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Pro Boilers: Football

Let’s take a look at Purdue football players that now play professionally.

Cleveland Browns v Miami Dolphins Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Dennis Kelly – OT, Indianapolis Colts | Purdue ’08 – ‘11

Fun fact: I was born in the same town as Dennis Kelly and would have attended the same high school if I hadn’t moved to Indiana. Drafted in 2012 by the Eagles, Kelly has spent the majority of his career in Philadelphia and Tennessee after being traded to the Titans in 2016. Kelly has spent the most of his NFL career as the 6th option on the offensive line while stepping into a starting role on occasion. Most notably, Kelly started all 16 games at RT for the Titans in a season that saw Tennessee RB, Derrick Henry, rush for over 2,000 yards. After his time in Tennessee, Kelly spent a season in Green Bay and is now on the Colts as a backup tackle.

Raheem Mostert – RB, Miami Dolphins | Purdue ’11 – ‘14

Raheem has been a journeyman in the NFL, playing for 7 different squads in his career, 4 of which were in 2015 alone. Mostert was mostly seen as a quick back and return man and in 2016, he signed with the 49ers on the practice squad. Mostert eventually was elevated to the roster but played sparingly until 2019 when the 49ers faced RB injuries. Mostert would come in as the starter and played well into the postseason. In the NFC championship game, Mostert recorded 220 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns, leading the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV. During the next two seasons, Raheem only played 9 games due to injuries and would go on to sign with the Miami Dolphins. He is currently has 662 yards and 4 TDs this season.

Anthony Brown – CB, Dallas Cowboys | Purdue ’12 – ‘15

After being drafted by the Cowboys in 2016, Anthony Brown has spent his entire career in Dallas. Brown started his career as a backup cornerback, occasionally starting due to teammate injuries. In 2021, Brown was named starting cornerback and had the best season of his career, recording 71 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 17 passes defended. This season, Brown remains the Cowboys’ starter but has been diagnosed with a concussion after this past week’s game against the Packers.

Jordan Roos – OG, Tennessee Titans | Purdue ’12 – ‘16

Jordan Roos has also had a bit of a journeyman career so far, signing with 4 different teams. After going undrafted in 2017, Roos signed with the Seahawks, spending 2 seasons in Seattle, mostly as a practice squad member. After short stints in Las Vegas and New England, Roos signed with the Titans in 2021 where he is currently a backup guard.

Ja’Whaun Bentley – LB, New England Patriots | Purdue ’14 – ‘17

Ja’Whaun Bentley was drafted by the Patriots in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Bentley had a promising preseason, earning him a starting linebacker spot. A torn bicep ended his season while the Patriots went on to win Super Bowl LIII. The following season, Bentley was a backup for the Pats but in 2020, he regained his starting spot and has been a starter since. This season, Ja’Whaun has recorded 55 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 INT.

Brycen Hopkins – TE, Los Angeles Rams | Purdue ’15 – ‘19

The son of former NFL lineman Brad Hopkins, Brycen, has had an up and down start to his career. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Brycen played mostly as a special teams guy in his rookie year. Hopkins was thrusted into an impact spot during Super Bowl LVI due to injuries. Brycen performed well, catching 4 passes for 47 yards en route to a Rams victory. To start the 2022 season, Hopkins was suspended 3 games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Since returning, he has returned to his backup role, but has not produced much, recording only 1 catch for 11 yards this past weekend.

Markus Bailey – LB, Cincinnati Bengals | Purdue ’15 – ‘19

It has mostly been a backup role for Markus Bailey, as he has provided depth for the Bengals since being drafted in 2020. Markus did not see much of the field in 2020, only playing in 2 games but in 2021, he was able to play in 16 games as a rotational linebacker. Bailey continues that role this year, playing in 9 games while recording 18 tackles.

Derrick Barnes – LB, Detroit Lions | Purdue ’17 – ‘20

There was a great off-the-field moment between Derrick Barnes and NFL Man of the Year Winner, Andrew Whitworth. Whitworth was Barnes’ former mentor at the Boys and Girls club in Kentucky and provided Barnes with an out that kept him away from trouble. Derrick then made it all the way to the NFL and played against Whitworth in an inspiring story. On the field, Barnes has played in every game for the Lions since being drafted, amassing 94 tackles and 3 sacks.

Rondale Moore – WR, Arizona Cardinals | Purdue ’18 – ‘20

Coming out of Purdue, Rondale Moore was known to be a gadget player that could get yards in a lot of ways. After being drafted by the Cardinals, Rondale was used in the passing, rushing, and return game as a punt and kick returner in 2021. Rondale recorded 973 all purpose yards his rookie year but only 1 TD, a 77 yard catch his second career game. This year, Rondale has mostly been used as a pure receiver as he has not returned the ball and only ran 5 times in 7 games. Moore has 41 catches for 414 yards and 1 TD on the season including this fantastic catch:

Zander Horvath – FB, Los Angeles Chargers | Purdue ’17 – ‘21

Going into the seventh round of the NFL Draft, Zander Horvath was seen as a physically gifted player that fit the role of a fullback. Horvath was drafted by the Chargers and instantly made an impact, becoming the first RB/FB since 1942 to catch a touchdown in each of his first two games. Zander has remained the Chargers starting FB but hasn’t seen too much action in the LA offense, receiving only 4 touches since week 2.

David Bell – WR, Cleveland Browns | Purdue ’19 – ‘21

Drafted by the Cleveland Browns this year, David Bell has been a number 3 or 4 option throughout this season. Playing behind Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones, Bell has had limited targets. In 8 games this season, Bell has had 16 targets, catching 12 of them for 124 yards and no TDs.

George Karlaftis – DE, Kansas City Chiefs | Purdue ’19 – ‘21

For George Karlaftis, his rookie season has been about improvement. George showed real flashes in the preseason but has slowed a bit during the regular season against better competition. Karlaftis has started every game for the Chiefs, accumulating 18 tackles and half a sack, but he is quick to the ball and putting pressure on the QB. George is third on the Chiefs in QB pressures, so despite his stats, he’s been an impactful pickup for Kansas City.

DaMarcus Mitchell – DE, New England Patriots | Purdue ’20 – ‘21

After going undrafted, DaMarcus Mitchell signed with the Patriots before this season and he has been mostly a special teams guy. DaMarcus has played in 8 games this year for the Pats and has 3 tackles.

Other former Boilermakers that are on NFL practice squads include:

David Blough – QB, Minnesota Vikings

Tyler Coyle – S, Dallas Cowboys

Grant Hermanns – OT, Miami Dolphins

Just announced were 2 more Pro Boilers in the XFL:


3 more former Boilermakers were drafted into the XFL:

Gelen Robinson - DL, St. Louis Battlehawks

Greg Long - OL, DC Defenders

Tyler Witt - OL, DC Defenders

Also, the CFL has a former Boiler:

Anthony Mahoungou - WR, Ottowa Redblacks