Former Rhode Island wide receiver Isaiah Coulter made the Houston Texans 53-man roster, while fellow Rams Aaron Parker, Kyle Murphy, David Steinmetz and Justin Rohrwasser were placed on waivers by their respective teams before being quickly signed to practice squads.
A fifth-round pick and URI’s first draft selection since 1986, Coulter earned a spot on the roster, though he was placed on an injured reserve soon after due to a neck strain. He would be eligible to come off injured reserve in three weeks, if healthy. He missed time in training camp due to the neck issue, but managed to make enough of an impression to stick around.
Coulter is the first former Rhode Island player to appear on a regular-season NFL roster since Tyler Catalina did with with Washington in 2017. Catalina played in seven games, making two starts that season.
With the Rams, Coulter had a breakout junior season, becoming just the seventh player in program history to top 1,000 receiving yards in one season. He caught eight touchdown passes. A strong showing at the NFL combine further boosted his stock and the Texans took him with the 171st pick in the draft.
Coulter’s cousin, Parker, was brought back by the Dallas Cowboys after reportedly being among the team’s final cuts. Murphy returned to the New York Giants, Steinmetz to the Redskins and Rohrwasser to the Patriots.
The eighth-leading scorer in program history, Parker scored 189 points and caught 30 touchdown passes in his four seasons with the Rams. A two-time first-team All-CAA selection, he finished with 3,460 career receiving yards, a big reason why Dallas signed him as an undrafted free agent in April.
Murphy started 36 of the 43 games he played for Rhode Island, twice earning first-team All-CAA honors. As a senior, he anchored a line that allowed just 2.17 sacks per game despite averaging a league-high 42 pass attempts per game.
Steinmetz was a three-year starter at right tackle for Rhode Island from 2013-16 before transferring and playing his final season at Purdue. Now in his third year of professional football, Steinmetz originally signed with Washington on Aug. 22 after a tryout. He spent 2018 on the Houston practice squad and was on injured reserve for the Texans all of last season.
Rohrwasser spent 2015 and 2016 as Rhode Island’s kicker. He set the program record for points by kicking in a single game with 14 against Elon in 2016, and his 84 points in just two seasons rank him 10th among all kickers in program history. He transferred to Marshall and spent three years there before being taken 159th overall in this year’s draft by the Patriots. He and veteran kicker Nick Folk were both signed to the team’s practice squad, so it is unclear yet who will be New England’s kicker the opening week of the season.