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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Wildcats in the NFL (Week 18): Lockett walk-off winner, season in-review

The final edition of Wildcats in the NFL for the 2023-24 regular season saw more play from rookie draftees
Freshman doubleback Kaleb Prewett celebrates after Senior wide receiver Tyler Lockett scores a touchdown during the game vs. UTEP on Sept. 27, 2014 in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Archive photo by George Walker)

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Lockett made his mark in the Seahawks season finale. The ninth-year pro hauled in two passes for 71 yards; it was his late 34-yard touchdown reception, coupled with the ensuing go-ahead two-point reception that led Seattle to its 21-20 win at Arizona.

Lockett fell short of reaching 1,000 receiving yards for the fifth straight season, racking up 894 yards. He started all 17 games, collecting 79 receptions with five touchdowns.

Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas City Chiefs

A first-round rookie, Anudike-Uzomah recorded a season-high 61 snaps as the Chiefs rested starters in their 13-12 victory over the Chargers. He carded three tackles, including two for loss to wrap up his first regular season.

A hometown draft pick, Anudike-Uzomah played in all 17 games for Kansas City this year. In limited time as a rookie, his debut season finishes with 14 tackles, two tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

Ekow Boye-Doe, CB, Kansas City Chiefs 

Boye-Doe found a home on the Chiefs’ special teams in the final weeks of 2023 but made his defensive debut in Week 18. The undrafted rookie collected 15 defensive snaps as the Chiefs downed Los Angeles. 

A Lawrence native, Boye-Doe joined Anudike-Uzomah as local kids playing for their hometown team. Boye-Doe’s biggest highlight came in the form of downing a punt inside the one-yard line in Week 15.

JuJu Brents, CB, Indianapolis Colts

A second-round pick, Brents battled injury all season, plaguing a promising rookie season. Starting in eight of nine active games this year, Brents notched 43 tackles, six passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

D.J. Reed, CB, New York Jets

Reed wrapped up three tackles and carded a pass breakup as the Jets ended the season on a win at New England. A 2018 fifth-round pick, Reed started in 15 games this year and collected 76 tackles, two TFLs, one interception, nine pass breakups and one fumble recovery.

Russ Yeast, S, Los Angeles Rams

Yeast tallied seven tackles and two pass breakups in his 49 defensive snaps Week 18. The 2022 seventh-round pick received a game ball from head coach Sean McVay for his efforts. In his second pro season, Yeast saw nine starts with 61 tackles and five passes defended. 

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Ty Zentner, P, Tennessee Titans

Zentner launched three punts with a long of 50 yards in the Titans season finale. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Eagles, Zenter suited up for the Texans and Titans in his rookie campaign.  

Playing in nine games, Zentner saw a 44.9-yard average on 38 punts with 10 punts landing inside the opponent 20-yard line. His season-long punt came in a Week 17 64-yard punt against his former team, the Texans. 

Deuce Vaughn, RB, Dallas Cowboys

A sixth-round rookie, Vaughn fell victim to a Cowboys’ system that often had him listed as inactive despite not being put on injured reserve until Week 18. His eight-game rookie campaign finished with a ​​statline of 40 rushing yards on 23 carries, 40 receiving yards on seven catches and 19 punt-return yards on four attempts.

Josh Hayes, DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A sixth-round pick, Hayes added a pair of special teams tackles to his rookie campaign as the Buccaneers defeated the Panthers to win the NFC South. Hayes finished with 17 tackles after playing in 15 games this year.

Timmy Horne, DL, New York Giants

Horne finished the year with the Giants after spending a vast majority of his season on the Falcons’ practice squad. Between three games for the Falcons and one for the Giants, Horne carded four tackles and a pass breakup.

Byron Pringle, WR, Washington Commanders

Pringle returned three kickoffs for a 25.7-yard average in addition to seeing his nine offensive snaps in the season finale. Predominantly a special teams player, Pringle also chipped in for 161 yards on 14 catches this year while earning one offensive start. 

Duke Shelley, CB, Los Angeles Rams

Despite ending the season on injured reserve, Shelley played in 11 games this year, collecting eight tackles, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery.

Dalton Risner, OL, Minnesota Vikings

An early-season acquisition by Minnesota, Risner notched his 11th start this year and blocked on 71 of the Vikings’ 73 offensive snaps in Week 18. A fifth-year pro, Risner played in 15 games this season.

Cornelius Lucas, OL, Washington Commanders

The former 2014 undrafted free agent notched his fourth start of the year in the Commander’s season finale. Between special teams and limited time on offense, Lucas saw the field every game this year. 

Cody Whitehair, OL, Chicago Bears

Whitehair saw 35 snaps to wrap up his eighth NFL season, all of which have come with the Bears. He played in all 17 games with 11 starts. 

Malik Knowles, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Knowles, an undrafted rookie signee, spent all season on injured reserve.  

Skylar Thompson, QB, Miami Dolphins

Thompson, a second-year pro, spent all season as the Dolphins’ third-string quarterback.

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