#NFLBuffs: 19 Buffs On NFL Rosters Leading Into Opening Week
BOULDER - With the 2021 NFL season still a week away, a total of 19 former Colorado Buffaloes have made either their team's active 53-man roster or landed a spot on the practice squad.
After three preseason games, teams cut down to the 53-man limit on Aug. 31 and then over the next few days signed players to their practice squads, which remain at the expanded 16-player limit established in 2020 due to the pandemic.
At least 13 Buffs will be suiting up for the NFL's opening weekend with All-Pro David Bakhtiari opening the 2021 season on the PUP (injured) list and five Buffs landing on practice squads. Teams are also more free to active players to and from the practice squad than in the past.
Here's a look at the 19 players who open the 2021 season on an NFL roster:
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Bengals: After a change of scenery from Dallas to Cincinnati, Awuzie is determined to prove his worth as a reliable number one corner in the NFL. Awuzie has shined in camp and looks to be a valuable asset to the team's defense this season.
David Bakhtiari, OT, Packers: Bahktiari was recently voted as the 36th best player in the NFL by his peers, a bump up from 62 the previous season. It is still unclear when we will see Bakhtiari this season, as he is rehabbing from an ACL injury he suffered last december. He will start the season on PUP list for the Packers.
Ken Crawley, CB, Saints: Despite suffering a minor injury in the Saints second pre-season game, Crawley is still expected to start at cornerback Week 1 against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers after having an impressive training camp.
Mason Crosby, K, Packers: Going into his 15th season as the leading scorer on the league's oldest franchise, Crosby looks as strong as ever and even got an opportunity to punt in a Packers preseason game after punter J.K Scott went out with a leg cramp. Crosby's punt traveled 41 yards.
Kabion Ento, CB, Packers: The former Buffs receiver enters his third season on the Packers the same place as his first two there, on the practice squad. His rookie season was spent learning the ins and outs of his new position and his second season he was injured and remained on the practice squad. He had flashes in the 2021 preseason, including an interception against the Texans.
Arlington Hambright G, Bears: Hambright enters his second season with the Bears after playing nine games as a rookie in 2020. Like his rookie season, he opens the 2021 season on the Bears practice squad.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Texans: After two seasons in his hometown of Denver, Lindsay signed with Houston and will be sharing the backfield with other veterans like Mark Ingram, David Johnson, and Rex Burkehead.
Steven Montez, QB, Lions: Montez signed with Detroit's practice squad on Sept. 1 after spending his rookie season and the 2021 training camp with Washington. The Lions third-string QB is out with a thumb injury, opening the door for Montez to potentially be activated to the team's active roster.
Daniel Munyer, C, Titans: Munyer made the Titans 53 man roster as a center but on Friday he landed himself on the injured reserve list with an ankle injury and is expected to be out for at least four weeks.
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Falcons: The former second-round NFL pick and versatile corner finished his 2020 season with 70 tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack for the Falcons. He enters his fourth year in the league, all with the Falcons.
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Jaguars: Shenault shined in the Jaguars final preseason game with three catches for 33 yards and a touchdown. His standout moment was when he caught a screen pass from Trevor Lawrence and proceeded to bull-through four Cowboys defenders for a 20-yard gain. Many believe he is poised to have a breakout season with the Jags under new head coach Urban Meyer. As a rookie last season he had 58 catches for 600 yards and five touchdowns.
William Sherman OT: The sixth-round draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft by New England spent training camp but didn't make the 53-man roster. He was shortly thereafter added to the team's practice squad.
Jimmy Smith, CB, Ravens: The veteran Ravens corner suffered an ankle injury last week and Coach John Harbaugh is hopeful that he will begin practicing next week, if not he should be back by early in the season.
Nate Solder, OT, Giants: After opting out of the 2020 season due to health concerns, Nate Solder plans to return for his 10th NFL season and hopes to give the Giants offensive line a needed boost that they were missing last season.
Davion Taylor, LB, Eagles: Taylor has been bothered by a calf injury and is considered week to week. The second year linebacker earned a spot on the Eagles roster at inside linebacker.
Tedric Thompson S, Titans: Enters his fifth season in the NFL and has bounced around a bit this summer after starting 2020 on the Chiefs finishing 2020 on the Browns. He was signed and waived by the Broncos and is currently on the Titans roster. He has played in 37 career games with 16 starts and has three inceptions and 93 tackles in his career.
Josh Tupou, DT, Bengals: Before opting out of the 2020 season, Tupou was a blockade in the middle of the Bengals defensive line at 345 pounds. Tupou looks to be refreshed after a season off, and aims to assist the Bengals in their run-stuffing efforts inside.
Juwann Winfree, WR, Packers: The 2019 sixth-round pick of the Broncos has played in a total of five NFL games. He was signed by the Packers in 2020 and appeared in two games. Like Ento he was recently released by the Packers despite some speculation that he would win a spot on the roster. A shoulder injury derailed his chances as he did not see any preseason action and after not making the 53-man roster, he was signed to the Packers practice squad on September 1.
Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Steelers: Witherspoon who was slated to be one of the top cornerbacks for the Seahawks this season but was just traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 3 for a 2023 fifth round draft pick. The 26-year-old spent the last four seasons with the 49ers. He adds some needed cornerback depth to the Steelers. He has 117 career tackles with 4 interceptions but is yet to fully establish himself in the league
Delrick Abrams Jr., Tony Brown, Devin Ross and Alex Tchangam were all on training camp rosters and potentially could surface on a practice squad or 53-man roster throughout the season.