Rookie watch: Week 1

With the new season underway, we are going to start our new weekly piece on keeping up to date with how this years draft class are faiting in the big bad NFL. Each week we will have a look at some of the bigger names in the rookie class along with others who had standout days.

After only one rookie quarterback being named as a week one starter, we witnessed three take snaps. Sam Darnold threw a pick 6 on his first play to start his NFL career but to his credit, he pulled it back after that to throw 2 TDs. Darnald showed potential to make a living in the league, just not as much potential as some Jets fans want to believe. Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen both got their first snaps in the same game for two completely different reasons. Jackson to get to experience a NFL game in a blow out game and Josh Allen to possible offer some hope to the bills in a crushing week 1 defeat. Allen did look better than the Bill’s starter but with the support cast around him, its extremely hard to have a positive outlook on his prospects this year. So with only two first round quarterbacks left, it seems like a good bet to say we will see all take a snap at sometime this season. Particularly when Sam Bradford is playing so poor.

Royce Freeman was tipped by many to have a big impact at the Broncos this season but it was an undrafted rookie who grabbed week 1 headlines. Philip Lindsay finished Sunday’s game with 71 rushing yard and 31 receiving yards including a touchdown. This looks like it will be a split backfield between the two rookies for the time being. The same can be said for Rashaad Penny who split his carries with Chris Carson on Sunday. I am expecting to see his share grow however in the coming weeks. Sequon Barkley did not explode on his first week as soon had expected but still finished with 106 yards, the majority coming on a 68 yard run for a touchdown. This was against the best defense currently in the league so expect his better days to come. I also have to give shout outs to Will Dissly, a fourth round tight end, who showed he is ready to fill the shoes that Jimmy Graham left behind. Dante Pettis nabbed himself a TD against the Vikings, He looked like a live wire, however, the majority of his opportunities will come on special teams.

On the other side of the ball, we had Bradley Chubb record his first sack (well, half sack). Roquan Smith recorded his first sack in a dominate looking bears defense (for a while anyway). This weeks player of the week has to go to Denzel Ward. This Browns defense looks to have found its feet and he is central to that. Questions were raised when Cleveland selected Ward over the likes of Chubb in April but the choice appeared to make sense on Sunday. Ward was matched up against Antonio Brown and held him to under 100 yards while coming up with 2 interceptions. If he continues to play like that, Browns might actually win a match this year. Or at least he might win a award.