Some of the proudest moments and memories a college football program and fanbase can cherish is watching their best players go on to succeed in the National Football League. For the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, this remains true.
Today in the 2023-24 NFL season, there are eight former Cajuns currently rostered across different franchises. Easily the most popular of these has been San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell, who’s been with the team since his selection in the sixth round of the 2021 draft.
Michell of late has been placed second in the depth chart behind the Niners’ new Pro Bowl back Christian McCaffrey, but the team has found creative ways to use both players’ talents and get them involved in the offense. On Thursday, Sept. 21, Mitchell logged 11 carries for 42 yards and two broken tackles to generate two first downs.
The longest-tenured Cajun to suit up this season is safety Tracy Walker III, who the Detroit Lions drafted in the third round in 2018. Through the ups, downs, and rebuilds the Lions have gone through, Walker’s consistency and tackling ability has made him an obvious player to keep regardless of situation.
The only Cajuns to share a team, safety Percy Butler III and defensive back Andre Jones Jr., were selected in the 2022 and 2023 drafts respectively by the Washington Commanders. Both have played fewer than 50% of available snaps since they were drafted as they develop behind the likes of Darrick Forrest and Montez Sweat, but there is still potential for them to break out later this year.
One of the best Cajuns players in the league today is offensive tackle Robert Hunt. Selected in the second round by the Miami Dolphins in 2020, Hunt has started every snap of every game for the team since Week 11 of his rookie year.
From 2022 till today, Hunt has averaged a 73.7 Pro Football Focus player grade, standing out as one of the few solid pieces on a Dolphins line which has ranked in the NFL’s bottom half in pass block and run block win rate.
Another of the Cajuns’ offensive lineman, left guard Kevin Dotson, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round in 2020, where he performed at a league-average level in spite of some penalty-drawing issues. In August, he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for pick swaps, and has since sat behind Tremayne Anchrum Jr. waiting for his shot back to the starting lineup.
Cajuns tackle Max Mitchell was picked in the fourth round by the New York Jets in 2022’s draft. Mitchell was off to a solid start in his rookie campaign before a dislocated knee and a run-in with life-threatening blood clots put his career in jeopardy, per the Athletic. He has yet to see the field this season behind a solid guard rotation featuring Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton.
The Cajuns’ punt return and explosive play extraordinaire last season Eric Garror was signed in free agency by the Tennessee Titans last May, and since has been between the practice squad and special teams. It won’t take a very big window for this playmaker to find a foothold in the league though; take off for one play, and he’ll make the opposing team pay up.