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Terps in the NFL: J.C. Jackson shines in season opener

Here’s how former Terps performed in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NFL season is officially underway and several former Maryland football players took the gridiron for the new campaign.

Twelve of the 18 former Terps in the NFL made their initial active rosters, but not many played a large impact in the opening games of the new season.

New England Patriots cornerback JC Jackson was the clear stand out of the group, sealing the team’s win over the Dolphins with an interception late in the fourth quarter.

The third-year defensive back had a great sophomore season in the NFL, and he picked up this season right where he left off. Jackson did it all on defense this week, finishing with an interception, a fumble recovery, two pass deflections and two tackles.

New England’s secondary proved to be one of the best in the league last season and Jackson had plenty to do with that, as he’s led the league in passer rating against over the last three years.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs made his debut for the Buffalo Bills against the New York Jets Sunday. While he didn’t find the end zone, he still led the Bills in receptions and receiving yards, grabbing eight catches for 86 yards.

Expect Diggs to solidify himself as the clear top target for quarterback Josh Allen as the season progresses and the duo builds more on-field chemistry together.

Other Performers

  • Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage began his second NFL season with a solid performance against NFC North rival Minnesota. The former first round pick finished with three solo tackles and five total tackles as the Packers grabbed a win to start the year.
  • Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore struggled a little in his first game with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He finished with four catches for 54 yards in a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Now in his third year in the league, Moore hasn’t had a lot of consistency at quarterback. Bridgewater is the fifth signal caller to start for Carolina during Moore’s career (Cam Newton, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Will Grier).
  • Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, like Diggs, made his debut for a new team after a trade since last season. The new Minnesota Viking recorded one quarterback hit on Aaron Rodgers as his only statistic in a loss. Ngakoue finally found a new home after several months of trade rumors and trouble with the Jacksonville front office. He’ll look to bounce back in week two against the Colts.
  • Quinton Jefferson signed with the Bills in the offseason, leaving the Seattle Seahawks. The defensive end started his first game in Buffalo, but only recorded one tackle.
  • Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart finished with two tackles in the win over Miami. With several players opting out of the season on the Patriots defense, Cowart might see more opportunities in his sophomore season.
  • Last season, Josh Woods did not see much time on the Chicago Bears defense, but he was active in the season opener against the Lions. While he was not on the field for long, he did record one tackle.
  • Both Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter and Lions running back Ty Johnson did not register a stat on Sunday. Johnson begins his second season in the league but the Lions have some added depth in front of him in the running backs room after keeping Kerryon Johnson, drafting DeAndre Swift and signing future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson. Johnson will have some tough competition in getting meaningful snaps.
  • Safety Sean Davis recently signed back with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and while he was active on Monday Night Football against the Giants, he didn’t register a stat. Davis is behind two of the the best safeties in the NFL, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds, on the depth chart.
  • Lastly, rookie fourth round draft pick running back Anthony McFarland Jr. was a healthy scratch for the Steelers. McFarland could see some snaps next week as lead back James Conner left Monday’s game with injury and the rest of the backfield pretty much split carriers.