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Sun Devils in the NFL: How former players are doing halfway through the season

Three 2018 NFL draft picks struggle to create impact, while Damarious Randall shines


ASU then-senior running back Kalen Ballage (7) celebrates after a touchdown in a game against New Mexico State at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017.

It's eight weeks into the NFL season and several ASU players have secured positions on teams; some are producing while others ride the bench. 

Kalen Ballage, who was picked in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, has received three carries for 10 yards in four games played. Ballage produced well in his first slate of preseason games as a pro, rushing for 62 yards on 14 attempts and scoring a touchdown. However, he hasn’t been able to crack a rotation that features veteran Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake.

After a great showing in week two of the preseason, linebacker Christian Sam was sent to the injured reserve on Sep. 1, 2018 by the New England Patriots for an undisclosed injury. It is unlikely he will play a down in 2018. 

Sam Jones has yet to log a game in the NFL after being drafted 183rd overall by the Broncos in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played in two games in the preseason, starting in the last game. 

Coming off of a four-game suspension for usage of performance-enhancing drugs, Vontaze Burfict has recorded 17 total tackles in four games played. Burfict has been the subject of scrutiny for laying what was seen as a pair of dirty hits against Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back James Conner in week seven, and was fined $112,000 for the pair of hits. He was not penalized in the game for the hits, nor was he suspended for them. 

Zane Gonzalez played a full season for the Browns in 2017, but played just two games in 2018. He was released by the Browns after an infamous week where he missed two field goal attempts and two extra point attempts against the New Orleans Saints. One of the extra point attempts he missed would have put the Browns up by one with a little over a minute remaining and one of the field goal attempts he missed would have tied the game in regulation. It was reported by ESPN that he played with a torn groin in that matchup. 

Damarious Randall has played well for the Cleveland Browns at safety in 2018. He has recorded 49 total tackles, two interceptions and seven passes deflected in eight games played. He has already surpassed the total amount of tackles he made in 14 games played with the Green Bay Packers last year. Playing as a cornerback, Randall recorded 47 total tackles with the Packers in 2017. 

Lawrence Guy is having a productive season for the Patriots. In eight games, Guy has recorded 27 total tackles playing as defensive end. 

These ASU alumni still have another eight games to make a name for themselves in the NFL.

Reach the reporter at and follow @HorseySeven on Twitter.

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Jeffrey HorstDigital editor-in-chief

Jeffrey Horst is the digital editor-in-chief of The State Press. He previously served as the publication's sports editor and worked at Cronkite News and

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