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Checking in on current Utes in the NFL

How are former Utah players faring in the NFL? What does the upcoming season look like for each of them?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's now past the midway point in August and football season is upon us. For college players fall camp is in full swing and for NFL players, preseason is in its second week. Utah currently has 29 former players on NFL rosters. Where are they playing, how are they doing, and what are their prospects for the upcoming season?

Dres Anderson - WR San Francisco 49ers

Anderson was signed as an underrated free agent by the 49ers. Coming back from a season ending knee injury, Anderson showed promise in the spring and is battling for a spot on the roster with the 49ers only having Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith as locks to make the team at the receiver position.

Matt Asiata - RB Minnesota Vikings

It's been a rollercoaster of a career so far for Asiata who has been cut by the Vikings, played on their practice squad and scored three touchdowns in a single game twice in the NFL. Asiata was pushed into a more prominent role with the Vikings last season with Adrian Peterson suspended and responded well accounting for 10 total touchdowns. Peterson is back this season, however, and Asiata will likely see his production dip as long as Peterson remains on the roster.

Zane Beadles - OL Jacksonville Jaguars

Two seasons ago Beadles was a rising star blocking for Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. Beadles turned his performance with the Broncos into a five year, $30 million dollar contract with the Jaguars. Beadles, however, had an up and down year last season and the Jaguars responded by drafting guard A.J. Cann. Beadles has looked better so far in camp, but word is Cann is pushing hard for the starting position.

Tony Bergstrom - OL Oakland Raiders

Bergstom played as a tackle at Utah, was drafted by the Raiders to play guard, and now is currently listed as the backup center on the Raider latest depth chart. Drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Bergstrom has struggled to play up to the Raiders expectations and is fighting for a role on the 53 man roster with a very real possibility of being cut.

Brian Blechen - LB Carolina Panthers

Blechen was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Carolina Panthers and was moved to linebacker. With Pro Bowler Luke Kuechly and first round draft pick Shaq Thompson in the fold, Blechen's best chance at making the team will be through special teams play.

Sam Brenner - OL Miami Dolphins

Brenner has been with the Dolphins the past two seasons. He was cut last year before the season before being re-signed to the practice squad. The Dolphins added him to the 53 man roster on December 23rd last season, but he did not appear in any regular season games. Brenner is currently playing at the center position and the Dolphins staff reportedly really like him. He has a decent shot to make the roster this season with both guard spots open on their offensive line.

Kaelin Clay - KR Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Clay was drafted by the Bucs in the sixth round of this year's draft. The speedster was brought on to help Tampa Bay's woeful return game. If he wants to make the team he'll have to perform better than he did in first preseason game, however, where he had a kick return and a punt return for a total of -2 yards.

Anthony Denham - TE Houston Texans

Denham played receiver at Utah and went undrafted in 2014. The Texans signed him to their practice squad and changed his position to tight end. He spent most of the year on the practice squad before he was brought up in early December last season. So far he has sat out of much of fall camp with an injury.

Tevita Finau - DE Houston Texans

Finau entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Since joining the league, he has bounced around playing for Arizona, Dallas, Philadelphia and the New York Jets. Houston signed him to a future reserve contract last December and he is currently battling for a roster spot on the defensive line. With JJ Watt, Vince Wilfork and Jared Crick on the roster open spots will be hard to come by, but Finau did record a sack in the first preseason game.

Paul Kruger - OLB Cleveland Browns

Kruger is coming off the best season of his career in 2014 where he recorded 53 tackles and 11 sacks from the outside linebacker position. The Browns hope Kruger can continue to be a force rushing the quarterback and beefed up their defensive line in the offseason with the hopes of helping Kruger build on his sack total. He is a lock to make the roster and one of the key players on Cleveland's defense.

Joe Kruger - DE Pittsburgh Steelers

The younger brother of Paul Kruger has bounced around the NFL playing on practice squads for Philadelphia, Green Bay and Pittsburgh. He is currently in the Steelers camp fighting for a roster spot.

Star Lotuleilei - DT Carolina Panthers

Star Lotuleilei has been a key cog on the Panthers defensive line since being drafted 14th overall in the 2013 draft. He had a very strong first two seasons in the NFL and is a valued member of the Panther defensive line. He has sat out the past few weeks of camp after he suffered a stress reaction in his right foot, but is expected to be back in time for the season.

Brice McCain - CB Miami Dolphins

McCain was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent 5 seasons in Houston before playing last season in Pittsburgh. He signed a two year deal with the Dolphins in May and is expected to be a major contributor in the Miami secondary this season.

Keith McGill - CB Oakland Raiders

A fourth round pick of the Raiders a year ago, McGill is part of a young but promising secondary developing in Oakland. The former Ute played in 12 games last season for the Raiders and was able to score a touchdown returning a fumble 18 yards for the score. Heading into this upcoming season, McGill and former first round draft pick DJ Hayden are battling for the no. 2 starting cornerback position.

Koa Misi - LB Miami Dolphins

Has been a starter for Miami at the linebacker position since 2009. His versatility and reliability are highly valued by the Dolphins organization. Barring anything unforeseen, Misi will start at outside linebacker for the sixth consecutive season for the Dolphins.

Jake Murphy - TE Denver Broncos

Murphy was recently claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos. The former Utah tight end spent parts of last year on practice squads for both Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals.

Nate Orchard - OLB Cleveland Browns

Orchard ended up being drafted in the second round in Cleveland, where he joins another former Utah defensive end turned linebacker in Paul Kruger. Orchard has impressed thus far in his short time as a Cleveland Brown, earning rave reviews from coaches for his playing ability and maturity. With his primary competition for the starting job, Barkevious Mingo, being sidelined by injury, it is likely Orchard will see quite a bit of playing time this season.

Tenny Palepoi - DT San Diego Chargers

Made the Chargers 53 man roster out of camp last season as an undrafted free agent. Had a very promising rookie season playing in every game for the Chargers last season. Suffered an unfortunate setback early in fall camp when he fractured his foot and was placed on injured reserve, ruling him out for the season.

Jeremiah Poutasi - OL Tennessee Titans

The former left tackle for the Utes was a surprise third round selection by Tennesse in this year's draft. Projected as a guard in the NFL, Poutasi was moved to right tackle just this week as the Titans shuffle their offensive line, looking for the right combination. No matter where on the line Poutasi ends up playing, he has a good shot at starting in his first NFL game for a team that finished last season 2-14.

Trevor Reilly - OLB New York Jets

Another former Utah defensive end that has been converted to outside linebacker in the NFL, Reilly has been pushing hard to make the 53 man roster with his relentless play. He played in 14 games for the Jets last season, primarily on special teams. His effort and performance in camp is forcing the Jets new coaching staff to take notice.

Eric Rowe - CB Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles second round pick has impressed coaches since his arrival and has been promoted into starting slot cornerback position. Rowe's big frame doesn't scream slot corner, but with the trade of Brandon Boykin and JaCorey Shepherd's injury, Rowe has been counted on to fill in at that role. Looking like Rowe could be another Ute to start in his first NFL game.

Derrick Shelby - DE Miami Dolphins

Shelby has played for the Dolphins for the past three years with his role increasing gradually every season. He has turned into a valuable reserve, so much that Miami placed a second round tender on him in the off season, giving him a substantial raise and all but guaranteeing he'd be back for another season. Shelby likely won't start with Cam Wake, Ndamukong Suh and Oliver Vernon on the Dolphins defensive line, but he will be part of the regular rotation and should see plenty of playing time this season.

Sealver Siliga - DT New England Patriots

Siliga's stock has soared in the past 12 months. Bouncing from the Broncos to the Seahawks before being cut last season, Siliga found a home with the New England Patriots starting the last four regular season games and all three playoff games including the Patriots super bowl win. With Vince Wilfork gone, Siliga figures to have an expanded role this season for the defending champs.

Alex Smith - QB Kansas City Chiefs

Smith enters his third season with the Chiefs under Andy Reid. Despite being a proven commodity in a quarterback driven league, there are rumblings in Kansas City that some would like to see Smith's backup, Chase Daniel elevated over Smith. The knock on Smith since he joined the league is he's only a game manager, not capable of taking games over. It would be surprising if Reid made the decision to start Daniel over Alex, though Smith's pick six to former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner on Friday didn't help his cause.

Sean Smith - CB Kansas City Chiefs

The seven year veteran is Kansas City's most experienced cornerback, though he won't be on the field to start the season. The former Utah standout was suspended three games after being charged with a DUI in the offseason. Smith calls the suspension "fair" and is focused on helping the younger guys who will be starting in his absence. Given Smith's talent and experience, it won't be long until he's starting again once he completes his suspension.

Steve Smith Sr. - WR Baltimore Ravens

One of the all time greats to ever play the receiver position, Smith is entering his final year, according to a press conference held earlier this month. This will be his second season with the Ravens. In addition to being one of the best receivers in the game he continues to be one of the best trash talker's reportedly accusing Eric Rowe of "pooping his pants"  and comparing Chip Kelly's practices to apple juice during a mixed scrimmage earlier this month. No matter what happens in Smith's final season in the NFL, one thing is for certain, he'll keep it interesting.

Paul Soliai -DT Atlanta Falcons

Having been a Pro Bowl nose tackle for the Miami Dolphins, Soliai signed with Atlanta last season but went on to have a somewhat disappointing season. This year, however, appears promising, as Soliai is reportedly in the best shape of his career, having slimmed down for new head coach Dan Quinn's 4-3 defense. Soliai has had some bright spots this preseason, namely using his newly slimmed down body to chase down Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota. Should be a starter in the middle of Atlanta's defensive line.

RJ Stanford - DB Detroit Lions

The former Ute has played in quite a few cities during his 6-year NFL career. This year Stanford joined the Detroit Lions. Stanford has been mostly a reserve player in the NFL and will add depth to the Lion's secondary this upcoming season.

Eric Weddle - S San Diego Chargers

The five time all pro known for his facial hair as well as his outstanding play on the field. Considered one of the best safeties in the game, Weddle is entering the final year of his contract with San Diego. He was hoping for an extension before the season, but it appears the Chargers and Weddle could not come to any type of agreement with a noticeable rift developing between the two sides. There were rumors Weddle was about to be traded to the Dolphins, but those appear to have been false. Weddle is planning to play out the final year of his contract and test the free agent waters next year. It's a good bet Weddle has another outstanding year as he will be proving he is worthy of another big contract.