Illini in the NFL: McLaughlin remains consistent, rookies play starring roles


Photo Courtesy of John Kuntz

Cleveland Browns Kicker Chase McLaughlin connects on a field goal attempt in the first half held by Cleveland Browns punter Jamie Gillan, Oct. 10 at SoFi Stadium. Former Illini playing in the NFL receive a week 5 update.

By Will Payne, Assistant Sports Editor

Chase McLaughlin, Kicker for the Cleveland Browns (3-2)

The former Illinois kicker is having a fantastic season for the Browns so far. McLaughlin is 9 for 9 on field goal attempts this season, as he hit two field goals and four extra point attempts in their 47-42 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. 

Whitney Mercilus, OLB for the Houston Texans (1-4)

The Texans have struggled defensively so far this season, with their only strong performance being against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, Mercilus has three sacks and five solo tackles while appearing in all five of their games.

Dawuane Smoot, DE for the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Even with the addition of Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars have been abysmal early in the year. Smoot has totaled four tackles and 1.5 sacks and has played in all five games for Jacksonville. 

Jihad Ward, DE for the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)

Much like Smoot, Jihad Ward has been a part of a struggling Jacksonville Jaguar defensive unit. Ward has zero sacks, but five solo tackles throughout the first five games.

Nick Allegretti, OG for the Kansas City Chiefs (2-3)

The Chiefs are one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this year, as the reigning AFC champions have not been at their best. Part of the reason for their poor play has rooted from their offensive line, but Allegretti has only taken special teams snaps throughout the season.

Nate Hobbs, CB for the Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)

After firing head coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders find themselves in quite the precarious situation. However, Nate Hobbs has become a solid contributor for this Raiders defense, as he has 14 solo tackles through five games.

Clayton Fejedelem, FS for the Miami Dolphins (1-4)

The Dolphins suffered a big blow in losing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to an injury against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 19. While the losses have piled up, all of Clayton Fejedelem’s time this year with the Dolphins has been spent in the special teams unit.

Ted Karras, OG for the New England Patriots (2-3)

The New England offensive line has the job of protecting their rookie quarterback Mac Jones, and so far, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Patriots. After some injuries, Karras has come into this offensive line unit in week 5, starting 100% of the snaps against the Texans.

Kendrick Green, OC/OG for the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)

With their third round selection in the NFL Draft, the Steelers chose former Illini Kendrick Green. Green has played nearly all the offensive line snaps for the Steelers, and he is expected to be a big part of the team throughout the next few years.


[email protected]