Illini in the Pros: Week 1 in 2021 NFL Season

A quick look at the production of former Illinois football players in Week 1 of the 2021 National Football League season.

By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Football Writer/Analyst

September 13, 2021

(Cover photo courtesy USA Today/Troy Taormina)

Whitney Mercilus, DE/LB, Houston Texans - In a 37-21 home win over Jacksonville, Mercilus opened his 10th season in the National Football League with a sack, a tackle for loss and three total tackles in his 102nd career start. Mercilus was an impact pass rusher in the defense being run by former Illinois head coach Lovie Smith.

 

Dawuane Smoot, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars - In a 37-21 road loss to Houston, Smoot (who is entering his fifth season in the NFL) played 36 snaps of defense Sunday without recording any statistics.

 

Jihad Ward, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars -  In a 37-21 road loss to Houston, Ward (who is entering his sixth season in the NFL) played 43 snaps of defense and two snaps of special teams Sunday and recorded four tackles and one quarterback hit.

 

Justin Hardee, DB, New York Jets - In a 19-14 road loss at Carolina, Hardee (who is in his fifth season in the NFL) had a first-quarter tackle on punt coverage and got several opportunities off the bench on special teams Sunday.

 

Tavon Wilson, DB, San Francisco 49ers - In his 10th season in the NFL, Wilson had a tackle on special teams as a reserve defensive back in the 49ers 41-33 win at Detroit Sunday.

 

Kendrick Green, C, Pittsburgh Steelers - After being drafted in the third round of the 2021 draft, Green started at center and played 55 snaps in the 23-16 road win at Buffalo Sunday afternoon. Green was instrumental in a Steelers offense that got 75 yards on 21 carries and allowed just two sacks to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

 

Nick Allegreti, OL, Kansas City Chiefs - Allegretti played on five snaps of special teams in Kansas City’s come-from-behind 33-29 home victory over Cleveland on Sunday.

 

Miami's Clayton Fejedelem (42) walks off the Gillette Stadium field with teammate Hunter Long (84) after the Dolphins' season-opening road win over the Patriots. (Photo courtesy SeacoastOnline.com)

Chase McLaughlin, K, Cleveland Browns - In the 33-29 road loss at Kansas City, McLaughlin was 3 for 3 on extra point attempts and had three touchbacks on kickoffs Sunday.

 

Clayton Fejedelem, DB, Miami Dolphins - In the 17-16 road win at New England, Fejedelem was a co-captain and played 18 snaps of special teams action.

 

Ted Karras, OL, New England Patriots - In the 17-16 home loss to Miami, Karras was on the field for four snaps of special teams action.

 

NOTE: Nate Hobbs, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 draft, is expected to play and potentially start tonight for the Las Vegas Raiders in his professional football debut as the Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Premium Members Only.  Please Subscribe To View The Full Article.

Subscribe Today

One-stop destination for Illini sports news, analysis and interactive contents.

Drag a button, link, or anything else into the icon box to place it below the text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit.

Weekly podcasts including “Sturdy for 30” and “I on the Illini”

Drag a button, link, or anything else into the icon box to place it below the text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit.

“Illini Guys Zoom Calls” during games and special events

Drag a button, link, or anything else into the icon box to place it below the text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit.

Special appearances by “Illini Legends” and other national sports personalities

Drag a button, link, or anything else into the icon box to place it below the text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit.

Special appearances by “Illini Legends” and other national sports personalities

Drag a button, link, or anything else into the icon box to place it below the text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit.

Video breakdowns and game analysis

Drag a button, link, or anything else into the icon box to place it below the text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit.

Owned, managed and run by diehard Illini fans for Illini fans everywhere

Drag a button, link, or anything else into the icon box to place it below the text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet elit.

Podcasts

I on the Illini - Purdue Breakdown - Losing Streak Goes to 4 (S1, Ep 53)

Read

Sturdyfor30 - Illini Head to Purdue

Read

I on the Illini - What the Heck is Going on with the Illini Offense? (S1,Ep52)

Read

I on the Illini - Catching Up with Jack Trudeau and David Williams - Illini Legends talk 80s football & Jack discusses his post-stroke challenges (S1,Ep51)

Read

IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - Sept 17 Weekend - 1st Hour

Read

IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - Sept 17 Weekend - 2nd Hour

Read

I on the Illini - Maryland Breakdown - Final 5 Minutes Collapse (S1,Ep50)

Read

Sturdyfor30 - Maryland Preview

Read

Ked's Recruiting Roundup - Fears Sr and Fears Jr

Read

I on the Illini - Virginia Postgame Breakdown (S1,Ep49)

Read

IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - Sept 10 Weekend - 1st Hour

Read

IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - Sept 10 Weekend - 2nd Hour

Read

Sturdyfor30 - Virginia Preview

Read

I on the Illini - UT San Antonio Postgame Breakdown

Read

IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - Sept 3 Weekend - 1st Hour

Read