K-State in the NFL - Week 15

Daniel Thomas

Dec. 20, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Each week throughout the 2011 season, k-statesports.com will highlight former Kansas State football players currently in the NFL.

Brandon Banks, WR/Kick Returner – Washington Redskins
The regular kick-return specialist for the Washington Redskins, Banks returned one kickoff for 20 yards in the Redskins’ 23-10 win at the New York Giants on Sunday. In 14 games this year, Banks has returned 46 kickoffs for a 22.6-yard average and a long of 47, while he has taken back 31 punts for a 10.2-yard average and a long of 55. Banks leads the league in total kickoff return yardage with 1,041 yards, while his punt-return average is eighth in the league among players with 30 or more returns. Washington is 5-9 this season.

Rock Cartwright, RB – Oakland Raiders
Cartwright, a multi-dimensional player for the Oakland Raiders and a 10th-year veteran, returned one kickoff for 14 yards in the Raiders’ 28-27 loss to Detroit on Sunday. Cartwright has 12 special teams tackles and three carries for 44 yards in 14 games this season, and he took a yard fake punt 35 yards for a first down in week five at Houston. The Raiders are tied for second in the AFC West at 7-7, one game behind Denver.

Jeromey Clary, OL – San Diego Chargers
A starter at right tackle in all 14 games this season, Clary made his 62nd career start for San Diego on Sunday as the Chargers defeated Baltimore, 34-14. Clary helped San Diego gain 415 yards, including 145 on the ground. The Chargers are now tied for second in the AFC West at 7-7.

Zac Diles, LB – Indianapolis Colts
Diles recorded a pair of special teams tackles for Indianapolis in the Colts’ 27-13 win over Tennessee on Sunday – their first victory of the season. Diles, who had spent the first 12 weeks as a backup linebacker for Tampa Bay, was picked up off waivers by Indianapolis three weeks ago and now has three total tackles this season.

Josh Freeman, QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman made his second straight start coming off injury on Saturday night in Tampa Bay’s 31-15 loss at home to Dallas. The quarterback was 17-of-27 for 148 yards and one touchdown through the air, while he rushed four times for 37 yards. In 13 games this year, Freeman is 287-of-468 (61.3-percent) for 3,044 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has also rushed 46 times for 220 yards and three scores. Tampa Bay is now 4-10 this year.
Video Highlights: 25-yd run  |  13-yd TD pass

Rob Jackson, LB – Washington Redskins
Jackson, a backup linebacker and special teams player for Washington, played in the Redskins’ 23-10 win at the New York Giants on Sunday. In 14 games this season, Jackson has collected seven tackles for Washington, which is 5-9.

Ryan Lilja, OL – Kansas City Chiefs
Lilja, a 13-game starter this season, helped Kansas City knock off the last unbeaten team in the NFL this season when he started at left guard in the Chiefs’ 19-14 win over Green Bay on Sunday. He helped Kansas City 438 yards, including 139 on the ground. The Chiefs are now 6-8 this season.

Jeron Mastrud, TE – Miami Dolphins
Mastrud, a backup tight end and special teams player, was inactive for Miami’s 30-23 win on Sunday at Buffalo. In 13 games this year, Mastrud has one catch for seven yards for the Dolphins, who are 5-9.

Jon McGraw, S – Kansas City Chiefs
McGraw, a nine-game starter for Kansas City this season, was inactive for the Chiefs’ 19-14 victory over the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers on Sunday. In 10 games this year, McGraw has 47 tackles, three interceptions and six passes defended for the Chiefs, who are 6-8.

Jordy Nelson, WR – Green Bay Packers
Nelson started and caught two passes for 29 yards in Green Bay’s 19-14 loss at Kansas City on Sunday, the Packers’ first loss of the season. In his fourth year, Nelson has 53 receptions for 986 yards and 10 scores – all career highs. He is third in the NFL (second among wide receivers) in touchdowns, and is tops in the league in average per catch among players with 40 or more receptions (18.6). Also, his 93-yard touchdown reception against St. Louis in week six remains the third-longest in the league this year. The Packers, who have clinched the NFC North title, are 13-1.

Terence Newman, CB – Dallas Cowboys
Newman made his 12th start of the year for Dallas and came away with three tackles in the Cowboys’ 31-15 win at Tampa Bay Saturday night. Newman, who has 32 career interceptions to tie for seventh in Cowboy history, has 43 tackles this season to go along with eight passes defended and four picks. He is tied for eighth in the league in interceptions. The Cowboys lead the NFC East by one game over the New York Giants with an 8-6 record.

Darren Sproles, RB/Returner – New Orleans Saints
Sproles was again a major part of New Orleans’ offense and special teams as the Saints won at Minnesota, 42-20, on Sunday. The dynamic player caught five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown, while he rushed eight times for 33 yards. On special teams, Sproles returned three punts for 45 yards and brought back three kickoffs for a 25-yard average. A former draft pick by San Diego, Sproles leads the NFL with 2,292 all-purpose yards this season and needs to average 200 all-purpose yards over the final two games to break the NFL record. Sproles has made his biggest impact on the receiving end as he has accumulated 659 receiving yards on 79 receptions (8.3 yards per catch). He also has eight total touchdowns, coming on five pass receptions, two rushes and a punt return. Sproles is fifth in the league (first among running backs) in receptions, while his 26.1-yard kickoff-return average is fourth in the league among players with 30 or more returns. The Saints lead the NFC South by two games over Atlanta with an 11-3 record.
Video Highlights: 13-yd TD reception  |  39-yd reception

Daniel Thomas, RB – Miami Dolphins
Miami’s primary backup running back, Thomas rushed 11 times for 42 yards in the Dolphins’ 30-23 victory at Buffalo on Sunday. In 11 games during his rookie campaign, Thomas has rushed for 550 rushing yards on 151 carries, while he has caught 10 passes for 60 yards and one touchdown. Miami is tied for third in the AFC East with a 5-9 mark.
Video Highlight: 28-yd run

Reggie Walker, LB – Arizona Cardinals
Walker, a backup linebacker and special teams player for Arizona, played in Arizona’s 20-17 home victory over Cleveland on Sunday. In 14 games this season, Walker has 12 tackles for the Cardinals, who are tied for second in the NFC West at 7-7.

Video Highlights from NFL.com