Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
NFL teams were required to make their final roster decisions for the 2018 season by 4 p.m. on Saturday. Richie James and Charvarius Ward were two former Blue Raiders who made the final cut for their respective teams.
Richie James was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Charvarius Ward’s career-best 48 tackles was a highlight of his senior year, but he was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Dallas Cowboys.
Both former Blue Raiders made an immediate impact while facing off against each other. The 49ers squared off against the Cowboys in the first preseason game, and James and Ward showed their abilities.
Ward recorded five total tackles, all solo, to lead the Cowboys defense, and James had four receptions for 46 yards. James also scored the game-winning touchdown on his former teammate with 18 seconds left.
James and Ward continued to see extended playing time in the preseason and impressed teammates and coaches.
James finished off his preseason with a strong outing against the Los Angeles Chargers. He hauled in seven receptions for 80 yards, averaging 11.4 yards per reception.
However, Ward was unable to cap off his preseason due to a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ward was informed of the trade prior to kickoff and did not play with the Cowboys. Nevertheless, due to the trade, Ward was guaranteed a roster spot and will look to add value to a team that lacks depth in defensive backs.
With their roster spots now secured, the two former Blue Raiders will have their eyes toward week one of the NFL season on Sept. 9. James and the 49ers will face the Minnesota Vikings, and Ward and the Chiefs will kickoff against the Chargers.
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