ARIZONA CARDINALS

How are ASU football alumni performing midway through 2022 NFL season?

Nov 2, 2022, 11:05 AM
Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin (26) carries for a first down during the first half of ...

Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin (26) carries for a first down during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Through the NFL’s first eight weeks, 13 Arizona State Sun Devil products have played at least one snap.

Headlining the fraternity in the experience department is New England Patriot defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, who is in Year 11.

The group of ex-Sun Devils also features six rookies, with four additional players who have fewer than five years of NFL experience.

Who are the 13 Sun Devils and how have they performed for their respective teams?

ASU football alums in the NFL

Rookies

RB Rachaad White – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2022 stats: 47 touches, 218 total yards, one touchdown, 3.0 yards per rush, 7.5 yards per reception in eight games

White had an impressive career with ASU, accumulating the 10th-most rushing yards in program history. His 6.3 yards per carry as a Sun Devil ties him with wide receiver N’Keal Harry for first among ball-carriers with at least 20 rushing attempts.

As a result, the Buccaneers selected him in the third round, 91st overall, in April’s draft.

In Tampa Bay, White has yet to play more than 50% of offensive snaps in a game and dropped to 26% in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay has struggled all season to sustain an effective running game. Fellow running back Leonard Fournette averages less than half a yard per attempt more than White, and averages 0.2 yards fewer per touch.

CB Jack Jones – New England Patriots

2022 stats: Two interceptions (one pick-six), four passes defensed, no touchdowns allowed and a 33.7 passer rating when targeted, one forced fumble and recovery apiece in eight games

Jones was the second Sun Devil off the board in April, going to Bill Belichick and the Patriots at 121st overall (fourth round).

The rookie defensive back showed impressive coverage skills in his three seasons at ASU, corralling six interceptions and defending 19 passes in 25 games. He also forced four fumbles.

As a Patriot, he’s done everything to fall into favor of the Patriot defense. However, perhaps most importantly in New England, he’s had zero accepted penalties against him.

His efforts were rewarded with a Pro Football Focus Defensive Player of the Week Award.

DT D.J. Davidson – New York Giants

2022 stats: Four tackles (two solo and combined apiece) in five games

Davidson spent four years in Tempe and recorded 15.5 tackles for loss in 34 games.

The New York Giants selected him in the fifth round, 147th overall, before this season.

He’s played 43 total defensive snaps across five games this season, with a season-high 12 in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Davidson’s role had been primarily on special teams before getting injured, as at least half of his snaps were on special teams in four out of five games.

DB Chase Lucas – Detroit Lions

2022 stats: One tackle in four games

Lucas went 237th overall (seventh round) in this past draft after five years as a Sun Devil. In his ASU career, he tallied six interceptions, defended 28 passes and forced two fumbles.

He did enough to be elevated from the Lions practice squad by Week 2 and has played four games (primarily on special teams).

The defensive back recorded his first career tackle against New England in Week 5.

LB Darien Butler – Las Vegas Raiders

2022 stats: Three tackles in six games

Butler went undrafted in 2022 after four seasons at ASU.

His senior year served as a breakout, as he put up career highs in tackles for loss, passes defended and sacks across 10 games.

In the NFL, he’s yet to play a defensive snap under position coach Antonio Pierce, the former ASU defensive coordinator, but has three special teams tackles and has played in every game except the season opener.

LS Mitchell Fraboni – Denver Broncos

2022 stats: Three tackles in three games

The 26-year-old rookie long snapper hadn’t played for the Sun Devils since 2017 but got an opportunity this season with the Broncos.

He’s played three games and has three tackles.

Multi-year roster players

WR Frank Darby – Atlanta Falcons

2022 stats: seven offensive snaps in one game

Darby has only dressed once this season, in a Week 3 win against the Seattle Seahawks.  He played seven snaps and wasn’t targeted.

Last season, Darby played 10 games and had one reception for 14 yards on four targets.

At ASU, Darby was known for his explosive plays. In his first three years in the desert, he caught 61 passes for 1,271 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 19.7 yards per catch as a Sun Devil ranks No. 1 in program history.

RB Eno Benjamin – Arizona Cardinals

2022 stats: 89 touches, 456 yards, two touchdowns, 4.3 yards per rush, 7.3 yards per reception in eight games

Year 2 has been solid for Benjamin, who has made his first three career starts at running back.

In four games with more than 50% of snaps, Benjamin has 276 total yards of offense, two touchdowns and 58 touches.

The running back is second in ASU program history with 2,867 yards and tied with Kalen Ballage for second in rushing touchdowns with 27.

WR Brandon Aiyuk – San Francisco 49ers

2022 stats: 38 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight games

Aiyuk is averaging the fewest yards per target of his career, but he’s on pace to set career highs in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns.

The third-year wideout has come alive the past three weeks, putting him with 21 receptions for 246 yards and three touchdowns. In the five previous weeks, he had 17 receptions for 237 yards and just one touchdown.

Aiyuk spent two years as an ASU starter and dominated the Pac-12 his senior year. In 12 games, he posted 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns on 65 catches.

As a result, he was the sixth wide receiver taken, 25th overall player, in 2020.

WR N’Keal Harry – Chicago Bears

2022 stats: Three receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown in two games

Harry spent the first six weeks of the season recovering from an ankle injury but has produced since his injured reserve activation.

He’s only seen three targets but caught all of them, including his first touchdown as a Bear on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Harry famously went to the Patriots in the first round of the 2019 draft with A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel and D.K. Metcalf still on the board. Injuries and inconsistent production forced him out of favor in New England almost immediately, and the two ended their marriage this past summer.

Harry is second all-time in Sun Devils history with 2,889 yards and third with 22 touchdowns.

P Matt Haack – Indianapolis Colts

2022 stats: 33 punts, 1,450 yards, longest punt of 70 yards, 43.9 yards per punt

Haack is on his third team in three seasons after spending four years with the Miami Dolphins.

This year, he’s 31st among 32 punters with 43.9 yards per punt and 14th in total punting yards.

His 43.9 yards per punt matches his career-high average at ASU, where he spent four seasons from 2013 to 2016.

Veterans

DT Mike Pennel – Chicago Bears

2022 stats: 11 tackles, one quarterback hit and one tackle for loss in eight games

Pennel is on his fifth NFL team in nine seasons after registering four total tackles at ASU.

In his career, Pennel has two sacks, 14 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one recovery apiece.

DT Lawrence Guy – New England Patriots

2022 stats: 16 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit in five games

Guy has carved out an impressive career, as he is in the midst of Year 11.

One taken 233rd overall, Guy has 439 tackles, 59 quarterback hits, 36 tackles for loss and 16 sacks.

While he’s never been a Pro Bowl defensive lineman, the 32-year-old has a Super Bowl ring — the only active Sun Devil alum to win one — and has quietly become one of the longest-tenured Patriots defensive players of the 21st century.

At ASU, he had eight sacks and 23 tackles for loss in 35 games played from 2008-10.

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How are ASU football alumni performing midway through 2022 NFL season?