There weren't any former URI football players competing in the NFL in Week 1 or 2, but it’s almost a certainty you’ll see some Rams hit the gridiron at some point this season. Five players who spent time in Kingston either made an NFL roster or practice squad in the run-up to the 2020 season.
Wide receiver Isaiah Coulter was drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. He made the 53-man roster, but a neck injury will keep him on the IR for at least three weeks.
Without leaving Texas you’ll find another Ram with legit pro aspirations. Coulter’s cousin Aaron Parker impressed the Dallas Cowboys in their training camp, and while he didn’t make the active roster, he is on the team’s practice squad.
URI had three All-Americans on their team last year, and all three are with NFL teams. Offensive lineman Kyle Murphy joins Parker and Coulter at the game’s highest stage; he’s on the New York Giants practice squad.
All three put up pro-level stats in their final season in college. Murphy was the leader of the Ram offensive line and as a unit, they allowed 2.1 sacks per game in a pass-happy offense.
That aggressive style on that side of the ball led to some wild numbers for the wide receiver duo of Parker and Coulter. Parker left Kingston with 30 touchdowns under his belt, the third-most receiving scores by a Ram in school history. Coulter’s eight touchdowns in 2019 were the 10th most in a single season by a Ram receiver ever.
Coulter lived in his cousin’s shadow a bit while at URI, but when the Texans picked him in the fifth round this year, he became the first player to be drafted out of URI since 1986.
In addition to the trio of neophytes, the Rams have two other former players who made NFL practice squads. Kicker Justin Rohrwasser spent two seasons with the Rams before finishing his collegiate career at Marshall.
The New England Patriots selected him in the fifth round, prior to Coulter’s selection by the Texans. Both Rohrwasser and Nick Folk were cut by the Pats and placed on their practice squad, leaving them without a kicker on the active roster.
The fifth and final Ram looking to make a pro impact is tackle David Steinmetz. He was a three-year starter at URI, before finishing out his collegiate career with a post-grad season at Purdue.
Steinmetz has bounced around the NFL for the past two seasons, and will start this year on the Washington Football Team’s practice squad.
Another former URI lineman, Dino Boyd, tried out for Washington after being let go by the Chicago Bears in August. Boyd plays left tackle and was yet another Ram who spent their final season elsewhere: he spent his grad year at the University of Cincinnati.
The Cowboys and Texans are not schedule to play each other in 2020, but the Cowboys have regular season meetings with both Washington and the Giants, which could lead to a rare URI reunion in the NFL if things break the right way for Parker, Murphy or Steinmetz.