Nick Cross recorded his first career NFL interception on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, rising from a backup role to a key contributor in the Colts’ secondary.
Nick Cross’ first career pick!! pic.twitter.com/RGws3thmqb— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) December 16, 2023
Cross saw approximately 20 total snaps per game for 11 weeks this season. But since week 13, he has been on the field far more often, seeing better results. Cross also had three tackles and a pass breakup against the Steelers, earning the former third-round pick a 91.5 defensive grade from Pro Football Focus.
New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks has seen a lot of success in his first year in the NFL, ranking fourth in NFL’s Next Gen Stats receptions allowed over expected metric since 2018.
Deonte Banks and Devon Witherspoon both rank in the top 5 of receptions allowed over expected among rookies since 2018.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 15, 2023
No outside cornerback has allowed fewer receptions over expected than Banks (-6.6) or Witherspoon (-6.3) this season.#NYGiants | #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/LQSh26GDo8
On the flip side, two Maryland rookies have struggled mightily.
New England Patriots kicker Chad Ryland continues to struggle, missing his seventh kick of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ryland was drafted in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but since getting to the league, he’s struggled to make kicks at a consistent rate. He ranks second-to-last in the NFL in field goal percentage.
Tennessee Titans rookie lineman Jaelyn Duncan has also been inconsistent. His eight pressures allowed was tied for worst among offensive lineman this past week, and he was graded by PFF as one of the worst pass blockers of the week. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has stated his confidence in Duncan’s progression, though.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has cooled down in recent weeks, but continues to make highlight plays.
ONE HANDED CATCH FOR STEFON DIGGS! ARE YOU SERIOUS!? pic.twitter.com/EDJMKxSNe9— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 17, 2023
Diggs had four receptions for 48 yards in a win over the Dallas Cowboys despite seeing only five targets — mainly due to the Bills only passing 15 times. Diggs had 520 yards in his first five games of the season, but has produced only 207 over the past five games.
- Chicago Bears wide receiver D.J. Moore had four receptions for 52 yards.
- Titans tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo had three receptions for 36 yards.
- Arizona Cardinals linebacker Josh Woods had five total tackles, including a quarterback hit.
- Bills running back Ty Johnson had nine rush attempts for 54 yards, along with a four-yard reception.
- Browns guard Michael Dunn saw 63 snaps and allowed only two pressures.
- Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Jakorian Bennett played nearly half of available snaps.
- New York Jets defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson saw only 12 snaps due to a mid-game hip injury.
- Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage was inactive.
- Bears edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue was placed on injured reserve.
- Buccaneers wide receiver Rakim Jarrett remained on injured reserve.
- Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. did not play.
- Steelers guard Spencer Anderson saw two snaps.
- Running back Jake Funk was signed to the Baltimore Ravens practice squad.
- Tyler Mabry (Seahawks), Byron Cowart (Dolphins) and Durell Nchami (Broncos) remained on practice squads.