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How Maryland football alumni fared in the NFL in 2018

The dozen Terps in the league were a productive bunch this season.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL regular season concluded Sunday, with Maryland alumnus Frank Reich’s Indianapolis Colts clinching the final playoff spot. The first-year head coach guided his team to a 10-6 record, as the Colts won nine of their last 10 games after starting 1-5.

Twelve former Terps saw the field this season, with several playing well above the expectations placed on them. Below is a synopsis of each player’s 2018 campaign.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

After leading his team to the NFC championship game last season, the 25-year-old wide receiver starred again in his fourth year with the Vikings. Diggs played in 15 games this season, starting 14. He finished the campaign with 102 receptions, 1,021 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. Diggs also added 10 rushing attempts for a total of 62 rushing yards. Although he produced as the No. 2 wideout in Minnesota behind Adam Thielen, Diggs still had a phenomenal year. He averaged a total of 69.6 yards per game, and he tallied just three drops and no fumbles. Diggs and the Vikings fell from the playoff picture with a loss to Chicago and a Philadelphia win Sunday.

DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

The first-round pick met the high expectations that were placed on him, finishing the year as the second-leading receiver in Carolina. He had 55 receptions for a total of 788 yards, averaging 14.3 yards per catch. He also found the end zone twice. Moore added 13 rushing attempts for 172 rushing yards, which was good for third-most on the Panthers. The rookie also returned six kickoffs and five punts, and played in all 16 games this season.

Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars’ defense was one of the best in the NFL last season, allowing them to reach the AFC title game. Although the unit struggled heavily this season, Ngakoue, at 23 years old, was a steady presence who started all 16 games. He finished with 9.5 sacks, 28 combined tackles (25 solo, 3 assist) and a pass deflection. All these numbers are down slightly from last year, though, and Ngakoue didn’t force any fumbles after forcing 10 in his first two years.

JC Jackson, CB, New England Patriots

The undrafted rookie became a pillar of the Patriots’ secondary this year. He was behind Jason McCourty on the depth chart to start the season, but came into his own and made the most of all of his opportunities. Jackson played in 13 games, starting five. He totaled 24 combined tackles (22 solo, 2 assist), and also had three interceptions and six pass deflections. His interceptions came off of quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill, Mitchell Trubisky and Josh Allen. The Patriots went 11-5 and finished as the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

Sean Davis, S, Pittsburgh Steelers

In his third NFL season, Davis started 15 contests for the Steelers. He had 59 solo tackles and 21 assisted tackles for a total of 80 combined tackles in 2018. He did not register a sack, but he did tally seven pass deflections and one interception, which he returned 27 yards. Davis had a decent season, but did not match his totals from 2017, where he had 92 tackles with three takeaways.

Quinton Jefferson, DE, Seattle Seahawks

In his third season, Jefferson competed in all 16 games for Seattle, starting 12 of them. He had 15 solo tackles and 10 assisted tackles for a combined total of 25. Jefferson also tallied three sacks and two pass deflections. He served as the second left defensive tackle on the depth chart behind Shamar Stephen in 2018.

Vernon Davis, TE, Washington Redskins

The 34-year-old tight end was second on the Redskins’ depth chart behind Jordan Reed, but managed to put up respectable statistics. Davis saw the field in 14 games, starting eight of them, in his 13th NFL season. He totaled 25 receptions for 367 yards for an average of 14.68 yards/catch. Davis also scored two touchdowns this season, including a 53-yarder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Torrey Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

The 29-year-old wide receiver was only able to play in 11 games this season due to a lingering injury that kept him out of games from Weeks 8-11 and Week 15. Smith was third on the Panthers’ wide receiver depth chart this year. He had 17 receptions for 190 yards, averaging 11.2 yards per catch. He also found the end zone twice in 2018. His longest play was a 35-yard catch-and-run in Week 7 against Philadelphia.

Jermaine Carter Jr., LB, Carolina Panthers

The rookie linebacker played in all 16 contests this season for the Panthers. Carter started one game but served as a solid option at left outside linebacker for Carolina. Carter had seven solo tackles and six assisted tackles for a combined total of 13. He did not have a pass deflection or a takeaway this season. Carter looks to take on a more important role in 2019 and beyond with Thomas Davis’ career potentially coming to an end.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

The 31-year-old wide receiver completed his 10th NFL season in 2018. He had one reception for nine yards, along with one rushing attempt for negative seven yards in 14 games. Hayward-Bey served a very important role on special teams as a part of the punt coverage unit for the Steelers.

Darius Kilgo, DT, Tennessee Titans

Kilgo didn’t start the season on the 53-man roster, but was added midseason and played in 10 games. He had four solo tackles and one assisted tackle for five combined tackles. Kilgo has been in the league for four years and the Titans were his fifth team. He was drafted by the Broncos and won a Super Bowl in 2015, but was released the following season. After short stints with the Patriots, Jaguars and Texans, he found a spot on Tennessee’s roster.

Trey Edmunds, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Edmunds was able to find a spot on the Steelers’ 53-man roster with the absence of running back Le’Veon Bell. With Bell sitting out the season, the Steelers promoted Edmunds from the practice squad. Edmunds appeared in four games this season but did not register any statistics. Last season, he played in all 16 games for the New Orleans Saints, primarily on special teams.

With the Steelers and Vikings narrowly missing the playoffs and the Panthers and Jaguars turning in disappointing seasons, Maryland won’t be well represented in the playoffs. But Jackson’s Patriots and Jefferson’s Seahawks are still alive, and Reich’s Colts will visit the Texans in the first game of the postseason on Saturday.