-If you were to take a snapshot of how the pre-season ended up on average for most players, it'd look a lot like how things ended up for the Gamecocks in the NFL. There were a few who were lucky, and a few who weren't. There's some who were cut but made practice squads, and some who were just cut. And, of course, there's those with cushy long-term deals who get an extra zero just for being "veterans". Survival of the fittest, indeed.
-Among those less fit but just as lucky are the players who secured a roster spot on a team via IR. Connor Shaw is the most notable case, having missed all but one game in the pre-season with a season-ending thumb injury. I keep calling for ambidextrous quarterbacks! Three other players benefitted from the same bittersweet luck. Clifton Geathers (Steelers) and Antonio Allen (Jets) are both out for the year, while Busta Anderson (49ers) got injured just in the nick of time, if that makes sense, while still having the chance to come back after six weeks, if healthy enough.
-Let's get the bad news out of the way early. It was not the happiest Labor Day weekend for many young Gamecock alumni, with six players getting cut either Friday or Saturday without getting signed to a practice squad. Lemuel Jeanpierre (Seahawks), Chaz Sutton (Titans), and Spencer Lanning's (Broncos) earlier releases ended up being bad omens. Jimmy Legree (Cardinals), Cliff Matthews (Falcons), Kelcy Quarles (Colts), Ronald Patrick (Cowboys), Travian Robertson (Redskins), and Justice Cunningham (Rams) were all let go from their respective teams. Hard to imagine so many prominent members of those 11-win teams are, for now, without work. Just goes to show how great the competition in college football has become that young players have such a high turnover rate on teams. There's always someone newer to take a chance on for a cheaper price.
-Onto the good news. First, Dylan Thompson (49ers) and Damiere Byrd (Panthers) both made the practice squad after getting waived by their teams. While both lacked consistency in the pre-season, they showed enough flashes to stick around. There are some, though, who were even luckier. There's those who were on the bubble, but bounced all the way to the 53-man roster. Mike Davis (49ers, with a new number: 22), Jasper Brinkley (Cowboys), Patty DiMarco (Falcons), and Bruce Ellington (49ers) all at one point or another had a scythe hovering above their contracts, but survived and thrived all the way to the opening day roster.
-Of course, Gamecocks populate the NFL far and wide. Here's a full roster of Gamecocks currently on NFL teams:
* = Practice Squad
+ = Injured