Hey there Coug fans! Well, this year’s parties are over for the most anticipated and publicized NFL Draft in the history of the sport. Unfortunately no Cougs went in the picks, but 5 of our boys did get picked up via free agency afterwards so we send out a big “Congratulations” to those guys and hope they rep Washington State proudly. And what better time to talk “Cougs in the NFL”! In Part 1 of the 4 part CougSclusive series, we’re gonna discuss our top 5 current players from out of Pullman to make it to the big show. So let’s get to it!
Josh’s top 5:
Jan 1, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson (4) watches a point after kick during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Unfortunately, Coug faithful don’t have too many alum to follow these days, as only 11 Cougs reside on an NFL roster outside of our rookie hopefuls. But there are still some good ones.
#5: S Eric Coleman (Lions): Coleman was drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 draft and has four times registered 100+ tackles in an NFL season, which is half of his career. He also carries a career total of 10 interceptions as he moves to his 3rd NFL team, the Detroit Lions.
#4: WR Jason Hill (Broncos): Simply put, Hill has never been given the opportunity he deserves after his 3rd round selection by the 49ers in 2007. The lack of opportunity has come in the form of stat sucking qbs in San Francisco and Jacksonville, where he caught only 76 passes and 8 tds. But look out world because the move to Denver to team up with Peyton Manning will give Hill a shot at finally becoming the receiver we all thought he would be when he graduated from WSU.
#3: WR Brandon Gibson (Rams): As much as I hate where Brandon plays now, I have to admit that the kid is representing the Crimson and Gray very well. Gibson of course finished at WSU as the all time leading receiver in school history and has continued catching passes in the NFL as he grows into an NFL receiver. 87 catches for 968 and 3 tds so far.
#2: CB Marcus Trufant (Seahawks): “Tru” has been a Seahawk fan favorite since his selection as the 11th overall pick of the 2003 draft. But not only has he been a favorite, he’s been the most productive defensive position player of all time in the league from WSU. After making a college career out of highlight reel plays and sure-handed tackles, the Tacoma native hasn’t slowed down in the NFL, collecting 21 career interceptions with 2 returned for tds, 5 fumble recoveries and 612 overall tackles. Trufant has been hurt in recent years but when he is on the field he is one of the savvy-est defenders in the league and will try to help lead Seattle back to the Playoffs in 2012 after being re-signed to a one year deal.
#1: K Jason Hanson (Lions): There’s only one way to describe the greatness of what Hanson has done and it’s by quoting NFL.com, and there is even more here about what this guy has done: “The 20-year veteran, and one of the NFL’s most productive kickers, is the Lions’ all-time scoring leader with 2,009 points as well as the all-time leader in field goals (462) and extra points (623). Hanson is only the sixth player in NFL history to connect on 400 career field goals and eighth to make 600 PATs. With a 50-yarder vs. San Diego (12/24/11), Hanson became the first player in NFL history with 50 50+-yard field goals.”
Pretty much speaks for itself!
Mark’s top 5:
December 4, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson (11) catches a pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Rams 26-0. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
In my opinion, Marcus Trufant is the best WSU player in the NFL. He has gotten a lot of criticism for injury’s and told that he is no good, but last season in the few game he played… he didn’t allow a Touchdown and had 23 tackles and 1 Interception which is pretty good for about 4 games. If he is healthy he should have a decent year this upcoming season for the Seahawks. It will be in a smaller role… but he can still play football and shut guys down in whatever role Pete Carroll wants.
Now, to my #2 pick… I would have to go with Brandon Gibson of the St. Louis Rams; he is arguably on one of the worst teams in the NFL. He put up some decent numbers last season, 36 receptions, 431 yards and 1 TD on a two win team. Not a lot of guys are left playing in the NFL last year from WSU, because of injury. Gibson has a chance to put up some decent numbers again next season, if the Rams improve from their poor 2 win season.
#3 I would have to go with another wide receiver. . Jason Hill. Hill has been putting up decent numbers just like Gibson, last season Hill had 25 receptions, 367 yards, and 3 touchdowns in only 10 games. Next season his numbers should be much better, with his Quarterback being Peyton Manning now. Hill has been a decent receiver for the past few years… but will need to improve next season to actually stay on a team for more than a year. He has bounced all around the NFL since his rookie year with San Francisco.
#4 again not many players left that play a lot, but I’d have to go Jason Hanson. The guy 41 years old a 20 year veteran in the league and still gets it done year after year. He has proved that he is one of the best kickers in the NFL. He made around 80% of his kicks last season, with the Lions on the rise it would be nice if Hanson could finally get a ring and retire with the only franchise he has ever played for. A guy who was a local talent in Washington, and to not only make it in the NFL, but to play for 20 years… that is a great accomplishment.
#5 Rian Lindell is last on my top five. Just like Hanson, Lindell has been playing for awhile and is a very good kicker. Lindell has been playing for 12 good years and can still play for a long time. Not a big deal for some but as a kicker he has 31 tackles… probably wouldn’t hurt the Bills to put him at Linebacker (lol)… Around the same percentage as Hanson, he too makes around 80% of his kicks.
Just for fun I will say who I think may be one of the better Cougs in the NFL after a bit of time in the league:
Ropati Pitoitua a 6-8 315 Ibs DE of the New York Jets.
Pitoitua had around 19 tackles last season along with 1 sack. I see him making a huge leap and getting some sufficient minutes in the next two seasons. Pitoitua is a guy who really can make an impact on an already good defense.
Caleb’s top 5:
September 12, 2010, Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant (23) deflects a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at Qwest Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
#5 Rian Lindell: Lindell started in Seattle but ended up at the bills in 2003. He made the most consecutive field goals in a row in Bills history and set a record for the highest field goal percentage at 83.02%. Rian’s career high longest field goal was 56 yards. He also set an NFL record for 321 extra points made in a row.
#4 Erik Coleman: Coleman was selected by the New York Jets in the fifth round (143rd overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. He unexpectedly became one of the most important Jet defenders, cementing his starting role with interceptions in each of his first two NFL games. He finished the season as the NFL’s highest grossing member of its performance-pay program, the league’s plan for rewarding low-salary players who outperform their contracts. Erik just signed a one year contract with the Detroit Lions.
#3 Jerome Harrison: Harrison broke Jim Brown’s single game rushing record for a Cleveland Brown running back with 286 yards and three touchdowns, placing him third on the all-time single-game rushing yards list behind Adrian Peterson, who had rushed for 296 yards and three touchdowns and Jamal Lewis, who had rushed for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Jerome was traded to the Eagles, then the Lions and is currently on the injury list due to a brain tumor doctors discovered during a physical when the Lions attempted to trade him back to the Eagles.
#2 Brandon Gibson: In his Ram debut, on November 15, 2009, he caught 7 passes for 93 yards, both Ram records for a rookie playing in his first game. The 93 yards was the most by any Ram receiver in 2009, as was the 7 receptions. Brandon still has quite the future in front of him, he would have gone higher in the draft but was injured in his Senior Bowl which affected his performance in the combine.
#1 Marcus Trufant: Trufant was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 11th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. His impact in the NFL has been felt, as many quarterbacks avoid trying to throw in Marcus Trufant’s area. Coming from Tacoma and graduating from Washington State University, Trufant is considered a hometown favorite. In 2007 Trufant played a big part in the Seahawks defense, intercepting a career high 7 passes and returning one for an 84 yard touchdown. He also deflected 15 passes and made 85 tackles, and was voted into the 2008 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. On February 21, 2008 the Seahawks placed their franchise tag on Trufant, tendering him with a one year $9.465 million deal.
On March 26, 2008 the Seahawks signed Trufant to a new six-year, $50.2 million deal with a $10 million signing bonus.
On October 17, 2011, Trufant was placed on injured reserve with a bruised sacrum, ending his season.
The Seahawks released Trufant on March 8, 2012, but resigned him one month and one day later on April 9, 2012
Washington State has sent some world class athletes to the NFL and I’m hoping that continues in the next couple of years as our young players such as Marquess Wilson and Rickey Galvin emerge. As always, Go Cougs!