It’s that time of year again. The NFL Playoffs kick off this weekend and seven of the 12 playoff teams have a Husky in their ranks, with four of the seven Huskies playing a major role.
Cornerback Byron Jones and fullback Anthony Sherman were both selected for the Pro Bowl, representing the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively. Both are division winners, with the Chiefs claiming the #1 seed in the AFC, Jones and Sherman have represented the Huskies well this season.
In fact, before this year, UConn had never had a former player make it to the Pro Bowl. For Jones, it was his first season playing full-time cornerback in the NFL; a remarkable detail considering his dominance.
For Sherman, the 2018-19 season marked a climb back to the top of his game. His talent had been recognized before, earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2014. But this was his first Pro Bowl bid, guiding the dynamic run game of the Chiefs and providing a safety-blanket receiving option for second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Meanwhile, two more Huskies will play critical starting roles for their respective playoff squads. Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen has started all but two games with the Seattle Seahawks, combining for 25 tackles and two sacks.
Tight end Ryan Griffin finished an up and down year with 24 receptions on 43 targets; good for 305 yards. He remains the starting tight end despite a pair of rookies breathing down his neck in Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas.
Still, Griffin has plenty of room for improvement as he looks for his first touchdown of the season.
Geremy Davis, Nick Williams and Obi Melifonwu make up the rest of the Huskies on postseason rosters. Davis has been relegated to special team duties with the LA Chargers, while the newly acquired Obi Melifonwu has yet to enter a game for the New England Patriots since week 13.
Of course, wide receiver Nick Williams was mainly acquired by the LA Rams to replace the lost production of an injured Cooper Kupp. Kupp’s return meant Williams moved to their inactive list every week.
We’ll have a head-to-head battle early. The Cowboys take on the Seahawks on Saturday night, pitting Byron Jones and Shamar Stephen against one another. Ryan Griffin and the Texans face the red hot Indianapolis Colts roughly four hours prior, while Geremy Davis and the LA Chargers are slotted for the early Sunday game against the Ravens. We’ll have to wait for the second round to see Anthony Sherman in action.