Teams in the National Football League are heading down the back stretch as just six weeks remain in the regular season. If the playoffs began today, a total of eight former Mountaineer players would be headed to the postseason.
Four of those players play for AFC teams, and the other four are in the NFC.
2019 NFL Draft selections offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste and linebacker David Long Jr., are on two of the top three teams in the AFC. Cajuste’s Patriots defeated Long’s Titans in Week 12. New England and Tennessee are tied for second place in the conference with 8-4 records while they both lead their respective divisions.
Long has made 66 tackles this year, and also has an interception.
Fellow 2019 draft choice quarterback Will Grier and the Dallas Cowboys are currently the fourth seed in the NFC. Grier, however, has yet to see the field since being claimed off waivers by Dallas earlier this season.
Grier and the NFC East-leading Cowboys are in action tonight against the New Orleans Saints.
Sticking in the NFC East, running back Wendell Smallwood is part of the Washington Football Team’s practice squad. The Football Team currently holds the seventh and final playoff spot in the conference as a Wild Card bid.
The same is true for the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC, which are home to linebacker Kyzir White, who was taken in the 2018 draft. If the playoffs began today, White’s Chargers would take on Cajuste and the Patriots in New England in the first round of the playoffs as the second Wild Card.
White is second on the Chargers in tackles (86), and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (5) and interceptions (2).
Offensive lineman Quinton Spain and his Cincinnati Bengals are the first Wild Card team in the AFC conference standings at the moment.
Fellow former Mountaineer lineman Colton McKivitz is part of a San Francisco 49ers group that is the sixth seed in the NFC.
The Green Bay Packers — currently the No. 2 Seed in the NFC as they lead the conference’s North division — are home to former WVU cornerback Rasul Douglas, who recently scored his first NFL touchdown. If the playoffs began today, Douglas and the Packers would host Smallwood and Washington in the first round.
Douglas has made 37 tackles, and picked off two passes this season with Green Bay. He was also named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday.
As of the start of December, there are currently 18 former WVU football players on NFL rosters.