After four days of previewing former Alabama players now in the NFL, there have already been changes made to our schedule because of teams making cuts and signing new players. The latest addition was Javier Arenas, who benefited from the release of IK Enemkpali after the Geno Smith incident in New York. Today, we focus on three former Crimson Tide defenders who will be fighting to make the 53-man roster cuts on September 5th.
Javier Arenas, New York Jets, Defensive Back
5’9″, 197 pounds
Javier Arenas was signed by the New York Jets on Tuesday, being the latest addition to our 2015 NFL Preview schedule. He is now on his fourth NFL team after spending last year with the Atlanta Falcons. Arenas became a better cornerback during his time in Arizona but he is still first looked at as a return threat. During his time in the NFL, Arenas has averaged 9.8 yards per punt return and 21.1 yards per kick return. He has never returned a kick for a touchdown but he did score his only career touchdown in Kansas City on a 7-yard run.
Arenas is currently not listed on the depth chart but he was signed to add depth. He made a tackle during the Jets’ preseason opener on Thursday night against the Lions while not returning any kicks. Arenas has been given another chance on an NFL roster and he could take advantage on a team in need of defensive players.
Adrian Hubbard, Green Bay Packers, Linebacker
6’6″, 257 pounds
2 years, $960K
Adrian Hubbard left Tuscaloosa after his junior year but went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. A heart-defect was discovered during the NFL combine and hurt his value in most scouts’ eyes. He was finally medically cleared to play and was signed by the Green Bay Packers last May. Hubbard spent all of 2014 on Green Bay’s practice squad but has made great strides during the offseason in hopes of getting playing time this season. Hubbard is currently listed as the fourth-team outside linebacker on the depth chart but continues to impress the defensive coaches.
Hubbard has been at the Packers’ facilities since February and head coach Mike McCarthy has already said how impressed he was with Hubbard’s improvement. The linebacker had three tackles on Thursday night against the New England Patriots, including a sack of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Nico Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals, Linebacker
6’2″, 255 pounds
1 year, $585K
Nico Johnson will be entering his third year as an NFL linebacker in 2015, his second season in Cincinnati. Johnson was signed after Week 6 last season and played in all 11 remaining games for the Bengals, starting two of them. Johnson is now listed as the third-string middle linebacker but should get playing time once again this year with the 3-4 base defense run by the Bengals. He finished with 15 total tackles along with one fumble recovery in 2014. Johnson will look to keep his improvement going and work his way up the depth chart during the preseason. The Bengals open up against the New York Giants on Friday night.
Jerrell Harris, Linebacker
Harris was released by the Lions last week to make room for more defensive line depth.
Caleb Turrentine is a contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter, @CalebTurrentine.