Card: Panini Contenders 2013
Acquired: 2017, EBay
Ray Graham played football at Pitt from 2009 to 2012. He put together increasing numbers in each year, culminating in his Senior year when he ran 222 times for 1042 yards and 11 TDs. Over 4 years he had 595 carries for 3271 yards and 32 TDs. Ray also displayed a really nice touch out of the backfield, catching 98 passes, including 36 in his Senior year. Considered more of a slasher at the pro level, scouts tore apart his game and did not feel that Ray had the size to play at the pro level. He went unselected in the 2013 NFL Draft but signed a free agent contract with the Houston Texans.
The Texans were looking for runningback help. As nagging injuries were catching up with Arian Foster and Ben Tate, the Texans were looking for new blood to help out in the backfield. They signed a trio of free agents- all promising backs: Ray, Cierre Wood, and Dennis Johnson. Ray had a decent preseason scoring a really nice TD against the Vikings, and as a natural zone runner, I really liked his style, but unfortunately in a game of numbers, he’d be cut- as the team opted to keep Wood. Graham was picked up by the Steelers and added to their practice squad.
As things would have it, Arian Foster went down due to injury. Wood blew his chance with the team violating an ‘unspecified team rule’ and was released. Graham found himself back on the squad and rushed 4 times for 8 yards. He’d also make one catch for 12 yards.
Ray had enough talent to probably take his game to another team in 2014 after he was cut, but currently is considered a free agent or retired from the sport.
Card: Leaf Draft 2014
Acquired: 2014, Box Breaker
Troy Niklas was the back up to wonder TE Tyler Eifert while at Notre Dame. He played 3 years at the school from 2011 to 2013. Niklas played his Freshman year at linebacker, but realizing his talent and having a need at tight end, coaches decided to move Troy to the offensive side of the ball. He came on strong during his Junior year in 2013 when he recorded 32 receptions for 498 yards and 5 touchdowns. Troy was selected in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Injuries however have derailed most of his career. He had his first professional touchdown during week 6 of 2015 on a 13 yard reception. The Cards used him in sort of an H-Back role in 2017. In 11 starts he had 11 receptions for 132 yards and a TD. With the apparent emergence of Ricky Jones-Seals at tight end during the course of the season, Niklas was allowed to test the free agent waters in 2018 and signed with the Patriots. Currently he’s a free agent.
So this and another autographed card, I was digging through the collection and realized that I had never uploaded them (or I had uploaded them and something happened on the production side with my website and they were removed). Better late than never 4 years or so later! Guess it is time to do an inventory.
Card: Panini Contenders 2017
Acquired: 2017, Box Breaker
Tight End Pharoah Brown was signed as a free agent by the Oakland Raiders shortly after the 2017 NFL Draft concluded. The former Oregon Duck scored well at the combine, leading his group in both the verticle jump and bench press reps. He had a pretty solid career in Eugene, but a horrific injury during his Junior season combined with three separate acts of violence incidents sent his draft stock plummeting. The former Duck finished with 70 catches for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns. With few valid options outside of free agent signee Jared Cook, Brown was given plenty of reps and opportunity to make the Raiders roster for 2017. He was waived in September of 2018 but quickly found a home on the Cleveland Browns practice squad.