Academy-NFL roster update: Garland, McNary make cut

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Josh McNary (57) tackles Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Army grad Josh McNary, here tackling Maurice Jones-Drew during late-season action in Indianapolis last year, will return to the Colts in 2014, one of two service-academy graduates to make an active NFL roster at the start of the season. (USA Today Sports photo by Thomas J. Russo)

If you’re a service-academy football fan who doesn’t keep up with the pro game, or even if you just decided to spend your Labor Day doing something other than refreshing the practice-squad page over and over, here’s a brief recap of where some academy standouts found themselves as NFL teams trimmed down to the 53-man roster limit:

Ben Garland (Air Force): The former standout defensive lineman for the Falcons made the Denver Broncos roster, but not on defense. Garland, who was promoted to captain in the Colorado Air National Guard in May, switched to offensive guard last year. He first signed with the Broncos in 2010 as a defensive lineman, then spent two years in active service and two more on the practice squad.

The move may not have made headlines, but it did get into some rare media air — the Twitter feed of Sports Illustrated/NBC icon Peter King:



Josh McNary (Army): McNary saw action in five games for the Indianapolis Colts last season, recording 14 tackles, including 10 solo stops. He’s back with Indy this year and should be a special-teams mainstay while providing depth at linebacker. The Indianapolis Star reported that McNary’s status as a “younger, cheaper option” to other defenders may have helped his chances; the Star also had high praise for the linebacker in this patriotic profile.

Alejandro Villanueva (Army): This Black Knight-turned-Ranger is now an Eagle-turned-Steeler. He’s also made the move from defensive line (at Army) to offensive line (at Army) to wide receiver (at Army) to tight end (at the East-West Shrine Game in 2010) to defensive lineman (with the Eagles) to offensive lineman (on the Steelers’ practice squad). Confused? Get the rest of the breakdown here and here.

Eric Kettani (Navy) and Chad Hall (Air Force): Kettani made headlines last offseason by having members of the Washington Redskins coaching staff assist with his promotion ceremony. He would go on to get looks from the Chiefs and Browns before settling in with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was among the team’s final cuts. Hall, who played with the Eagles in 2010 and 2011 and caught on with the Chiefs in 2013, was waived by the Jaguars earlier in August.

Collin Mooney (Army): Mooney played in 12 games with the Tennessee Titans in 2013 before a knee injury ended his season. While new head coach Ken Whisenhunt praised Mooney in the early days of the offseason, he also made it clear that the team’s need for a fullback in its new offensive scheme was limited, at best. Mooney ended up not making the final roster, and the Titans’ depth chart ended up without a fullback position.


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