By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
For decades, Northwest Louisiana has stocked the NFL with talent, including plenty of superstars. The Los Angeles Rams’ victory against Cincinnati in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday made one Shreveporter, former Fair Park star Robert Rochell, a world champion.
Incredibly, Rochell is just one of 16 locals on NFL rosters during the 2021 season. For reference, an area the size of Dallas would have to boast more than 200 NFL players to match the per capita production of this area. Los Angeles County would have to provide more than 400 players.
Is this the best era for locals in the NFL? That’s fodder for another time, but over the next two days, we take a look at how our current NFLers (in alphabetical order) fared in 2021, and we peer into their 2022 contract situations.
Up first, the eight locals who play in the NFC.
Henry Black, Green Bay (25 years old, DB, Woodlawn)
Played in all 17 games for the Packers this season. Recorded two passes defended, one interception and a forced fumble. Just completed a two-year, $1.39 million contract and is now an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA). That is used for a player with fewer than three accrued seasons and an expired contract. If his original team offers him a one-year contract at the league minimum (based on his credited seasons), the player cannot negotiate with other teams.
Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina (21, WR, Parkway)
Second-round pick by Panthers played 13 games as a rookie and hauled in 17 passes for 138 yards. Season ended with a foot injury. Expect to see an expanded role as TMJ enters second year of his rookie contract – four years, $5.729 million.
Israel Mukuamu, Dallas (22, S, Parkway)
Played four games for Cowboys as a rookie after he was selected in the sixth round. Missed the postseason game with a hamstring injury. Enters second year of four-year, $3.61 million contract.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (28, QB, Haughton)
Recovered from a devastating injury in 2020 and posted a career-high 37 touchdown passes in 2021. The Cowboys’ offense led the NFL in points, but Dallas was bounced in the first round of the playoffs. This capped the first segment of his four-year, $160 million contract.
Robert Rochell, Los Angeles Rams (23, DB, Fair Park)
The rookie played 11 games (started five) for the Rams and collected one interception before he found himself on injured reserve. The fourth-round pick will enter the second year of his four-year, $4.17 million deal.
Devin White, Tampa Bay (23, LB, North Webster)
Played every game this season (first time in his career) for the Buccaneers. The former first-rounder collected 3.5 sacks and amassed 128 tackles en route to the Pro Bowl. He enters the final season of his rookie contract – four-years, $29.315 million — and the Bucs have until May 2 to decide whether they will pick up White’s fifth-year option (would be worth about $11 million in 2023).
Rodarius Williams, New York Giants (25, DB, Calvary)
After he was drafted by the Giants in the sixth round, “LeeLee” played five games for the G-Men in 2021. However, his season came to an end when he tore an ACL against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5. Enters Year 2 of a four-year, $3.653 million contract.
Donovan Wilson, Dallas Cowboys (26, S, Woodlawn)
Injury-plagued campaign caused Wilson to play in just nine games (three starts) in 2021. Drafted by the Cowboys in the sixth round in 2019. He’ll play the final season of a four-year, $2.657 million contract.