Sports

10 Bi-City players ready for NFL season

Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones stands on the sidelines during an exhibition game last month.
Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones stands on the sidelines during an exhibition game last month. AP

Ten players from the Bi-City area will begin the NFL season on an NFL roster or practice squad.

Two others who spent time recently in the NFL are Mario Alford (Greenville High), who was cut earlier this month by the Cincinnati Bengals, and Derrius Brooks (Harris County), who is playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Candian Football League.

 

Isaiah Crowell

High school: Carver

College: Alabama State

NFL team: Cleveland Browns

Years in NFL: 2

Position: Running back

You need to know: Crowell will start at running back when the Browns begin the season at the Eagles. He played sparingly during the preseason and led the team in rushing with 76 yards. Crowell rushed for 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first two seasons.

Chris Hubbard

High school: Carver

College: UAB

NFL team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Years in NFL: 3

Position: Linebacker

You need to know: Hubbard as third string at both offensive tackle and offensive guard positions. Hubbard played in seven games last season and one the year before.

Jordan Jenkins

High school: Harris County

College: Georgia

NFL team: New York Jets

Years in NFL: 0

Position: Linebacker

You need to know: Jenkins has earned a starting spot for the Jets.

Jarvis Jones

High school: Carver

College: Georgia

NFL team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Years in NFL: 4

Position: Linebacker

You need to know: Jones is listed as the starter at right outside linebacker for the Steelers. After being a part-time starter in his rookie year and missing half the 2014 season with a right wrist injury, Jones started all 15 games he played in last season. He had a strip sack of Bengals QB A.J. McCarron the AFC wild-card game last January. He has 87 tackles, including five sacks, in 36 games in his career.

Kelcie McCray

High school: Hardaway

College: Arkansas State

NFL team: Seattle Seahawks

Years in NFL: 4

Position: Safety

You need to know: This is McCray’s second season with the Seahawks after being traded by the Chiefs. He is listed as a second-teamer on the Seahawks’ depth chart behind Kam Chancellor. McCray started the last two preseason games in place of Chancellor. McCray was second on the team in tackles during the preseason with 14. McCray also started three games late last season after Chancellor got hurt. McCray finished the year 10th on the team in tackles with 37.

J.D. McKissic

High school: Central

College: Arkansas State

NFL team: Atlanta Falcons

Years in NFL: 0

Position: Wide receiver/kick returner

You need to know: The Falcons signed McKissic as an undrafted free agent. Despite a strong preseason, McKissic was waived by the team, then re-signed to the practice squad.

The practice squad is a group of up to 10 players who are signed by the team but not on the active 53-man roster. They are free agents who can be signed by any team during the season.

McKissic finished the preseason with eight catches for 79 yards. He returned four kickfoss for 202 yards, including one 101 yards for a touchdown. McKissic returned three punts for 31 yards.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches

High school: Central

College: Southern Miss

NFL team: Kansas City

Years in NFL: 1

Position: Nose tackle

You need to know: Nunez-Roches is listed as a second-teamer on the Chiefs’ depth chart behind Dontari Poe. Nunez-Roches had five tackles during the preseason. He played in seven games last season and made four tackles.

Marcus Smith

High school: Hardaway

College: Louisville

NFL team: Philadelphia Eagles

Years in NFL: 2

Position: Defensive end

You need to know: Smith is listed as a second-teamer on the Eagles’ depth chart behind Connor Barwin. There was some question heading into the preseason whether the former first-round pick would make the final roster. But he drew praise from new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, according to espn.com. Smith had seven tackles during the preseason, including a sack. Smith had just seven tackles, including 1.5 sacks last year after generating no tackles in his first season.

Philip Wheeler

High school: Shaw

College: Georgia Tech

NFL team: Atlanta Falcons

Years in NFL: 9

Position: Linebacker

You need to know: Wheeler is listed as a second-teamer on the Falcons’ depth chart behind Vic Beasley. Wheeler made two starts and played in nine games last season. He finished with 29 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Gabe Wright

High school: Carver

College: Auburn

NFL team: Cleveland Browns

Years in NFL: 1

Position: Defensive line

You need to know: The Lions waived Wright on Sept. 3, and he signed by the Browns for their practice squad two days later. He made one start and played in seven games for the Lions last season. He had six tackles.

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