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News and notes from a few former Jayhawks in the NFL

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Former Kansas University cornerback Aqib Talib continues to prove he's one of the top cover corners in the NFL during his first season with the Denver Broncos.

Talib, who has battled injuries throughout this season and his career, has started 13 games for the Broncos this season — opposite his former KU running mate Chris Harris — and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions after snagging a key pick against Phillip Rivers and the Chargers last weekend in a victory which clinched the Broncos' fourth AFC West title in a row.

Talib was at his best against San Diego and was constantly highlighted for his impeccable technique and great instincts. He has 55 tackles this season — 48 of the solo variety — and already has as many passes defended this season (14) as he did all of last season with the Patriots.

Talib's lockdown ability has been one of the biggest reasons the Broncos' defense has improved by leaps and bounds over last year's group, and, as long as he's healthy, Talib continues to show why he's regarded as one of the league's best cornerbacks and, even more to the point, why he makes so much money.

Harris cashes in
Former KU cornerback Chris Harris, now in his fourth year with the Denver Broncos, agreed to a five-year contract extension worth more than $42 million.

Harris, regarded by many as one of the top all-around cornerbacks in the league, is enjoying his best season as a pro on the heels of offseason ACL surgery.

He joined Denver as an undrafted free agent in 2011 for a $2,000 signing bonus. Harris already has tied his career high with three interceptions this season and has 48 tackles, 46 of them of the solo variety.

McDougald's monster day
Former Kansas wide-receiver-turned-safety Bradley McDougald played the best game of his young NFL career on Sunday, finishing with 15 tackles — 11 solo — in Tampa Bay's 19-17 loss to Carolina.

McDougald, another undrafted free agent who is in his second year with the Bucaneers, has started three of the 13 games he has played in this year and has 37 tackles and three passes defended.

Johnson fitting in fine
Injuries have depleted the Denver Broncos' linebacking corps and that has opened the door for former Jayhawk Steven Johnson — yet another undrafted free agent — to slide into the starting lineup.

Johnson, now in his third season in the NFL, has played in 12 games for the Broncos this season and started the past five.

He finished Sunday's victory over San Diego tied for third on the team with four tackles — all solo — and now has 27 tackles on the season to go along with a half sack and a fumble recovery.

Stuckey scores
Former KU safety Darrell Stuckey was pretty quiet during the Chargers' loss to Denver last Sunday, but one week earlier, the Kansas City, Kansas, native scored the first touchdown of his NFL career on a fumble recovery and return during the Chargers' loss to New England.

Still known for his contributions on special teams, Stuckey has appeared in 14 games this season (his fifth in the NFL) and has 27 tackles and two passes defended to go along with the TD.

Opurum picked up
After spending the past couple of seasons as a part of the Houston Texans' practice squad (he was even active for a game or two) former KU running back/defensive end Toben Opurum has been picked up by the New Orleans Saints and signed to their practice squad.

Comments

Michael Maris 7 years, 9 months ago

Matt, I think that you should do this type of story more often (obviously during the NFL Season) on a weekly basis.

Eliott Reeder 7 years, 9 months ago

As a freshman RB in 2009, Toben Opurum: "Earned Rivals.com Freshman All-Big 12 honors... Became the first freshman to lead Kansas in rushing in a season since Clark Green in 2002... Shared time with Jake Sharp, but carried 133 times for a team-best 554 yards and nine touchdowns... Ran for 109 yards against Southern Miss... The next week fell just shy of the 100-yard mark with 98 yards on 23 carries against Iowa State... Rushed for at least one touchdown in each of the first six games... In his collegiate debut against Northern Colorado he carried eight times for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while producing his season-long run of 26 yards... Caught 13 passes out of the backfield for 105 yards and one touchdown... Had three catches for 50 yards against Duke... Made at least one reception in each of the first five games and at least two catches in four-straight contests."

He was so good at running the ball that... wait for it... Turner "No Cursing on the Field" Gill came in and decided the best thing was to move him to linebacker. He is now playing for the New Orleans Saints as... what!?! A running back!?! Shocking.

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