Durham, NC – With the 2020 National Football League regular season completed, here is a season recap of the 10 former Duke lettermen currently on league organization rosters.
Four former Blue Devils will be participating in the NFL playoffs, headlined by Lucas Patrick and Breon Borders, who both clinched their respective division titles. Patrick and the Green Bay Packers are a No. 1 seed after claiming the NFC North and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Borders and the Tennessee Titans secured the AFC South title and will be the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Ross Cockrell (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Matt Skura (Baltimore Ravens) also slid into the playoffs thanks to a wildcard spot. Both the Buccaneers and Ravens will be the No. 5 seed in the NFC and AFC division playoffs, respectively.
Duke in the NFL
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
In his second season with the Giants, Jones played in and started 14 games as New York finished 6-10 and in second place in the NFC East Division. He completed 280-of-448 (.625) pass attempts for 2,943 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while rushing 65 times for 423 yards (6.51) and one touchdown.
Jones ranked fifth among NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards behind Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (1,005), Arizona’s Kyler Murray (819), New England’s Cam Newton (592), New Orleans’ Taysom Hill (457) and Houston’s Deshaun Watson (444). In addition, Jones’ 423 rushing yards marked the highest single-season total by a Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl Era, eclipsing the previous record set by Fran Tarkenton in 1967 (306).
Breon Borders, CB, Tennessee Titans
In six games, five starts, with the Titans, Borders helped Tennessee secure the AFC South division title and the No. 4 seed in the upcoming playoffs. This season he compiled 27 tackles, five passes defended and one interception.
He registered his first career interception during Week 12 against the Indianapolis Colts. Borders suffered a hip injury the following week versus the Cleveland Browns and was been placed on the injured reserve list.
Ross Cockrell, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In his first year with Tampa Bay, Cockrell played in 12 games, making two starts. He recorded 11 tackles, one tackle for loss, one QB pressure, and one pass defended. Cockrell registered a season high four tackles in a 27-24 loss to Kansas City on Nov. 29.
His lone TFL came against the Rams during Week 11, while his one pass defended was versus Atlanta last week during the Bucs’ regular season finale.
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
In his second season with the Jets, Crowder played in 12 games, making seven starts. He registered 59 receptions for 699 yards with six touchdowns, whichleads the team in all three categories. Crowder averaged 11.9 yards per reception and 58.3 receiving yards per game as well. Against Arizona on Oct. 11, Crowder earned a season high eight receptions for 116 yards with one touchdown, while versus the Raiders on Dec. 6, he recorded a two-touchdown performance.
In the Jets’ 23-16 win over the Browns, Crowder caught seven passes for 92 yards including a 30-yard touchdown reception, rushed once for 14 yards and threw a 43-yard scoring strike to fellow wide receiver Braxton Berrios to become just the fourth NFL player since 1948 to amass 90-plus receiving yards, 40-plus passing yards and 10-plus rushing yards in a game, according to 360.sportradar.com. In addition, Crowder became the 21st player in the National Football League since 1950 to have 30-plus passing and receiving yards as well as one or more passing touchdown and receiving score in a single game per stathead.com.
Overall in 2020, Crowder recorded at least two receptions in 11 of his 12 games and had five-plus catches in seven contests. On the year, he caught 66.3 percent of the throws targeted to him, while earning 50-plus receiving yards in five games and 100-plus yards in three contests.
Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Giles-Harris saw action in nine games for the Jaguars in 2020, making three starts. He recorded 18 tackles and one sack during that time. In his first career start against Minnesota during Week 13, Giles-Harris tallied a season high five tackles. The following week he posted four tackles, including his first career sack.
Giles-Harris was activated from the Jaguars’ practice squad on Nov. 7 and currently wrapped up his second season in Jacksonville.
Daniel Helm, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Helm spent much of 2020 on the 49ers practice squad but did manage to see action in five games, mostly on special teams. Against Dallas on Dec. 20, he did see a season high 31 snaps, including 21 on the offensive side of the ball.
Thomas Hennessy, LS, New York Jets
Hennessy handled the long snapping duties in all 16 games for the Jets for the fourth consecutive season. He compiled five tackles on special teams and was on the field for 137 total snaps.
Lucas Patrick, G, Green Bay Packers
Now in his fourth year with the Packers, Patrick played in all 16 games, making 15 starts, as Green Bay captured the NFC North championship and the No. 1 seed for the NFC playoffs. Patrick registered a season-high 79 snaps in the Packers’ 42-21 victory over Detroit on Sept. 20.
He helped protect QB Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 4,299 yards and an NFL high 48 TDs against just five INTs, while opening holes for RB Aaron Jones, who gained 1,104 yards on the ground with nine TDs. Patrick also blocked for a Green Bay offense that ranked among the NFL leaders in points per game (1st; 31.8), total yards per game (5th; 389.0), rushing yards per game (8th; 132.4), and passing yards per game (9th; 256.6).
Matt Skura, C, Baltimore Ravens
Skura saw action in 15 games, making 12 starts, as the Ravens’ center. He helped Baltimore to an 11-5 record and a spot in the AFC playoffs as a wildcard. He was also on the field for 742 total snaps, including a season high 86 in a 28-24 loss to Pittsburgh.
Skura helped block for the NFL’s No. 1 rushing attack (191.9 ypg), which produced the third most yards (3,071) ever in a 16-game NFL season. In addition, he helped Baltimore to a franchise record 24 rushing touchdowns (third in NFL) and the seventh best scoring offense in the league (29.3 ppg).
He protected QB Lamar Jackson, who completed 20-of-25 (80 percent) passes for 275 yards and three TDs, producing a 152.1 passer rating in the season-opening win versus Cleveland. Skura also helped Jackson record his seventh career 100-yard rushing game against Philadelphia when he blocked for an offense that produced 182 rushing yards on 37 carries.
Laken Tomlinson, OG, San Francisco 49ers
Tomlinson started all 16 games at left offensive guard for the fourth straight season. He was on the field for 1,161 total snaps, including a season high 89 against Dallas on Dec. 20.
He helped the 49ers rush for 122 yards on 37 carries and did not allow a sack on 33 pass attempts by QB Jimmy Garoppolo against the Rams. Tomlinson was also part of an offensive line that did not allow a sack as QB Nick Mullens threw for 316 yards on 39 pass attempts versus Buffalo.