Real, actual NFL football returns this week -- and the former Hoosier seeing the most reps as a rookie might not be who you expected.
While last year's offensive stars Jason Spriggs (2nd round, Packers) Jordan Howard (5th round, Bears) and Nate Sudfeld (6th round, Redskins) made their NFL rosters after solid preseason, it's another Hoosier that's arguably making the biggest impact. After failing to hear his name get called on Draft Day, Darius Latham's already making a big splash for the Oakland Raiders. He's made the team's 53 man roster -- and he's receiving league-wise praise from Pro Football Focus for his preseason performance. The North Central High School product graded out as the best defensive tackle in the league over the course of the preseason by Pro Football Focus. From PFF's Team of the Preseason piece:
DI: Darius Latham, Oakland Raiders
He may not have managed to record a sack, but Darius Latham did notch a hit, six hurries and a batted pass while rushing the passer, as well as grading well in the run game, where he posted six defensive stops and one of the best grades among any interior defender.
It's a heck of a start to the Hoosier's career after a DUI dampened his chances of being drafted, but it now seems Latham's play on the field has helped him find a stable role in the NFL. And if you haven't kept up on the Raiders in the preseason, the tape is impressive.
Latham's Raiders open in New Orleans against the Saints at 1pm on Fox this week.
OTHER NFL HOOSIERS
- SBNation's Steven White thinks Cody Latimer is primed for a breakout season with the Broncos.
- How's Rodger Saffold preparing for his first season in LA? By helping manage the eSports Call of Duty team he founded, of course.
- After starting 11 times as a UDFA in 2015, Bobby Richardson was cut by the Saints -- but he'll stay on the practice squad.
- Two other former Hoosiers offensive stars are on practice squads: Shane Wynn (Jacksonville) & Stephen Houston (Baltimore). John Harbaugh pulled Houston away from brother-in-law Tom Crean -- Houston was Indiana basketball's assistant strength coach last season.
- Tracy Porter's out of the concussion protocol and cleared to start in the opener for the Bears in his 9th NFL season.