Thursday is the opening kickoff of the 2017 NFL season. The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs go head-to-head in prime time.

RELATED: Luis Perez is the most interesting man in DII Football

While the world awaits Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions, the game also pits two former West Alabama players against each other. The Patriots’ Malcolm Butler and the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill are two of 84 DII football players ready for NFL action this year.

Some very notable names are now part of NFL rosters that once roamed the DII gridiron. Danny Woodhead has overcome injuries to become one of the best receiving backs in football. Jahri Evans of the Green Bay Packers is a six-time Pro Bowler and at one point, the fourth-rounder was the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Evans joins Butler as two Super Bowl winners from the DII ranks.

Here’s a look at some more DII football by the numbers:

Roster breakdown:

88 — Total DII football players in the NFL, including practice squad rosters.

5 — The most DII football players on any one roster. The Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams and New York Jets all roster five players.

5 — The most players from one school represented, with Grand Valley State and California (PA) leading the way. West Alabama and Missouri Western State are behind with four. 

3 — The number of DII tight ends the Tennessee Titans have on its roster.

2 — Total number of NFL teams without a DII football player on their roster: Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans.

Position Breakdown:

0 — There are no DII quarterbacks on current NFL rosters.

18 — Total DII defensive backs on NFL rosters, the most of any one position.

15 — The number of DII wide receivers in the NFL, the most of any offensive position.

8 — DII tight ends making an NFL squad, which is four more than running backs.

Player Position DII school
Arizona Cardinals    
John Brown WR Pittsburg State
Brittan Golden WR West Texas A&M
Jared Veldheer T Hillsdale
Atlanta Falcons    
C.J. Goodwin CB California (PA)
Ryan Schraeder T Valdosta State
Baltimore Ravens    
Brandon Carr CB Grand Valley State
Ryan Jensen G/C Colorado State-Pueblo
Matthew Juson OLB Grand Valley State
Brandon Williams DT Missouri Southern State
Danny Woodhead RB Chadron 
Buffalo Bills    
Andre Holmes WR Hillsdale
Deon Lacey LB West Alabama
Kharl Lee TE Bowie State
Cedric Thorton DT  Southern Arkansas
Carolina Panthers    
Charles Johnson WR Grand Valley State
L.J. McCray S Catawba
Scott Simonson TE Assumption
Amini Silatolu T Midwestern State
Chicago Bears    
Adam Shaheen TE Ashland
Eric Kush WR California (PA)
Jordan Morgan OL Kutztown
Cleveland Browns    
Mike Jordan DB Missouri Western State
Jamie Meder DL Ashland
Dallas Cowboys    
Jeff Heath S Saginaw Valley State
Chris Jones P Carson-Newman
Nate Theaker G Wayne State
Denver Broncos    
Allen Barbre G Missouri Southern State
Detroit Lions    
Dez Stewart WR Ohio Dominican
Green Bay Packers    
Jahri Evans G Bloomsburg
Jeff Janis WR  Saginaw Valley State
David Talley LB Grand Valley State
Donatello Brown CB Valdosta State
Indianapolis Colts    
Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood
Denzelle Good T/G Mars Hill
Kenny Moore II CB Valdosta State
Grover Stewart DT Albany State
Jacksonville Jaguars    
Keelan Cole WR Kentucky Wesleyan
Chris Ivory RB Tiffin
Matt Overton LS Western Washington
Chris Reed OL Minnesota State
Kansas City Chiefs    
Tyreek Hill WR West Alabama
Ron Parker DB Newberry
Los Angeles Chargers    
Austin Ekeler RB Western State
Sean McGrath TE Henderson State
Jeff Richards DB Emporia State
Tyrell Williams WR Western Oregon
Whitney Richardson DE Lane
Los Angeles Rams    
Marqui Christian DB Midwestern State
Morgan Fox DE Colorado State-Pueblo
Matt Longacre DE Northwest Missouri State
Ethan Westbrooks DL West Texas A&M
Greg Zuerlein K Missouri Western
Miami Dolphins    
William Hayes DE Winston-Salem State
Minnesota Vikings    
C.J. Ham FB Augustana
Adam Thielan WR Minnesota State
New England Patriots    
Malcolm Butler DB West Alabama
New Orleans Saints    
Bryan Braman LB West Texas A&M
New York Giants    
Janoris Jenkins DB North Alabama
New York Jets    
Dylan Donahue LB West Georgia
Rontez Miles S California (PA)
Mike Pennel DL Colorado State-Pueblo
Edmond Robinson LB Newberry
Will Tye TE Stony Brook
Oakland Raiders    
Tyrell Adams LB West Georgia
Erik Harris S California (PA)
Marquette King P Fort Valley State
Seth Roberts WR West Alabama
Philadelphia Eagles    
Tre Sullivan S Shepherd
Billy Brown TE  Shepherd
Pittsburgh Steelers    
Matt Feiler OT Bloomsburg
Terrell Watson RB Azusa Pacific
Dudhaun Phillips CB Tarleton State
Marcus Tucker WR Northern Michigan
San Francisco 49ers    
Brandon Fusco OL Slippery Rock
Seattle Seahawks    
David Bass DE Missouri Western State
Dewey McDonald LB California (PA)
Michael Wilhoite LB Washburn
David Moore WR East Central
Tampa Bay Bucs    
Brent Grimes CB Shippensburg
Leonard Wester T Missouri Western
Freddie Martino WR North Greenville
Tennessee Titans    
Phillip Supernaw TE Ouachita Baptist
Delanie Walker TE Central Missorui
Victor Ochi LB Stony Brook
Jerome Cunningham TE Southern Connecticut
Washington Redskins    
Junior Galette LB Stillman
Kevin Bowen T East Central




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