Throughout the NFL season, we’ll check in with former Idaho State football players currently in the NFL. Here’s an update after the first week of the preseason.
Evan Smith (2004-08), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Veteran offensive lineman Evan Smith was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, two days after playing in the team’s preseason opener.
Smith spent the last five seasons in Tampa, starting 28 of 57 games played. He played 28 offensive snaps during Friday’s 30-28 loss at Pittsburgh.
According to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Smith recently underwent surgery on both hips. Tampa Bay freed up around $1.4 million in salary cap space by dumping Smith’s $2 million salary, Auman reported.
Smith has played 118 games in nine NFL seasons with the Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers.
Josh Hill (2009-12), New Orleans Saints
Josh Hill was held without a catch during the New Orleans Saints’ preseason opener Friday.
The former Idaho State tight end played 15 offensive snaps and three special teams snaps during the game, a 34-25 Saints home loss against Minnesota.
Hill, who is entering his seventh NFL season, is currently listed second on New Orleans’ tight end depth chart.
The Saints (0-1 preseason) play Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Dirk Koetter (1977, 79-81), Atlanta Falcons
Dirk Koetter is still looking for his first preseason win in his second go-round as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator.
The Pocatello native and Idaho State alumnus helped the Falcons score 27 points in Thursday’s 34-27 loss at Miami. The Falcons tallied 337 yards of offense and scored on three of five trips to the red zone.
Atlanta (0-2 preseason) hosts the New York Jets on Thursday.
Brian Fineanganofo (2014-18), Cleveland Browns
Browns rookie offensive lineman Brian Fineanganofo made his NFL debut Thursday during the team’s preseason opener, a 30-10 home win against Washington.
Fineanganofo played 17 offensive snaps and, according to Pro Football Focus, had the Browns’ best pass blocking grade of the game. He’s currently listed as the team’s third-string right tackle.
The Browns (1-0 preseason) play Saturday at Indianapolis.