By Andrew White, Staff Writer
Making it to the NFL is likely the goal of football players everywhere, but few achieve this goal. In recent years, however, Samford has produced several players that have made it to the league. One of these players, former 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt, even saw playing time in Super Bowl LIV in 2020.
Tartt was released by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in 2022, but four former Samford players are still rostered in the NFL.
Former Bulldogs are also currently playing in the USFL and the CFL. One of them, Devlin “Duck” Hodges, had a short stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL. He played in eight games and started six, recording 1063 yards, five touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 62.5% completion rate.
The current Samford alums in the NFL are James Bradberry, Montrell Washington, Michael Pierce and Nick Williams. Williams has seen little to no playing time in his tenure with the New York Giants, but the three other Bulldogs have carved out a role on each of their respective teams.
Rookie wide receiver Montrell Washington, thrust into the national spotlight after his stellar performance against Florida while at Samford, has earned a role as a return specialist for the Denver Broncos. He is also a backup wide receiver, and with current injuries to wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, K.J Hamler and Tim Patrick, he should expect more playing time sooner rather than later. Last Sunday, Washington received his first offensive touch in regular season play, a 19-yard rush for the Broncos. Washington also returned four punts for 59 yards and one kick for 17 yards in the Broncos’ win over the Texans.
Michael Pierce, a former undrafted free agent, rejoined the Baltimore Ravens after a short stint with the Minnesota Vikings. Sometimes a return to a familiar clubhouse and team can pay off, as Pierce is off to a strong start for the Ravens. In the first game Week 1 against the Jets, Pierce recorded two tackles and forced a fumble. Pierce recorded two more tackles in last weekend’s shootout against the Dolphins.
Pro Bowler James Bradberry continues to improve on his already impressive career, as he has performed well for the 2-0 Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 1 against the Lions, Bradberry recorded his first career pick-six. He also recorded a tackle and an assisted tackle in that game. Last Monday night, Bradberry and the Eagles’ defense held the Vikings offense to a touchdown and 264 yards. Bradberry recorded a tackle. Overall, Samford continues to lead the SoCon in current NFL players, with four overall.