Last year, we at the WMSB created a ranking, which sorted the CAA’s football programs by the amount of players each team had in the NFL. Last year, W&M led the entire CAA with an incredible 10 players in the NFL. The methodology for this ranking includes the use of ESPN’s “NFL Players by College” tool, which allows you to see just how many players each collegiate program has in the NFL. Definitely a fun tool to poke around!
Just last week, we wrote about FOUR Tribe players inking NFL deals this offseason– so we thought, why not recreate last year’s list? The list includes players who were drafted into the pros as recently as the 2016 NFL Draft, players who recently signed onto teams as Undrafted Free Agents, and players who earned Rookie Mini Camp invites. Though we noticed that the ESPN tool missed some Rookie Mini Camp invites, so we’ve done the research and added these players in! If we missed one, let us know in the comments!
In all, the CAA is very well represented in the NFL. The 12-team league currently accounts for 64 players in the NFL, approximately 5 per program, though there is a pretty wide distribution between teams. For an FCS conference, that’s pretty incredible. But enough talk, it’s time to get down to business. Which CAA team comes out on top, and where does our beloved W&M fall in the mix? We think Tribe fans again will like this ranking, as they did last year! Roll Tribe.
CAA Ranking: Players Currently In The NFL
1. William & Mary: 10 Active Players — Tyler Claytor (Bears), Jerome Couplin III (Eagles/FA), Jonathan Grimes (Texans), DeAndre Houston-Carson (Bears), Sean Lissemore (Chargers), Tre McBride (Titans), Mike Reilly (Cardinals), Christian Reeves (Kansas City Chiefs), Luke Rhodes (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), B.W. Webb (Titans)
1. Delaware: 10 Active Players — Mike Adams (Colts), Nick Boyle (Ravens), Marcus Burley (Seahawks), Pat Devlin (Browns/FA), Joe Flacco (Ravens), Gino Gradkowski (Panthers), Zach Kerr (Colts), Erie Ladson (Browns), Ronald Talley (Jets/FA) Paul Worrilow (Falcons)
1. Richmond: 10 Active Players — Reggie Diggs (Redskins), Ben Edwards (Giants), Kendall Gaskins (49ers), Jacobi Green (Panthers) Tim Hightower (Saints), Richard Muldrow (Panthers), Nick Ritcher (Titans), Cooper Taylor (Giants), Hunter Westfall (Panthers), Kerry Wynn (Giants)
4. Towson: 8 Active Players — Jermon Bushrod (Dolphins), Jordan Dangerfield (Steelers), Jon Desir (Vikings) Ryan Delaire (Panthers), Donnell Lewis (Bills), Jake Schunke (Vikings) Tye Smith (Seahawks), Terrance West (Ravens)
5. James Madison: 7 Active Players — Daniel Brown (Ravens), Vad Lee (New York Giants/FA) Dean Marlowe (Panthers), Arthur Moats (Steelers), Dominick Richards (Redskins) Earl Watford (Cardinals), Josh Wells (Jaguars)
6. Maine: 6 Active Players — Damarr Aultman (Dolphins), Trevor Bates (Colts), Kendall James (Jets), Bruce Johnson (Eagles), Matthew Mulligan (Lions), Justin Perillo (Packers)
6. Villanova: 6 Active Players — Don Cherry (Bears), Rakim Cox (Panthers), Ben Ijalana (Jets), Vince Kowalski (Packers), Kevin Monangai (Eagles/FA), Ross Ventrone (Steelers)
8. New Hampshire: 4 Active Players — Corey Graham (Bills), R.J. Harris (Saints), Jared Smith (Cowboys), Harold Spears (Ravens)
9. Stony Brook: 2 Active Players — Victor Ochi (Ravens), Will Tye (Giants)
10. Albany: 1 Active Player — Brian Parker (Chiefs)
12. Rhode Island: 0 Active Players
12. Elon: 0 Active Players
It’s interesting to note that again, the Tribe comes out on top of this list for the second year in a row, tied with Delaware and Richmond. It’s also interesting that although W&M hasn’t been at the very top of the CAA standings and winning the Championship each year, the program has steadily produced quality NFL-caliber players– especially on the defensive side of the ball. It likely has a lot to do with what Coach Laycock has been able to accomplish at W&M over the past 30+ seasons, as the school has built an incredibly stable program that has become known for producing well-rounded athletes.
Again, it is important to remember that this list includes some players who have a long way to go to make the roster. However, this gives us more reason to root on these players this offseason, as all will have to compete at the highest level to qualify for their respective squads. We at the WMSB hope that as many CAA players make it as possible–further justifying the conference as the “SEC of the FCS,” with of course special preference to those who donned the Green and Gold. LET’S GO TRIBE!!!