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SCV products vie for NFL rosters

Posted: August 15, 2013 10:04 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2013 10:04 p.m.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore is a Hart High graduate.

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The 10 Santa Clarita Valley products currently taking part in NFL training camps range from returning Pro Bowl players to journeymen who are simply trying to make a roster.

There are also a few local players who fall in between, like Valencia graduate Shane Vereen (New England Patriots) and Hart graduate Matt Moore (Miami Dolphins).

Neither one of those players are starters, but both are fighting for more play time.

And in the end, that’s what training camp and preaseason is all about.

Caylin Hauptmann — Cleveland Browns, offensive lineman

The former COC player was picked up by the Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Florida International. He played in each of the Browns’ first two preseason games and is trying to win a roster spot as a tackle.

Delano Howell — Indianapolis Colts, safety

The Hart High graduate and former Stanford University standout was an on-and-off player on the Buffalo Bills most of last season before he signed with the Colts on Nov. 28, 2012. He played one game and recorded one tackle with the Bills and added one tackle in five games with Indianapolis.

Howell, who is reunited with his old Stanford teammate, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, put up an impressive performance in the team’s preseason opener against the Bills on Sunday with a team-high 12 tackles to go with one pass breakup.

Howell made the Bills’ regular season roster as an undrafted free agent signee last season, and he is vying for a backup spot on the Colts this year.

Marquis Jackson — Minnesota Vikings, defensive end

Jackson is fighting to make the regular season roster after the Vikings signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State.

As a former COC player, Jackson is listed as the No. 4 left defensive end on Minnesota’s unofficial depth chart.

Troy Nolan — Tampa Bay Buccaneers, safety

Nolan is with his fourth different NFL team in one year’s time. The former College of the Canyons Cougar signed with the Bucs toward the start of training camp on July 29, was released seven days later, and then signed again with the team on Saturday.

Though Nolan saw regular action during his first two years in the NFL with the Houston Texans, playing in 30 of the team’s 32 games, he has yet to find a steady spot on the field since.

Last season, he bounced around between the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Texans, playing a total of eight games and accumulating six tackles.

Nolan appears to be on the bubble to make the regular season 53-man roster.

Matt Moore — Miami Dolphins, quarterback

Moore, a Hart high alumnus, is trying to make the best of his reps during the preseason as he will likely enter the season as the backup quarterback to Ryan Tannehill for the second year in a row.

Tannehill won the starting job in last year’s training camp.

In two preseason games so far, Moore is a combined 24-for-38 for 296 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

He’s coming into his seventh year in the NFL and the first year of his two-year contract signed with Miami in March.

Domata Peko — Cincinnati Bengals, defensive tackle

Peko has started on the Bengals’ defensive line since his second year in the NFL and there are no signs of that changing any time soon.

The former College of the Canyons player is entering his eight year in the pros, all with Cincinnati, and he’s coming off a season in which he tallied 53 tackles, two sacks and three pass breakups.

Peko was featured on the season premier episode of the HBO hit series “Hard Knocks,” which takes place at Bengals training camp this month.

Jason Pierre-Paul — New York Giants, defensive tackle

After revealing that he played hurt through most of last season, Pierre-Paul had surgery on his lower back in June and is still recovering. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle didn’t play in the Giants’ first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and has been limited in his training camp participation.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, Pierre-Paul promises to be ready for New York’s regular season opener on Sept. 8 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Pierre-Paul is entering his fourth year in the NFL after playing at College of the Canyons and the University of South Florida. He had 43 tackles, 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown last season.

Mychal Rivera — Oakland Raiders, tight end

The Raiders entered training camp with four new tight ends, including Rivera, who was drafted out of the University of Tennessee in the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft.

Rivera, a former COC player, didn’t catch any passes in Oakland’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys last week, but was targeted once.

He also played on special teams.

According to multiple reports, Rivera has a chance to win the starting tight end job.

Isaac Sopoaga — Philadelphia Eagles, defensive tackle

After spending the first eight years of his career playing on the San Francisco 49ers defensive line, Sopoaga signed a three-year deal with the Eagles and he’s a presumptive starter at nose tackle for his new team. He started last week’s preseaon game against the Patriots.

The College of the Canyons product and NFL veteran finished with 27 tackles and one sack last season and he started for the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

Sopoaga has started 72 of the last 78 games he’s played.

Shane Vereen — New England Patriots, running back

Coming off a strong second year in the pros, Vereen comes into the 2013 season trying to fight for even more touches out of the backfield.

That could be both as a running back or a receiver, considering the Valencia High graduate caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady last week in a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Vereen will compete for carries with fellow Patriots running backs Stevan Ridley and new aqcuisition LeGarrette Blount.

Last year, Vereen gained 251 yards and scored three touchdowns on the ground in 62 carries, while also adding eight receptions for 149 yards and a scoring catch.

This was coming off a rookie season in 2011 in which Vereen saw limited action while being slowed by a hamstring injury.

“Last season was fun, fun having a season where I was not injured,” Vereen told The Signal last week. “I got more experience last season. It was a really big learning experience.”

The Patriots come into the year with high expectations again after making the Super Bowl two years ago and the AFC Championship last seaosn.

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