Top 5 Active Nebraska Players in the NFL

With the NFL playoffs well underway, it makes this question interesting. What are the best players from the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the NFL currently?

Despite not having a first-round draft pick since the 2011 NFL Draft, when the New York Giants selected Prince Amukamara with the No. 13 overall pick, there are plenty of great players currently playing in the league. So, here’s an answer to that question. Here are the Top five Nebraska players in the NFL right now.

Top 5 Nebraska Players in the NFL

1. Lavonte David (LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Lavonte David, a 12-year NFL veteran, is and has been the best player at the next level who played for the Cornhuskers. David has been a consistent great player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for all 12 seasons and had his best season in 2023-24 since 2015. So far this season, he has 134 total tackles (86 solo, 48 assisted), 17 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks at 33 years old. David has been worth the Buccaneers 58th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, tallying up nearly 1,500 total tackles in his career. To top it all off, he played a big role on the Tampa Bay defense in 2020 when the Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

For Nebraska, David was a force to be reckoned with in 2010-2011. He transferred to Lincoln as a junior from Fort Scott Community College and went right into the spotlight, getting 152 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. In 2011, his total tackles dropped to 133, but he had 12 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. David also got two interceptions and forced three fumbles, recovering two.

It will be interesting to see how long he can last in the NFL, putting up good numbers, but he will be a major player for Tampa Bay’s defense for at least one to two more seasons.

2. Cam Taylor-Britt (CB, Cincinnati Bengals)

Cam Taylor-Britt, a second-year cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals, has turned out to be a top-five player from Nebraska on an active roster. Taylor-Britt was a second-round pick and was started in nine out of 10 games in his rookie season. In 2022/23, he got 55 total tackles (41 solo, 14 assisted), one tackle for loss, six pass deflections and a forced fumble. In this past season, Taylor-Britt logged his first NFL interception while he got 50 total tackles (40 solo, 10 assisted) and 11 pass deflections. 

While in college (2018-2021), he had five interceptions, with four coming in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Also in 2019, one of those interceptions was taken back for a touchdown and Taylor-Britt had four forced fumbles. He will have an active role for the Bengals for years to come if he continues to have good production. 

3. Cam Jurgens (OL, Philadelphia Eagles)

Cam Jurgens, the other Cornhuskers selected in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, has been able to learn behind now-retired Jason Kelce and the entire Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line. Jurgens has contributed to the Eagles in both the 2022 and 2023 seasons. In 2022, he appeared in all 17 games, playing in 117 combined snaps (35 on offense, 82 on special teams). In 2023, Jurgens started in his first game at right guard and continued to start in 11 games. He played in 654 total snaps (57% of snaps) last season. 

Jurgens was originally a four-star tight end coming out of Beatrice High School in Nebraska, where he only appeared in one game at the position. He was approached by the coaching staff to move to center and Jurgens then gained nearly 50 pounds to be able to start at center for the 2019 season. He had a rough 2019 campaign before a great 2020 season, which led to Jurgens being selected No. 51 overall in the 2021 draft. Now, with Kelce retiring, Jurgens’ role on the Philadelphia offensive line will increase and possibly become a full-time starter in the near future. 

4. Trey Palmer (WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Trey Palmer had an interesting role for the Buccaneers in his first season in the NFL. Palmer was selected in the sixth round by the Buccaneers even after having one of the fastest wide receiver times on the 40-yard dash at the combine. He appeared in all 17 games, starting in eight games and logged 38 catches for 385 yards and three touchdowns. Palmer also had one touchdown in this season’s NFL playoffs on a 56-yard reception against the Eagles. His “woke up angry” posts on X have been fun the last few weeks. Unfortunately for him, he had a lackluster game against the Detroit Lions in the divisional round, only logging two catches for 32 yards. 

Palmer transferred to Nebraska from the LSU Tigers in the 2022 offseason before coming to Lincoln. He was more of a special teams/return threat for the Tigers but had an increased role in 2021 until entering the transfer portal. While at LSU, he had 41 catches, 468 yards, and three touchdowns in three seasons. In his first and final season for the Cornhuskers, Palmer exploded onto the scene with 71 catches for 1,043 yards and 9 touchdowns. His best game came in a loss to the Purdue Boilermakers, where he had 7 catches for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns, which broke the Nebraska single-game record for receiving yards in a game. Now, it is expected that the Buccaneers will continue to have an increased role for their offense as Palmer continues to develop as a pass catcher. 

5. Maliek Collins (DL, Houston Texans)

Originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Maliek Collins had his best statistical season in 2023 for the Houston Texans. Collins finished with 41 combined tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 5 sacks in 16 games. Before becoming a Texan, he spent four years in Dallas before playing for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. In four years (2016-2019) with the Cowboys, Collins logged 14.5 sacks total with 84 combined tackles and 20 tackles for loss. He signed with the Raiders in 2020, combining for only 15 total tackles and no sacks while starting in 11 of 12 games. Collins’s career was revived after signing a one-year contract with Houston in 2021, logging a career-high 29 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. His contract was extended to a two-year deal, and he logged another career-high 37 total tackles in 2022. Finally, before this past season, Collins signed a two-year, $23 million deal with the Texans. 

At Nebraska, he was productive in two of three seasons in Lincoln, logging 45 total tackles, including 13 tackles for loss in 2014 and 29 total tackles in 2015. His best statistical season was in 2014. Collins has been in the NFL for eight seasons and should be at least productive for Houston for the remainder of his contract. 

Honorable Mentions

Brett Maher (Kicker, Los Angeles Rams)

Five seasons with the Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams. 

Ameer Abdullah (RB, Las Vegas Raiders)

“Fear Ameer!” Ameer Abdullah has had a decent career playing for the Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers and Raiders. 

Main Image: © Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

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