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August 1, 2014

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high school football:

Led by Eldorado product Steven Jackson, here’s a list of locals in NFL camps

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David Goldman / AP

Atlanta Falcons’ Steven Jackson catches a pass during NFL football training camp at the team’s practice facility, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, in Flowery Branch, Ga.

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Atlanta Falcons' Steven Jackson catches a pass during NFL football training camp at the team's practice facility, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, in Flowery Branch, Ga. Launch slideshow »

The NFL Players Association estimates that of the roughly 100,000 high school seniors playing football nationally each fall, just 218 will make NFL rosters.

The association also estimates the average career lasts about three years.

Then, there is running back Steven Jackson.

The Eldorado High product will play in his 10th NFL season this year, building on a career where he’s already rushed for more than 10,000 yards and 56 touchdowns. After nine seasons with the St. Louis Rams, Jackson signed in the offseason with the Atlanta Falcons.

Jackson appears to be a good fit for the Falcons’ backfield.

Atlanta was minutes away from reaching the Super Bowl last season before falling in the NFC Championship game to San Francisco. Jackson, who rushed for 6,396 yards and 81 touchdowns at Eldorado, is looking for his first appearance in the playoffs.

Jackson isn’t the lone local in an NFL camp. Despite the Las Vegas area having just 36 high schools, former players are well-represented on football’s biggest stage.

Here’s a look at other players:

    • Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) celebrates his touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers with Dez Bryant (88) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.

      DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

      The Bishop Gorman High product Murray is on the verge of becoming one of the NFL’s top running backs. Well, if he can stay healthy. Despite missing nine games during his initial two professional seasons with various injuries, Murray has rushed for 1,560 career yards and six touchdowns. He has another 434 career receiving yards, catching 35 passes for 251 yards last year. But he’s been hampered with injuries, including not being able to fully participate this spring in the Cowboys' offseason program. He’s expected to be healthy for the season and should be the team's No. 1 running back.

    • Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Billy Winn celebrates after the Browns won 20-14 in an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Cleveland.

      Billy Winn, Cleveland Browns

      The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle played in all 16 games last year during his rookie season with the Browns. The Las Vegas High graduate, a fifth-round selection in 2012 by Cleveland out of Boise State, finished last year with 26 tackles, one sack and one interception. He started 10 games. Some believe he’s well on his way to having a lengthy professional career.

    • Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (47) hits Carolina Panthers running back Dantrell Savage (26) as Savage tries to make a catch during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010.  Pittsburgh won 19-3.

      Stevenson Sylvester, Pittsburgh Steelers

      This is a make-or-break season for Sylvester with the Steelers, who have a need a linebacker and will give the Valley High graduate a chance to be an impact player. Sylvester was a fifth-round selection in the 2010 draft and has 22 tackles in three seasons, including 14 in his rookie season of 2010-11 when Pittsburgh advanced to the Super Bowl. But he recorded just one tackle in 10 games last year and missed part of the season with an injury, and has primarily been a special teams player. In April, he signed a one-year deal.

    • Oakland Raiders wide receiver Juron Criner (84) tries to elude Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict during their game Nov. 25, 2012, in Cincinnati.

      Juron Criner, Oakland Raiders

      The wide receiver Criner, a fifth-round selection in 2012, is looking to become a more significant part of the Raiders' offense. In his rookie season, the Canyon Springs High product had 16 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown. He was most productive late in the season, catching passes in six of Oakland’s final seven games, including a touchdown Dec. 2 against Cleveland.

    • New Orleans Saints' Marques Colston (12) catches a seven-yard touchdown pass with Carolina Panthers' D.J. Campbell (26) defending during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in New Orleans.

      DJ Campbell, Carolina Panthers

      The Cheyenne High product is in competition for the Panthers’ starting safety position, building on a solid rookie season where he worked his way up the depth chart in finishing with 12 tackles. Campbell, a seventh-round draft selection in 2012, had four tackles in the season finale against New Orleans. He played in college at Cal.

    • Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Brandon Marshall runs with the ball during NFL football rookie minicamp,  Friday, May 4, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla.

      Brandon Marshall, Jacksonville Jaguars

      Marshall, a Cimarron-Memorial High graduate and 2012 fifth-round draft pick of Jacksonville, notched three special teams tackles in five games last year as a rookie. The linebacker is competing for an increased role at this year’s camp. His inaugural NFL season in 2012 was full of roster moves — in the span of five days in late October, he was released, resigned and released again. Then, five days after the second release, he was signed to the Jacksonville practice squad. He worked his way to the active roster in mid-December and saw playing time in the final weeks of the season.

    • Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams, a Valley grad, runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 24, 2013.

      Kerwynn Williams, Indianapolis Colts

      Williams, a seventh-round selection by the Colts in April, is fighting for a roster spot on special teams as a kick returner and running back. A former Valley High standout, the 5-foot-7 Williams had a prolific career on special teams at Utah State to become a professional prospect. Despite not returning kicks last fall as a senior because he was Utah State’s full-time running back, Williams is the Western Athletic Conference’s all-time leader in kick return yardage with more than 3,400 yards. As a senior at Utah State, he rushed for 1,512 yards and 15 touchdowns, also catching 45 passes for 697 yards and five touchdowns.

    Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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