By: Barry Barnes, Founder
There’s a first time for everything. The first kiss, crush, date, fight and the first…well, the list goes on and on. In terms of players in the NFL, primarily from the NFL Regional Combine, many ‘firsts’ took center stage in Week 6, which could propel careers.
In a tough fought competition between the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns, the contest ventured into the overtime. The Broncos faced the opportunity to stay undefeated barring a 34-yard field goal.
With confidence, Broncos kicker Brandon McManus strolled onto the turf, and after an attempt to be iced by Browns head coach Mike Pettine via calling a timeout, the RC standout from the 2013 session nailed his first game-winning field goal on the road.
In Week 4, McManus accomplished his first career game-winning field goal against the Minnesota Vikings for 39 yards with 1:51 remaining in that contest.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a few essential NFL Regional Combine athletes that experienced some firsts.
Cornerback Antwon Blake starts for the Steelers and his 12 tackles earned him the achievement of leading his team in stops for the first time.
Safety Robert Golden was finally granted his first career start and he didn’t disappoint racking up eight tackles – finishing second in that category.
With 12:16 remaining in the second quarter, Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum went down due to a serious knee injury. The multi-talented Alejandro Villanueva filled in for the three-year veteran, and in his first series of snaps, the Army grad didn’t surrender a sack.
Villanueva literally moved barriers to get onto a NFL field as he did not limit himself to one position. He went undrafted in 2010 and the Cincinnati Bengals signed the 6-9 Villanueva to their practice squad. The Chicago Bears welcomed him in 2012. He had to fulfill his duties for the military and served three tours to Afghanistan.
Villanueva returned to pick up his dream of having a NFL career and participated in the Atlanta-held NFL Regional Combine in 2014 as a linebacker. Following his breakout session in Atlanta and the NFL Super Regional Combine, Villanueva signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles eventually released the promising linebacker. The Steelers signed Villanueva to their practice squad and converted him to a tight end.
Entering the 2015 NFL campaign, Villanueva packed on more muscle and weight to apply depth for the Steelers offensive line. During the course of this infant season, Villanueva has been used for goal line and short yardage situations. Depending on how quickly the Steelers can develop newly acquired left tackle Bryan Stingily, Villanueva may have earned an opportunity to garner his first NFL start for Week 7.
Countless defensive linemen correspond a sack with the sensation of sex. If that’s the case, Detroit Lions linebacker Brandon Copeland consummated his marriage with the NFL as he secured his first NFL sack against the Chicago Bears to close out the first half Sunday.
Copeland have a huge following with tons of support. His second chance in the NFL is obviously a tremendous success. Moreover, the once-basketball prodigy from Baltimore, MD, who journeyed through the 2013 NFL Regional Combine and Super, triumph will establish the importance of the NFL Veteran Combine as his talent exploded off the charts for the first annual session in March.
Copeland and the many others have proven the NFL Combine Series is unquestionably an asset to the league, which will ultimately birth many firsts in the near future – including eventual titles.
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