NFL training camps are underway across the country and Manatee County has a presence. After two of Bradenton’s own participated in the Super Bowl in February, five players in NFL camps have that dream for the 2017-18 season.
The former Lakewood Ranch High School cornerback is coming off the best season of his career and is likely to once again start for the Giants. The 31-year-old from Tennessee State compiled 41 tackles, forced a fumble, recorded a sack and matched a career high with six interceptions during his third season with New York. As a reward, the Bradenton native was named second-team All-Pro, the first All-Pro selection of his career.
6Interceptions for Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last season, tied for second most in the NFL.
Rodgers-Cromartie was ranked No. 3 among defensive backs on Pro Football Focus’ playmaker index after he turned more than 16 percent of passes thrown his way into either an interception or a pass deflection.
The former Southeast High School defensive back was one of the surprise rookies in last year’s class. After going undrafted out of Florida during the draft, the cornerback emerged as a starter at nickel back for the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. During the postseason, when the 24-year-old started twice, Poole recorded 15 tackles.
59Tackles for Brian Poole last season, tied for 15th most among rookies.
He finished his rookie year with 59 tackles, a sack and an interception in nine starts. The St. Petersburg native’s role should continue to grow during his second year.
After shuffling on and off Atlanta’s roster during his rookie campaign, the former Braden River High School wide receiver is in the mix as a back-up safety for Atlanta after playing three games as a rookie. The 25-year-old, who played at Florida Atlantic University, recorded three tackles during the regular season and one during the playoffs. The Sarasota native is primarily a free safety.
The former Lakewood Ranch High School offensive lineman is trying to make a comeback this summer after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament during his NFL regular-season debut with Cleveland in 2016 after spending most of 2015 on the Washington Redskins’ practice squad. The 25-year-old, who played at the University of South Florida, may battle for the back-up center job with the Browns, which is up for grabs.
The Buffalo Bills wide receiver may not have played his high school ball in the area, but the 26-year-old who attended the University of Tennessee-Martin was born in Bradenton and played at Booker High School in Sarasota. The wideout didn’t record a reception last year. He caught two passes for 11 yards with the San Diego Chargers in 2015 and 31 passes for 363 yards with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014. He’ll be fighting for a roster spot again in Buffalo.