I'm sure I saw Tyler Slavin mentioned a couple of times throughout the 2012 college football recruiting barrage, but the first time I remember his name was the day after this:
That's the winning touchdown from the 2012 Guildan New Mexico Bowl between Arizona and Nevada. I was watching because I wanted to get a postseason look at Nevada QB Cody Fajardo let alone all the talent on the Arizona side. At the time, I pointed to Arizona WR Austin Hill, a 2015 UDFA with the Raiders and Slavin's high school teammate, and Nevada SS Duke Williams, the Bills' 4th rounder from the 2013 NFL Draft. It also served as a cap for a brekout season for Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey, now a Chicago bear after being selected in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft (in other words, watch more college football with me this year).
It was a phenomenal finish to the game with Arizona coming back to win after entering the fourth quarter down 45-28.
That final touchdown was credited at the time to WR Terrence Miller (he himself having bounced around the NFL UDFA fringes last year) who used to wear #18. To avoid any special teams confusion, Tyler Slavin put on that #18 jersey before going out and scoring the winning touchdown. So much for clearing up any confusion.
Now two and a half years later following a two-year transfer gig to New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, just east of Santa Fe, Slavin is ready to try to make a go at the NFL level with the Rams.
The longer the story goes, the shorter it feels.
We haven't touched on WR since the Isiah Ferguson preview piece. Here's what it looks like, both groups in alphabetical order:
Top tier: Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt, Chris Givens and Brian Quick
Second tier: Emory Blake, Ferguson, Bradley Marquez, Daniel Rodriguez, Slavin, Damian Williams and Devon Wylie
The question for that second tier is how many make it and whom.
Like any UDFA, the expectations are low for Slavin. He's got to get through that second group through the first few cuts. It's doable.
Chances of Making Final Roster (4/10)
Slavin's got a decent shot, IMO. Coming off of an incredibly productive 2014, he's got a different recent history than some others in that second tier of the WR depth chart. The question for him is of the Brian Quick variety. How steep is the curve for him going from New Mexico Highlands of Division II college ball to the NFL's St. Louis Rams?
I think he's got a real shot. That August 23 preseason game against the Colts could be huge for the position group and for Slavin. If he's healthy, remind me to bring this back up two months from today.