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FromStateToSundays: Week 17 Update

STARKVILLE – Nineteen former Mississippi State Bulldogs are headed to the NFL Playoffs next week. Nine of those will have a first-round bye as members of the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers.

Week 17 saw a pair of Bulldog debuts as Martinas Rankin played his first game of the season and first in more than a year after being sidelined with an injury in 2019. Carolina’s Tommy Stevens made his NFL debut, running four times for 24 yards on five snaps.

Opposite Stevens, J.T. Gray was New Orleans’ second-highest graded defender, posting career highs in overall grade (89.9) and coverage grade (83.1) according to Pro Football Focus. Gray’s grades both ranked inside the top 20 in the NFL this week.

Elgton Jenkins registered an 80.4 pass blocking grade from PFF, his sixth mark above 80.0 this season. He is one of just 23 offensive linemen to play at least 50 percent of snaps this year with fewer than 15 allowed pressures.

State’s defensive line products landed among the regular-season league leaders. Chris Jones finished fourth in the league with 28 QB hits and ranked seventh in overall defensive grade (90.3) and pass rush grade (93.1) according to PFF. Montez Sweat finished seventh in the league in sack yardage (83.0).

Sweat made two key plays on Sunday night with Washington needing a win to advance to the postseason. He picked up a sack for a loss of 13 yards to go along with his three QB hits and dove to bat a lost snap away from the quarterback in the fourth quarter. That fumble was recovered by Washington, which then kicked a field goal to extend its lead to six points.

Veterans K.J. Wright and Fletcher Cox continue to climb the career record books for their respective franchises. Despite being inactive in Week 17, Cox finished 2020 tied for fifth in Eagles history with 54.5 career sacks. His 140 games played ranks fourth among Philadelphia defensive linemen.

Wright finished the year at 934 career regular-season tackles. That ranks third in Seahawks history, and is just 50 tackles behind the No. 2 mark for the franchise. Wright also led all NFL linebackers with 10 pass defenses this season.

Wild Card Weekend will pit Jeffery Simmons against Pernell McPhee and Tyre Phillips when the Titans and Ravens meet. Denico Autry’s Colts will face the Buffalo Bills. Gray and the Saints take on the Chicago Bears and Wright’s Seahawks meet the Rams. Washington and Sweat claimed the final playoff spot and will meet Tampa Bay in the first round.

JOHNATHAN ABRAM | LAS VEGAS RAIDERS – S | AT MSU: 2017-18
Season: 13 G, 13 GS, 60 TKL, 26 AST, 86 TT, 2 INT, 3.0 TFL, 4 QBH, 5 PD
Last Week: 1 GS, 3 TKL, 1 AST, 4 TT at Denver Broncos (W, 32-31)

DENICO AUTRY | INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – DT/DE | AT MSU: 2012-13
Season: 14 G, 13 GS, 20 TKL, 13 AST, 33 TT, 7.5 SK, 9.0 TFL, 10 QBH
Last Week: 1 GS, 1 AST, 1 TT, 1 QBH vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (W, 28-14)

  • Indianapolis is the No. 7 seed in the AFC and will play Buffalo in the Wild Card round
  • Posted Indianapolis’ second-highest overall defensive grade (85.1) per PFF
  • Added three total pressures

HUNTER BRADLEY | GREEN BAY PACKERS – LS | AT MSU: 2012-17
Season: 16 G, 1 AST
Last Week: 1 G at Chicago Bears (W, 35-16)

  •  Green Bay is the No. 1 seed in the NFC and has earned a first-round bye

FRED BROWN (PS) | DENVER BRONCOS – WR | AT MSU 2010-15
Season: 1G
Last Week: DNP vs. Las Vegas Raiders (L, 31-32)

DEION CALHOUN (PS) | CINCINNATI BENGALS – OG | AT MSU: 2014-18
Season: 1 GS, 1 G, 1 Pressure Allowed
Last Week: DNP vs. Baltimore Ravens (L, 3-38)

TOMMY CHAMPION (PS) | SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – OT | AT MSU: 2017-19
Season: Practice Squad
Last Week: DNP at San Francisco 49ers (W, 26-23)

  • Seattle is the No. 3 seed in the NFC and will play the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card round

BRIAN COLE II (PS) | MIAMI DOLPHINS – S | AT MSU: 2017-19
Season: Practice Squad
Last Week: DNP at Buffalo Bills (L, 26-56)

LOGAN COOKE | JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – P | AT MSU: 2014-17
Season: 14 G, 56 Punts, 2,669 Yds, 47.7 AVG, LONG 67, 19 In-20, 46 KO, 2,782 Yds, 25 TB
Last Week: 
1 G, 7 Punts, 335 Yds, 47.9 AVG, LONG 61, 1 In-20 at Indianapolis Colts (L, 14-28)

  • Punted a season-high seven times with an average hang time of 4.56 seconds

FLETCHER COX | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – DT | AT MSU: 2009-11
Season: 15 G, 15 GS, 28 TKL, 13 AST, 41 TT, 6.5 SK, 9.0 TFL, 9 QBH, 1 PD, 1 FF
Last Week: DNP vs. Washington Football Team (L, 14-20)

  • Finished 2020 tied for fifth in Eagles history with 54.5 sacks and ranks fourth among defensive linemen with 140 games played

CAMERON DANTZLER | MINNESOTA VIKINGS – CB | AT MSU: 2016-19
Season: 11 G, 10 GS, 34 TKL, 10 AST, 44 TT, 2 INT, 3.0 TFL, 3 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR
Last Week: DNP at Detroit Lions (W, 37-35)

WILLIE GAY JR. | KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – LB | AT MSU: 2017-19
Season: 16 G, 8 GS, 29 TKL, 10 AST, 39 TT, 1.0 SK, 3.0 TFL, 1 FF, 1 QBH, 3 PD
Last Week: 1 GS, 1 TKL, 1 TT vs. Los Angeles Chargers (L, 21-38)

  • Kansas City is the No. 1 seed in the AFC and has earned a first-round bye

J.T. GRAY | NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – DB | AT MSU: 2014-17
Season: 16 G, 8 TKL, 8 TT, 2 FR, 1 PD
Last Week: 1 G, 1 TKL, 1 TT, 1 PD at Carolina Panthers (W, 33-7)

  • New Orleans is the No. 2 seed in the NFC and will play Chicago in the Wild Card round
  • Recorded New Orleans’ second-highest overall defensive grade (89.9) including a team-best 83.1 coverage grade
  • Overall grade ranked 13th in the NFL in Week 17 and coverage grade was 19th
  • Both grades were career highs
  • Broke up a pass on third-and-seven in the fourth quarter

FARROD GREEN (PS) | INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – TE | AT MSU: 2015-19
Season: 1 G
Last Week: DNP vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (W, 28-14)

  •  Indianapolis is the No. 7 seed in the AFC and will play Buffalo in the Wild Card round

GERRI GREEN (PS) | LAS VEGAS RAIDERS – LB | AT MSU: 2014-18
Season: Practice Squad
Last Week: DNP at Denver Broncos (W, 32-31)

STEPHEN GUIDRY (IR) | DALLAS COWBOYS – WR | AT MSU: 2018-19
Season: Opted Out
Last Week: DNP at New York Giants (L, 19-23)

BRAXTON HOYETT (PS) | BALTIMORE RAVENS – DT | AT MSU: 2014-18
Season: 1 G
Last Week: DNP at Cincinnati Bengals (W, 38-3)

  • Baltimore is the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will play Tennessee in the Wild Card round

GABE JACKSON | LAS VEGAS RAIDERS – OG | AT MSU 2009-13
Season: 16 G, 16 GS, 1 TKL, 26 Pressures Allowed
Last Week: 1 GS, 2 Pressures Allowed at Denver Broncos (W, 32-31)

ELGTON JENKINS | GREEN BAY PACKERS – OG | AT MSU: 2014-18
Season: 15 G, 15 GS, 76.6 Pass Block Grade, 12 Pressures Allowed
Last Week: 1 GS, 1 Pressure Allowed at Chicago Bears (W, 35-16)

  • Green Bay is the No. 1 seed in the NFC and has earned a first-round bye
  • Registered an 80.4 pass blocking grade from PFF, his sixth mark above 80.0 this season
  • One of 23 offensive linemen to play at least 50 percent of snaps with fewer than 15 allowed pressures

CHRIS JONES | KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – DT | AT MSU: 2013-15
Season: 14 G, 13 GS, 24 TKL, 12 AST, 36 TT, 7.5 SK, 3.0 TFL, 2 FF, 28 QBH, 3 PD
Last Week: 1 G vs. Los Angeles Chargers (L, 21-38)

  • Kansas City is the No. 1 seed in the AFC and has earned a first-round bye
  • Finished fourth in the NFL with 28 QB hits
  • Ranked seventh in the league in overall defensive grade (90.3) and pass rush grade (93.1) per PFF

JAQUARIUS LANDREWS (IR) | NEW YORK GIANTS – S | AT MSU: 2017-19
Season: Injured Reserve
Last Week: DNP vs. Dallas Cowboys (W, 23-19)

BENARDRICK MCKINNEY (IR) | HOUSTON TEXANS – LB | AT MSU: 2011-14
Season: 4 G, 4 GS, 21 TKL, 17 AST, 38 TT, 1.0 TFL, 1 PD
Last Week: DNP vs. Tennessee Titans (L, 38-41)

PERNELL MCPHEE | BALTIMORE RAVENS – LB | AT MSU: 2009-10
Season: 15 G, 13 GS, 26 TKL, 8 AST, 34 TT, 3.0 SK, 3.0 TFL, 15 QBH, 1 PD
Last Week: 1 GS, 1 QBH at Cincinnati Bengals (W, 38-3)

  • Baltimore is the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will play Tennessee in the Wild Card round

TYRE PHILLIPS | BALTIMORE RAVENS – OT | AT MSU: 2017-19
Season: 11 G, 8 GS, 1 FR, 14 Pressures Allowed
Last Week: 1 G, 0 Pressures Allowed at Cincinnati Bengals (W, 38-3)

  • Baltimore is the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will play Tennessee in the Wild Card round
  • Did not allow a pressure for the third straight game and fifth time this season

DAK PRESCOTT (IR) | DALLAS COWBOYS – QB | AT MSU: 2011-2015
Season: 5 G, 5 GS, 151-222, 1,856 YDS, 9 TD, 99.6 QBR, 18 RUSH, 93 YDS, 3 TD
Last Week: DNP at New York Giants (L, 19-23)

MARTINAS RANKIN | KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – OT | AT MSU: 2015-17
Season: 1 G, 1 GS, 1 Pressure Allowed
Last Week: 1 GS, 1 Pressure Allowed vs. Los Angeles Chargers (L, 21-38)

  • Kansas City is the No. 1 seed in the AFC and has earned a first-round bye
  • Started in his first NFL action in over year after being sidelined by an injury on Nov. 10, 2019

WILL REDMOND | GREEN BAY PACKERS – S | AT MSU: 2012-15
Season: 13 G, 1 GS, 21 TKL, 7 AST, 28 TT, 2 QBH, 1 PD
Last Week: 1 G, 2 TKL, 2 TT at Chicago Bears (W, 35-16)

  • Green Bay is the No. 1 seed in the NFC and has earned a first-round bye

CHAUNCEY RIVERS (PS) | BALTIMORE RAVENS – OT | AT MSU: 2017-19
Season: Practice Squad

Last Week: DNP at Cincinnati Bengals (W, 38-3)

  • Baltimore is the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will play Tennessee in the Wild Card round

JEFFERY SIMMONS | TENNESSEE TITANS – DL | AT MSU: 2016-18
Season: 15 G, 15 GS, 25 TKL, 24 AST, 49 TT, 3.0 SK, 3.0 TFL, 13 QBH, 1 FF, 3 FR, 5 PD
Last Week: 
1 GS, 1 QBH at Houston Texans (W, 41-38)

  • Tennessee is the No. 4 seed in the AFC and will play Baltimore in the Wild Card round
  • Totaled four pressures

DARIUS SLAY | PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – CB | AT MSU: 2011-12
Season: 15 G, 14 GS, 53 TKL, 6 AST, 59 TT, 1 INT, 2.0 TFL, 6 PD
Last Week: 1 GS, 1 TKL, 1 AST, 2 TT vs. Washington Football Team (L, 14-20)

PRESTON SMITH | GREEN BAY PACKERS – LB | AT MSU: 2011-14
Season: 16 G, 13 GS, 29 TKL, 12 AST, 41 TT, 4.0 SK, 7.0 TFL, 11 QBH, 3 PD, 1 FR, 1 TD
Last Week: 1 GS, 1 QBH at Chicago Bears (W, 35-16)

  • Green Bay is the No. 1 seed in the NFC and has earned a first-round bye

TOMMY STEVENS | CAROLINA PANTHERS – WR | AT MSU: 2017-19
Season: 1 G, 4 RUSH, 24 YDS
Last Week: 1 G, 4 RUSH, 24 YDS vs. New Orleans Saints (L, 7-33)

  • Made his NFL debut and played five snaps
  • Carried four times gaining positive yardage on each run
  • Posted a long of 10 yards on second-and-four in the fourth quarter

MONTEZ SWEAT | WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM – DE | AT MSU: 2017-18
Season:  16 G, 16 GS, 28 TKL, 17 AST, 45 TT, 9.0 SK, 12.0 TFL, 20 QBH, 6 PD, 1 INT, 2 FF, 1 TD
Last Week: 1 GS, 4 TKL, 1 AST, 5 TT, 1.0 SK, 1.0 TFL, 3 QBH at Philadelphia Eagles (W, 20-14)

  • Washington is the No. 4 seed in the NFC and will play Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round
  • Overall defensive grade of 85.8 was Washington’s second-highest
  • Dove to bat a loose snap away from the quarterback, leading to a Washington recovery and eventual field goal to build a six-point lead
  • Picked up a sack for a loss of 13 yards and added three QB hits
  • Totaled seven pressures
  • Finished seventh in the league in sack yardage (83.0)

DARRYL WILLIAMS (PS) | KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – OT | AT MSU: 2015-19
Season: Practice Squad
Last Week: DNP vs. Los Angeles Chargers (L, 21-38)

  • Kansas City is the No. 1 seed in the AFC and has earned a first-round bye

K.J. WRIGHT | SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – LB | AT MSU: 2007-10
Season: 16 G, 16 GS, 61 TKL, 25 AST, 86 TT, 2.0 SK, 11.0 TFL, 3 QBH, 1 INT, 10 PD, 1 FF, 2 FR
Last Week: 1 GS, 3 TKL, 3 TT, 1.0 TFL at San Francisco 49ers (W, 26-23)

  • Seattle is the No. 3 seed in the NFC and will play the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card round
  • Finished 2020 with 934 career tackles in the regular season, which ranks third in Seattle franchise history and is just 50 tackles away from Eugene Robinson’s second-place mark (984, 1985-95)
  • Led all linebackers in the NFL in the regular season with 10 pass defenses

ISAIAH ZUBER (PS) | NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – WR | AT MSU: 2019
Season: 4 G, 2 REC, 29 YDS, 2 RUSH, 21 YDS
Last Week: DNP vs. New York Jets (W, 28-14)