Three Former Beavers Who Made It In The NFL

Oregon State Beavers has a long history of producing football players who go on and enjoy careers in the National Football League (NFL). The Beavers program is like a production line for top NFL players, as you would expect from a team ranked so highly in the college football betting markets. There are 20 former Beavers signed with NFL franchises right now, some active, others on the reserve lists. These are three players who are turning out regularly for NFL teams.

Jordan Poyer

Jordan Poyer is a strong safety who represented the Oregon State Beavers from 2009 to 2012. Coaches could tell from his first season, where Poyer registered 11 tackles in 13 games, that they had a special player on their hands. In 2010, Poyer recorded 34 tackles and 1,109 all-purpose yards from cornerback.

Poyer continued developing as a player and took to being the team’s primary punt returner. He enjoyed four interceptions in 2011 plus 57 tackles before registering 51 tackles and seven interceptions in 2012.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Poyer in the seventh round as the 218th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year, $2.2 million contract. Poyer left for the Cleveland Browns in October 2013 and stayed there until March 2017, when the Buffalo Bills signed him to a four-year $13 million contract.

To date, Poyer has played 124 games in the NFL, made 630 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 20 interceptions, and has scored one defensive touchdown.

Brandin Cooks

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Brandin Cooks has been a regular starter in the wide receiver position since being drafted in 2014. Before embarking on a professional football career, Cooks played for the Beavers from 2011 to 2013. He played 38 games, received 3,272 yards with an average of 14.5 yards, and scored 24 touchdowns. Cooks also racked up 340 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The New Orleans Saints selected Cooks as the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Cooks became the highest drafted player from Oregon State since Ken Carpenter went 13th overall back in 1950.

Cooks played 42 games for the Saints, scoring 20 21 touchdowns and receiving for 2,861 yards before moving to the New England Patriots in March 2017. He only stayed at the Patriots for one season before jetting off to the Los Angeles Rams, where he signed a five-year $81 million extension with $50.5 million guaranteed. However, the Rams traded Cooks to the Houston Texans in April 2020, which is where he now plies his trade.

Steven Nelson

Steven Nelson is currently on the Philadelphia Eagles roster, the third NFL team of his career. The tough-tackling cornerback was a regular for Oregon State from 2013-14. Nelson had 122 tackles and eight interceptions during his two years with the Beavers.

Nelson signed a four-year $2.91 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs after being drafted as the 98th overall pick. He played 12 games, but did not start, in his rookie season before starting 15 games in 2016. A surgery cut short his 2017 campaign, but he started all 16 games the following season.

Pittsburgh Steelers signed Nelson to a three-year $25.5 million contract in March 2019. He started 30 games across two seasons, having 109 tacks and three interceptions. Two years later, at Nelson’s request, the Steelers terminated his contract. Nelson was without a team for only four months because the Philadelphia Eagles came calling and signed him up on a one-year contract.