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7 former CSU players to start the 2020 season on active NFL rosters

Justin Michael Avatar
September 6, 2020

FORT COLLINS, Colo. —  After a long and miserable football-less drought, the NFL season is finally here. The schedules are set, teams have made their cuts and finalized their initial 53-man rosters, and the only thing we’re missing now is Carrie Underwood singing a parody of an 80’s rock song to psych everyone up.  (It’s science).

While the Rams will not be taking the field this fall — something that still feels surreal — the only thing keeping me sane at the moment is the excitement to watch guys like Bisi Johnson and Michael Gallup in action.

Recently, we went over which of the “Next Level Rams” are projected to have big seasons, including the aforementioned as well as Shaquil Barrett. (Duh). But since we last discussed the subject, there have been a couple of changes that effect former CSU players. So here’s an update on some of those moves.

After playing in eight games as a rookie in 2019, Josh Watson, somewhat surprisingly was cut by the Broncos over the weekend. As Zac Stevens pointed out, the inside linebacker made some plays in training camp. Unfortunately for Watson though, Denver recently acquired Mark Barron and Austin Calitro, which did not leave much room for the former Ram at the linebacker position.

Ram fans will certainly be disappointed for Watson. If there’s a silver lining though, it’s that Watson appears to be sticking around with the organization. According to Mike Klis, Watson is expected to be a member of the Broncos practice squad. So really, if Watson continues to do the same types of things that caused the team to keep him in the first place, there’s a strong chance he’ll end up back on the active roster at some point in 2020 or beyond.

Along with Watson, his college teammate Dalyn Dawkins will have to continue to fight for a professional career. The speedy running back has bounced back and forth between the Titans practice squad and active roster over the last two years, but was waived by Tennessee at the end of August.

While getting cut is definitely a setback for Dawkins, it would not be surprising if he ends up getting brought back by the Titans at some point or finds a way to work his way onto a different roster.

Even as smaller player, Dawkins runs hard enough and is versatile enough as a pass catcher to make an impact for an NFL team. Over the course of three seasons with CSU, Dawkins rushed for just shy of 3,200 yards. What’s often forgotten is that he also averaged 9.3 yards per reception on 70 career catches with the Rams.

Obviously the level of competition he faced was not always elite — so those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. Even so, it’s still clear that Dawkins can produce in multiple ways. He just needs to end up in the right spot and maybe benefit from a little bit of good fortune. (Don’t we all?)

Dawkins may not be starting the season with the Titans, however, another former Ram is. Ty Sambrailo, who is generally considered to be a bust by most Broncos fans after being selected by John Elway in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, has actually put together a solid professional career as a rotational player for the offensive line.

After spending the last three years with the Falcons and scoring one amazing touchdown in 2019, Sambrailo signed with the Titans in the offseason and proceeded to make the 53-man roster for 2020.

While being a depth guy is not exactly the most glamorous role in the league, it’s encouraging to see Sambrailo still playing professional football years after many people had written him off.

At the end of the day, Sambrailo did not work out with the Broncos. It is what it is. But it was never his fault that the team took him too high or that he had to battle injuries throughout his two seasons with the orange and blue, all while trying to help patch holes for an offensive line that was not any good in the first place.

Would the narrative have been the same if Sambrailo was fifth round pick instead? Probably not. That’s life I guess.

Now, seriously, watch this five times and embrace the awesomeness that is a big man scoring a receiving touchdown.


Finally, it has been four years since he played in a game, but Ram fans will be excited to hear that Crockett Gillmore is attempting to make a comeback.

Gillmore was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens and was an effective tight end for them when healthy. Unfortunately for Gillmore, staying on the field proved to be difficult.

After missing nine games with a thigh injury in 2016, Gillmore missed the entire 2017 season with an MCL injury. Then in 2018, Gillmore attempted to transition to the offensive line — likely due to lost mobility — but it did not really click. Two years later, Gillmore is back at his natural position of tight end and trying to earn a role with the same franchise that used to rely on him.


It still feels like a long shot that Gillmore will actually end up on a roster this season. Coming back from multiple extensive injuries and missing three full seasons is not an easy hurdle to overcome.

That being said, crazier things have happened. And with so much weirdness surrounding the season in 2020, if the Ravens do need to add a tight end, maybe they would be more comfortable with a familiar face like Gillmore.


NFL Rosters

Shaq Barrett (Tampa Bay)

Ty Sambrailo (Tennessee)

Rashard Higgins (Cleveland)

Michael Gallup (Dallas)

Bisi Johnson (Minnesota)

Preston Williams (Miami)

Trent Sieg (Las Vegas)

Weston Richburg** (San Fransisco)

** = Currently on Physically Unable to Perform List

Practice Squad

Josh Watson (Denver)

Free Agents

Dalyn Dawkins

Crockett Gillmore

Zack Golditch

Hayden Hunt

Jamal Hicks

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