NFL rosters peppered with Northeast Mississippi talent

Aug. 29—Seven players with local ties are on NFL regular season rosters.

Teams finalized their 53-man rosters Tuesday afternoon. Of the seven area natives, most are familiar names. Here’s a look at each one.

A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

The Starkville native is coming off another strong season. He made 88 catches for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time.

Brown was a Daily Journal All-Area pick his senior season at Starkville in 2015, making 83 catches for 1,371 yards and 13 TDs. He went on to star at Ole Miss and was drafted by Tennessee in the second round in 2019.

Jason Brownlee, WR, New York Jets

The former West Point standout has taken a long road to the NFL. He played two years at junior college powerhouse East Mississippi, then spent the next three years at Southern Miss.

Brownlee was signed by the Jets this year as an undrafted free agent and made a huge impression in preseason camp to earn a spot on the roster. Picking him up seems to have been a smart move by the Jets, who gave him the fourth-most guaranteed money of any undrafted rookie this year.

As a senior at West Point in 2017, Brownlee caught 42 passes for 967 yards and 11 TDs, made the All-Area team and led the Green Wave to the Class 5A state title.

Kevin Dotson, OL, Los Angeles Rams

While he prepped in Plaquemine, Louisiana, Dotson is a native of West Point.

He played his college ball at Louisiana and was a fourth-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2020. Dotson earned a starting role at left guard last season and played in all 17 games.

He was traded to the Rams on Monday and is expected to vie for a starting job.

Willie Gay, LB, Kansas City Chiefs

The Starkville product has been a consistent force for the Chiefs since they drafted him in the second round in 2020. He made 88 tackles, 9 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception and helped K.C. win the Super Bowl last season.

Gay made 84 tackles, 6 sacks and four interceptions his senior year (2015) at Starkville and led the Yellow Jackets to the 6A state championship. He went on to be a standout at Mississippi State.

Jaycee Horn, CB, Carolina Panthers

Horn, the son of former NFL receiver Joe Horn, played high school ball at Mooreville before moving to Alpharetta, Georgia, where he was a first-team all-state pick in 2018.

Horn played college ball at South Carolina and was named second-team all-SEC as a junior before entering the NFL Draft. He was the eighth overall pick by Carolina in 2021.

Horn was limited to three games as a rookie due to a broken foot. He played in 13 games last season, recording 53 tackles and three interceptions.

Chris Jones, DT, Chiefs

Entering his eighth season — all with the Chiefs — Jones has won two Super Bowls and been named to the Pro Bowl three times. He’s become one of the league’s most feared pass rushers, racking up 15.5 sacks last fall.

Jones was the Daily Journal Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Houston (2012). He signed with Mississippi State after a highly publicized recruiting battle between the Bulldogs and Ole Miss.

But while Jones is on Kansas City’s roster, he might not be on the field any time soon. He’s been holding out all preseason while trying to negotiate a contract extension.

Jones has stated publicly that he’s willing to miss several games in order to get the deal he wants. And indeed, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday that talks are not going well and that Jones could miss some games.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Metcalf was a first-team All-Area pick in 2015, making 93 receptions for 1,455 yards and 22 touchdowns. He then joined forces with A.J. Brown at Ole Miss.

Metcalf was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft by Seattle and has become one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers. Last year, Metcalf made a career-high 90 catches for 1,048 yards and six touchdowns.

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