Bulls in the NFL: Wrapping up 2010
A few former Bulls are still busy in the NFL playoffs, but with the regular season completed, it's a good time to recap how the USF alums performed in the NFL, many of them just rookies this year.
Stephen Nicholas, LB, Falcons: Nicholas has been a key part of Atlanta's defense, totaling 78 tackles with one interception in his fourth NFL season. Atlanta used its first-round pick on linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, but he's been limited by injuries, giving Nicholas a bigger role. That's well-timed for him, since he's a free agent after this season.
Mike Jenkins, CB, Cowboys: Much like Dallas, a dropoff from 2009, when he had five interceptions and went to the Pro Bowl. Jenkins finished with 55 tackle, one interception and one forced fumble.
Nate Allen, S, Eagles: Great rookie season for the second-round draft pick, who will miss the playoffs with a knee injury suffered late last month. Allen had 48 tackles with three interceptions and two sacks, numbers that should put him on many All-Rookie teams.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants: The first-round pick broke out in the second half of the season, getting all of his 4.5 sacks in the final six games. He finished with 30 tackles and two forced fumbles, and should play an even larger role for New York in 2011.
Jerome Murphy, CB, Rams: Murphy's only interception came in Week 2, but he stayed busy as a rookie, totaling 30 tackles and a forced fumble.
George Selvie, DE, Rams: For a late-round pick, Selvie played more than expected, getting 21 tackles and 1.5 sacks off the bench.
Tyrone McKenzie, LB, Buccaneers: After spending much of the year on the Patriots practice squad, he latched on with the Bucs and got all of his five tackles in the final two games. It's a strong impression that should put him in good position to make the Bucs' 2011 roster at a position still very much in flux for Tampa Bay.
Kion Wilson, LB, Chargers: He played only three games before he was placed on injured reserve, but Wilson got five tackles and a forced fumble, making his initial impact on special teams in San Diego.
Chad Simpson, RB, Redskins: He too was cut short by injuries -- picked up from the Bills, he played three games, totaling 59 yards on returns before he was placed on injured reserve.
Carlton Mitchell, WR, Browns: Made Cleveland's roster as a rookie, but spent much of the year as a game-day inactive, dressing for five games and getting one carry for 9 yards with no receptions.
Kawika Mitchell, LB, Saints: Placed on injured reserve by the Bills, Mitchell asked for his release and landed on his feet with the Saints -- he played in only one game, but could make a splash in the postseason for New Orleans.
A few others didn't make active rosters this year, but have already signed contracts for 2011, hoping to fare better in the preseason cuts -- receiver Taurus Johnson signed with the Redskins, and offensive lineman Marc Dile with the Bucs. Cornerback Trae Williams finished the season on the Bills' practice squad, but has yet to sign with a team for 2011.