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Duke in the NFL: Ross Cockrell, Vincent Rey finish the season on a high note

Cockrell wrapped up a solid season with New York on a high note.
Cockrell wrapped up a solid season with New York on a high note.

With the NFL playoffs set to begin Saturday, no former Blue Devils will find themselves in the postseason, but a few had strong performances to close the season: 

Vincent Rey, LB, Cincinnati Bengals

Despite missing some time this season with injuries, Rey tied for first for Cincinnati in tackles with 85, his fourth consecutive season with 85 or more tackles. Although his Bengals didn't make the playoffs, he ended the year on a high note, racking up 10 tackles to help eliminate Baltimore from playoff contention in a 31-27 win. 

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington

After finishing his first two NFL seasons third on Washington’s receiving charts, Crowder overcame a slow start to lead Washington in receiving. Despite averaging under 25 yards per game in his first contests, Crowder was able to double that average by the season’s close and finished the year with 12.0 yards per reception and three scores. He closed the year with three catches for 25 yards against the Giants Dec. 31, but found the end zone in the two previous weeks. Now, with Kirk Cousins entering free agency, Crowder hopes his quarterback will return.  

Ross Cockrell, CB, New York Giants

Despite some memorably bad moments, including getting flagged for two huge penalties and allowing Washington to score a game-winning touchdown in November, but the advanced metrics say he finished the year as an above-average cornerback. Pro Football Focus gave Cockrell a 81.6 overall grade for the season, making him the No. 41-ranked corner in the league, a mark that PFF dubs "above average." He ended the season on a strong note, picking up a 91.6 overall grade in a win against Washington in which he got redemption of sorts.  

Laken Tomlinson, OG, San Francisco 49ers

Tomlinson earned 15 starts for San Francisco after coming to the Bay in a trade from Detroit in August. Pro Football Focus gave the third-year pro a 70.7 overall grade for the season, making him an "average" guard. 

Max McCaffrey, WR, San Francisco 49ers

McCaffrey signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers in December off the Packers’ practice squad, but never saw the field this season for his new team. He recorded his first NFL reception for the Jaguars Oct. 8 in a 30-9 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo under center, San Francisco heads into 2018 with optimism after it ripped off five straight wins to end the season.  

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