NFL playoffs stocked with local talent

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The NFL playoffs kickoff this weekend with 14 hopefuls in search of the Vince Lombardi trophy. Looking for a team to root for? Is your team out of the running (hey, Saints fans!)? Hitch your wagon to one, some or all of the players representing the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

Incredibly, eight players who cut their teeth inside the city limits are on playoff teams. If you widen the search to Webster Parish high schools, the area boasts ten players.

In alphabetical order, here is a look at the locals who could impact the road to the Super Bowl.

Henry Black, Green Bay Packers (DB, Woodlawn)
The second-year pro played in all 17 games for Green Bay this season. The 25-year-old Baylor product played 25 percent of the snaps on defense and hauled in his first career interception with a Week 8 pick of Arizona’s Kyler Murray.

Black (6-foot, 204 pounds) also collected a pair of passes defended and a forced fumble during the regular season.

This will be the undrafted free agent’s second postseason appearance. As a rookie, Black participated on special teams in both of the Packers’ playoff games last year.

Green Bay earned the top seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. The Packers will face the worst-remaining seed next weekend.

Israel Mukuamu, Dallas Cowboys (S, Parkway)
The rookie saw action in four games for Dallas. He played a career-high 22 percent of the snaps on defense in the Week 18 affair against Philadelphia.

Mukuamu (6-4, 205) played at South Carolina before the Cowboys selected him in the sixth round (227th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The third-seeded Cowboys host No. 6 San Francisco (x-x) on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (QB, Haughton)
The 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year recovered from last season’s devastating ankle injury to lead Dallas to a 12-5 record and another NFC East title. In 16 games, the former Mississippi State star tossed a club-record 37 touchdowns (fourth-best in the NFL) and posted a career-best 68.0 completion percentage mark (fourth-best in the NFL).

Prescott (6-2, 238) makes his third postseason appearance. He’s 1-2 in playoff games (2016, 2018). The former fourth-round draft choice (2016) has completed 66 of 103 passes for 794 yards during his playoff career. He’s tossed five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Robert Rochell, Los Angeles Rams (DB, Fair Park)
The rookie played 11 games for the Rams before being placed on Injured Reserve. The 23-year-old hauled in his first career interception as a pro against the New York Giants in Week 6.

Rochell (6-2, 195) was selected in the fourth round (130th overall) in the 2021 NFL Draft after his career at Central Arkansas.

L’Jarius Sneed, Kansas City Chiefs (S, Minden)
The second-year pro played 15 games and collected two INTs this season. Sneed (6-0, 189) has five interceptions during his young career. The former Louisiana Tech star registered one sack, eight passes defended, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble this season.

The fourth-round pick (138th overall, 2020) of the Chiefs will play his second postseason with a heavy heart. Sneed’s two-game absence (Weeks 14, 15) came when he traveled to Minden to be with his family following the stabbing death of his brother, TQ Harrison, in December.

Sneed started all three of the Chiefs’ postseason games during his rookie year and played 51 percent of the defensive snaps in a Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay.

Kansas City grabbed the No. 2 seed in the AFC and will host No. 7 Pittsburgh on Sunday (7:15 p.m.).

Trent Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals (WR, Evangel)
After four seasons in San Francisco, the former Louisiana Tech star signed with Cincinnati for the 2021 campaign. Although he missed the first 13 games of this season, Taylor (5-8, 180) played in the Bengals’ final four contests.

He’s returned four kicks and seven punts for the Bengals, but finally saw significant action on offense in Week 18. He hauled in two of his three targets for a total of 41 yards receiving.

A fifth-round pick (177th overall, 2017) by the 49ers, the 27-year-old has never played in the postseason. He was sidelined with a major foot injury when San Francisco fell to Kansas City in the Super Bowl following the 2019 season.

Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LB, North Webster)
The road toward a second straight Super Bowl championship for White and Tampa Bay begins Sunday against Philadelphia (noon). The Buccaneers earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

White had another stellar season on defense. The third-year pro played every game for the first time in his career. He amassed 128 tackles and 3.5 sacks this season.

Tampa Bay took White (6-0, 237) with the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after a terrific career at LSU.

The 23-year-old will make his second postseason run. In Super Bowl LV, White picked off Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the end zone on the Chiefs’ final drive of the game.

Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills (CB, Green Oaks)
The fifth-year pro will not play for Buffalo during the postseason. He was place in injured reserve after he tore his ACL on Thanksgiving in New Orleans.

The 26-year-old made one interception and didn’t allow a touchdown in covering in his 11 games played this season. The Bills drafted White in the first round (27th overall) after his impressive LSU career.

Third-seeded Buffalo hosts No. 6 New England on Saturday (7:15 p.m.).

Brandon Wilson, Cincinnati Bengals (DB, Calvary Baptist)
Wilson will not partake in the postseason after he was played on IR following Week 9. The fifth-year pro tore his ACL against the Cleveland Browns. The 27-year-old was selected in the sixth round (207th overall) by the Bengals after his time at the University of Houston.

Wilson has two career kickoff returns for touchdowns in the NFL.

Donovan Wilson, Dallas Cowboys (S, Woodlawn)
The third-year pro played nine games – started three — for the Cowboys this season. Wilson (6-0, 204) battled groin, shoulder and chest injuries and spent one stint on the IR.

The former Texas A&M star, 26, will make his first NFL postseason appearance as part of a spirited Cowboys defense.

Photo: Christi Lang


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