorded two tackles. This is only the beginning of the season and Fackrell will likely have more opportunities as the season progresses.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is the only current active Utah State starter on an NFL roster. Wagner was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. In his eight year career with the Seahawks, Wagner has made 1082 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 10 interceptions, and one touchdown. At Utah State, Wagner ended his career with 432 tackles and four interceptions while adding four sacks. His best season in the NFL thus far came in his rookie season in 2012, when he had 140 tackles and three interceptions with two sacks. He has certainly been given the most opportunities among the current Aggies in the NFL and that production looks to continue as Wagner has managed to get over 100 tackles in every season he has played. In his most recent appearance against the Falcons, Wagner had 7 tackles.
As the season moves on, more entries will be added to the Aggies in the NFL series and news and updates will be given should a former Aggie be given an opportunity.