Alright, we’ve got one week in the books, so you know what that means. It’s time to review the rookies in their first NFL game. I’ll do this three times throughout the year: today, around Week 8 and after the season. Obviously the jury is still out on all of these guys after one week, but we’ll see how they did anyway.
1. Matthew Stafford – QB – Detroit Lions
Chris Berman just said that Stafford was “okay” during his debut against the New Orleans Saints. 16/37 for 205 yards. That’s okay, like Berman said, but the three interceptions and zero touchdowns were not good. Stafford completed only three passes to Calvin Johnson for 90 yards (long of 64 yards). He targeted Johnson 13 times. He did rush for a TD, but ended the game with two rushes for no yards. He ended the game with a 27.1 QB rating. Not the start he was hoping for, but it wasn’t terrible, I guess. He was playing for the 0-16 Lions, what did you expect?
2. Jason Smith – OT – St. Louis Rams
Like the rest of the St. Louis Rams, Smith is a project. He did some good things and did some bad things. My Rams lost 28-0 to a bad Seahawks team, so we’re going to see the Rams up here next year when I do this. Hopefully Smith will have his spot locked down by that point.
3. Tyson Jackson – DE – Kansas City Chiefs
Apparently Jackson started, but he didn’t record a stat. Not a good start for the guy who was drafted too high to begin with.
4. Aaron Curry – LB – Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks gladly scooped up Curry with the fourth pick last May. He had a decent four tackles in Seattle’s destruction of St. Louis. Look for him to steadily progress as the season continues.
5. Mark Sanchez – QB – New York Jets
Sanchez had a great debut for the Jets. He went 18/31 fir 272 yards with a TD and an interception. His QB rating was 84.3. You never know what you’re going to ger when you start a rookie QB, but this is about as good as you can ask for. The Jets easily handled the Texans 24-7 and he threw for almost 300 yards. So far, so good for young Sanchez.
6. Andre Smith – OT – Cincinnati Bengals
Smith didn’t play in the season opener against the Broncos because of a broken foot. He had a lengthy holdout and was injured after two days at training camp.
7. Darius Heyward-Bey – WR – Oakland Raiders
Heyward-Bey has as many catches as Michael Crabtree: Zero.
8. Eugene Monroe – OT – Jacksonville Jaguars
According to Weller, Monroe “got eaten alive” by the Colts defensive ends. That’s not good. I didn’t see any of this game, but if Weller’s reports are accurate, Monroe will need some work to justify his lofty draft position. Read about it here and here.
9. BJ Raji – DT – Green Bay Packers
Raji didn’t play in the Pack’s season opening victory against the Bears. He has an ankle sprain that shouldn’t keep him out long.
10. Michael Crabtree – WR – San Francisco 49ers
By now you know Crabtree’s story. He’s threatening to sit out the entire season because of a contract dispute. This really isn’t a good situation for anyone except the other teams in the NFC West.
11. Aaron Maybin – DE – Buffalo Bills
I’m watching the Bills-Patriots game right now and I’ve watched Maybin get shut down a few times. He’s not having a great game, but it’s not terrible either. As of right now, Maybin does not have a tackle.
12. Knowshon Moreno – RB – Denver Broncos
Moreno rushed the ball eight times for 19 yards against the Bengals in a 12-7 victory. Very uninspiring for one of the stranger picks in the first round.
13. Brian Orakpo – LB – Washington Redskins
Orakpo recorded two tackles for the Redskins in a losing effort against the New York Giants. He started at the outside linebacker spot for Washington. Not a bad debut against a good team.
14. Malcolm Jenkins – CB – New Orleans Saints
Jenkins didn’t get in on the interception parade for the Saints, but he did record tackle. Last year’s Thorpe Award winner didn’t start the game, but figures to see significant action in the coming weeks.
15. Brian Cushing – LB – Houston Texans
Cushing started at linebacker for the Texans and recorded fives tackles and three assists. Pretty good for the former USC Trojan.
16. Larry English – LB – San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are currently losing 0-7 to the Oakland Raiders and English doesn’t have any stats yet. He’s listed as a backup.
17. Josh Freeman – QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This pick still cracks me up. Freeman didn’t play. Freeman will not be good. Bookmark this site, you heard it here first.
18. Robert Ayers – LB – Denver Broncos
Ayers didn’t start or record any stats. That’s 0/2 in Week 1 for Denver.
19. Jeremy Maclin – WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Maclin didn’t catch any passes and the Eagles only threw for 102 yards in their destruction of Carolina.
20. Brandon Pettigrew – TE – Detroit Lions
Still an odd pick for the Lions at #20. Pettigrew started but did not catch anything from #1 pick Matthew Stafford.
21. Alex Mack – C – Cleveland Browns
The Browns O-Line as a whole blocked for 20 rushing attempts for 89 yards and gave up 5 sacks. That’s a lot of sacks, but not all of them should be pinned on Mack. I didn’t see the game so I can’t say if any of the snaps were botched. I’ll call that a solid debut.
22. Percy Harvin – WR – Minnesota Vikings
Harvin was the leading receiver for the Vikings with 36 yards and a TD. He also rushed the ball twice for 22 yards. Any Viking not named Adrian Peterson didn’t really have to do much on Sunday, so Harvin’s 58 total yards and a TD are pretty good. If he stays healthy, he’s a definite threat.
23. Michael Oher – OT – Baltimore Ravens
Oher was a guy who I thought would go in the Top 10 easily. The Ravens jumped at the chance to trade up two spots and snag him. He started at tackle for the Ravens who gave up only one sack and paved the way for 500+ yards of offense.
24. Peria Jerry – DT – Atlanta Falcons
Jerry started for the Falcons in yesterday’s win against the Dolphins. Jerry assisted on one tackle. Slow start.
25. Vontae Davis – CB – Miami Dolphins
The other rookie in that Falcons-Dolphins game was Vontae Davis. He did Jerry half a tackle better by recording a full tackle. Two slow starts in one game.
26. Clay Matthews – LB – Green Bay Packers
Matthews was used as a back up against the Bears and he recorded a tackle. He is backing up Jeremy Thompson, the 4th rounder from 2008. Probably not what they had in mind, but it’s early.
27. Donald Brown – RB – Indianapolis Colts
Brown rushed the ball 11 times for 33 yards and caught two balls for 16 yards. Not stats that really jump out at you, but it’s something to build on for sure.
28. Eric Wood – G – Buffalo Bills
Wood started at left guard in tonight’s loss to the Patriots. Trent Edwards was sacked four times and the Bills only put up 276 yards of offense but the Bills were in a position to win the game in the 4th quarter. Tough to argue with that debut.
29. Hakeem Nicks – WR – New York Giants
Plaxico’s replacement caught two balls for 18 yards. Rookie wideouts generally have a tough time adjusting to the league and we’ve seen it with Heyward-Bey, Maclin and now Nicks. Crabtree hasn’t played a down and Harvin was decent.
30. Kenny Britt – WR – Tennessee Titans
Britt was the exception to the rule that I mentioned above. Britt caught four balls for 85 yards. He was also the closest human to Troy Polamalu’s latest crazy interception.
31. Beanie Wells – RB – Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals laid an egg against the 49ers on Sunday and Beanie didn’t help much. He carried the ball 7 times for 29 yards. The Cardinals looked awful on offense as a whole.
32. Ziggy Hood – DT – Pittsburgh Steelers
Hood did not start for the Super Bowl Champions, but he did see action as a backup. He didn’t record a stat. He missed part of the preseason with an injury, so it will take him a while to get up to speed.
Well, there you have it. The first week of the NFL season was not a kind one to the 2009 draft class. The title of Best Week 1 Rookie has to go to Mark Sanchez. He looked fantastic in his first career start for the Jets. Check in around Week 8 for the next round of rookie reviews.