See which Delawareans made an NFL roster, and one who can't stop smiling because of a new QB
The state of Delaware will once again be well represented on NFL rosters, led by Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Godwin, the Middletown High School graduate, is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he caught 86 passes for 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns.
This season could be even better. That's because Godwin and Mike Evans, Tampa Bay's top two wide receivers, will be the primary targets for legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who joined the Bucs after 20 seasons in New England.
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The Bucs also signed running backs Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy, the Eagles' all-time rushing leader, to go along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard.
No wonder Godwin said he's excited to play with Brady, as he told the Buccaneers website during training camp.
"I’m trying to be a sponge with all this information, with all this knowledge that he has and just try to take my game to the next level," Godwin said. "I feel if I don’t do that, then it’ll be a waste of his time."
Here is a synopsis of the other players with Delaware ties in the NFL:
Matt Gono, offensive line, Falcons, Wesley
The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder finds himself as the backup at left tackle after getting into five games last season. Gono spent his rookie season in 2018 on Atlanta's practice squad. Gono has also worked at the guard positions, making him a valuable "swing player" who can fill in at both guard and tackle.
Zach Kerr, defensive tackle, Panthers, UD
Kerr, an undrafted free agent, is entering his seventh NFL season, but his first with the Panthers after stints with Arizona (2019), Denver (2017-18) and Indianapolis (2014-16).
Kerr has 7.5 career sacks, and relishes having a long NFL career despite going undrafted.
"Coming in undrafted, I’ve always embraced change and embraced something new," he told reporters last week.
Bilal Nichols, nose tackle, Bears, Hodgson/UD
Nichols, entering his third season after being the Bears' fifth-round pick in 2017, is entrenched as a full-time starter at nose tackle. Nichols started 12 of 13 games last season. He's the starter this season with Eddie Goldman opting out.
"(Goldman's) gonna be missed," Nichols told the Bears' website recently. "But I'm ready to step up. I've trained hard. I'm ready for this opportunity."
Duron Harmon, safety, Lions, Caesar Rodney
This will be an interesting season for Harmon, who was traded to the Lions during the offseason after spending his first seven seasons with the Patriots. During those seven seasons, Harmon was an integral part of a team that went at least as far as the AFC Championship game in six of those seasons. That includes three Super Bowl victories.
But Harmon has a familiar face in Detroit in head coach Matt Patricia, formerly the Patriots' defensive coordinator.
Harmon has also become an NFL leader in racial injustice issues. He led the Lions to cancel practice recently following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Darnell Savage, safety, Packers, Caravel
Savage was the Packers' first-round pick in 2019, 21st overall, and lived up to expectations. He started all 14 games he played in, with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. But he played through injuries last season, and hopes to be better and healthier this season.
"I'm an extremely confident guy, but at the same time I always want to get better," Savage told reporters at the start of training camp. "I want to improve in everything. I'm not going to stop until I'm on top of the world."
Troy Reeder, linebacker, Rams, Salesianum/UD
Reeder is another undrafted free agent who seems to have found a home. He made the Rams' 53-man roster last season, starting eight games with 58 tackles.
Reeder is currently penciled in as a backup this season, but he should have plenty of opportunities to play a big role this season.
Brian O'Neill, RT, Vikings, Salesianum
O'Neill is firmly entrenched as the Vikings' right tackle after Minnesota made him its second-round pick in 2018. O'Neill started 11 games as a rookie, then all 15 games that he played in this season.
O'Neill did not allow a sack in the regular season, according to analytics website Pro Football Focus.
Nick Boyle, TE, Ravens, UD
Boyle in his sixth season, is coming off the best season of his career with highs in receptions (31) and yards (321). He also had the first two touchdowns of his NFL career.
Boyle is just one of two true tight ends on the Ravens' roster this season (former UD tight end Charles Scarff was waived last weekend).
Nasir Adderley, safety, L.A. Chargers, UD
Adderley, the Chargers' second-round pick in 2019, was limited to just four games last season by a hamstring injury. But Adderley is healthy now and expected to start, especially with Derwin James out for the season with an injury.
Adderley said he isn't taking anything for granted, as he told reporters recently: "It’s really a blessing just being out here. I haven’t been fully healthy in a long time.”
Joe Flacco, quarterback, Jets, UD
Flacco is entering his 13th season in the NFL after the Ravens made him their first-round pick in 2008. Flacco was the MVP of the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season and has thrown for 40,067 yards in his career.
But this will mark the first time that Flacco, who's 35, enters a season as the backup. Flacco, on his third team in three seasons, is coming off neck surgery and isn't expected to be ready until later this month.
Angelo Blackson, defensive end, Cardinals, Red Lion
Blackson joined the Cardinals on Tuesday after he was waived by Houston last weekend. He started all 15 games he played in for the Texans last season, and should have a chance to contribute quickly with Arizona.
Blackson is entering his sixth season after Tennessee drafted in the fourth round in 2015. Blackson spent the last three seasons with the Texans, playing in 40 games with 20 starts. He has 3.5 career starts.
David Sills, wide receiver, Giants, Red Lion
Sills, an undrafted free agent, was promoted to the active roster last December but never got into a game. He broke his foot during training camp and was placed on injured reserve.
Practice squad players
Wendell Smallwood, running back, Steelers, Red Lion
Smallwood spent his first three seasons with the Eagles, who made him their fifth-round pick in 2016. He was with Washington last season, rushing for 81 yards on 22 carries. The Steelers signed him as a free agent in August.
Andre Patton, wide receiver, Cardinals, St. Elizabeth
Patton spent his first two seasons on the Chargers' practice squad before getting his chance last season. He played in 13 games with 6 catches for 56 yards. He signed with the Cardinals in August.
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl