Through the midpoint of the NFL season, two Maryland products have continued to prove themselves among the best at their positions.
First and foremost is Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who is again putting together an All-Pro resume.
Diggs had his worst outing of the season Monday night, recording just three receptions for 34 yards. Despite this, he’s been one of the most targeted receivers in the league. He is tied for second among wide receivers in touchdowns, ranks third in receptions and is fifth in receiving yards.
Chicago Bears wide receiver D.J. Moore has also had a very consistent season, racking up 58 yards on five receptions on Thursday. Since the first week of the season, Moore has had at least 40 receiving yards in every game and ranks top-10 in the league in receiving yards.
Elsewhere on the Bears, edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue registered three total pressures including a sack against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.
Ngakoue has registered a pressure in all but one game this season and has three sacks on the year. The eight-year veteran has had an odd season statistically, with many more pressures than would be expected. His win rate of 4.6% is fifth=worst among edge rushers with a minimum of 150 snaps, but Ngakoue ranks in the top half in the league in pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, New York Jets defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson hasn’t generated many pressures this season, but has made up for it with sacks. Jefferson is tied for third in sacks among defensive tackles (6), but is tied for 37th at the position in pressures. Against the Las Vegas Raiders this week, Jefferson had one quarterback hit but no registered tackles in a loss.
Tennessee Titans tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo has been underwhelming after a promising rookie year. It took him nine games for him to crack the 200 receiving yards threshold. He recently hauled in three receptions for 27 yards in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Okonkwo is on pace to finish with 378 receiving yards, which would be well below his rookie yardage of 450. He has been targeted 41 times this year, only five fewer than his season total in 2022.
Maryland’s three cornerbacks in the NFL have all been struggling this year, but most surprising is New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks.
Banks has struggled against top wideouts Terry McLaurin, Garrett Wilson, Davante Adams and CeeDee Lamb, surrendering at least 85 yards in each of the past four weeks, according to PFF. On Sunday, he surrendered 87 yards on five receptions and six targets in a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Banks has shown flashes of excellence but has left a lot to desire in the second half of his rookie campaign.
Of 103 cornerbacks with at least 150 coverage snaps, Banks’ PFF coverage grade ranks 99th. Raiders cornerback Jakorian Bennett ranks 100th and Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson ranks 102nd.
Patriots kicker Chad Ryland has overcome a rough start to the season. On Sunday, despite snapping a streak of 14 consecutive made kicks, Ryland made two field goals. He has made 12 of 17 field goal attempts and is perfect on extra points.
- Arizona Cardinals linebacker Josh Woods made three total tackles — including a run stop — in an upset win over the Atlanta Falcons.
- Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. fielded three kick returns for 73 yards in a win against the Green Bay Packers.
- Steelers offensive lineman Spencer Anderson did not play against the Packers.
- Bills running back Ty Johnson had one rush attempt for two yards in a loss to the Broncos.
- Buccaneers wide receiver Rakim Jarrett played 28 snaps in a win against the Titans.
- Titans offensive lineman Jaelyn Duncan had three snaps in a loss to the Buccaneers.
- Indianapolis Colts safety Nick Cross had 16 snaps in a win over the Patriots.
- Packers safety Darnell Savage and Cleveland Browns guard Michael Dunn are both still on injured reserve.
- Seahawks tight end Tyler Mabry remained on the practice squad. Defensive end Byron Cowart and running back Jake Funk are on the Dolphins practice squad.