Ross Cockrell's Pittsburgh Steelers made it all the way to the AFC championship before struggling ...

Duke in the NFL: Postseason edition

With the Super Bowl approaching and only two teams left, there are no Blue Devils playing in the final game of the season. Here’s how the final pair of Duke alumni fared in the playoffs.

Ross Cockrell, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Cockrell’s Steelers entered the playoffs on a roll, having won seven straight contests before steamrolling the Miami Dolphins 30-12 in the wild-card round. Cockrell turned in arguably his strongest performance of the year against Miami, registering eight tackles despite leaving the game briefly while being evaluated for a concussion.

A week later, Cockrell led the team with six tackles, including one for a loss, in an 18-16 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs to advance to the AFC championship. But in his final game, Cockrell was a nonfactor in a 36-17 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday, making only three tackles as the Steelers’ secondary surrendered 374 yards in the air to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

But Cockrell made the majority of his headlines off the field, as he was on the receiving end of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter of their divisional playoff game Jan. 15. Kelce was later fined $9,115 for his hit and also went on a rant about referee Carl Cheffers for a key holding penalty late in the contest.

Laken Tomlinson, LG, Detroit Lions

Despite stumbling through the gates to finish off the regular season, the Lions held on to the No. 6 seed and faced the third-seeded Seattle Seahawks, who dominated the second half en route to an easy 26-6 victory Jan. 7.

With offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Travis Swanson ruled out with injuries, Tomlinson started at left guard, but as a whole, the unit struggled to open holes for running back Zach Zenner, who managed only 34 yards on 11 carries.

Next season will be an interesting one for the former first-round pick, as starting tackle Larry Warford is a pending free agent, with Tomlinson potentially poised to slide over if Detroit opts to let Warford test the market.

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