The first week of NFL Pre-season games has just about wrapped up, and while all the talk seems to be centered on a guy who has been in the league forever; it was the rookies who were proudly on display over the past few days. So how did some of these first year big names look in their first actual game action?
Well they ran the gamut from surprisingly good to shockingly ineffective to everywhere in-between. I think one of the players that most people were curious to see was Titans quarterback and #2 overall pick Marcus Mariota.
Nobody ever doubted his talent, but he rarely if ever took snaps from under center in Oregon, and he certainly didn’t walk up to line and call his own protections. But these are all things in the NFL that will have to become second nature to him.
His first two drives were not what he dreamt they would be, I am sure. On his first possession, he was sacked, and then on the very next play threw an interception.
After the Titans got the ball back, the ball slipped out of his hand as he was preparing to throw it, the ball was scooped up by the Falcons and run into the end zone. So two possessions a sack and two turnovers, not the most auspicious start for the number 2 overall pick.
He was able to lead the Titans on a scoring drive on their next possession, which was a nice bounce back for him.
Of course, Mariota not the only big name QB to make his debut this week as top overall pick Jameis Winston made his debut for Tampa on Saturday.
He played the entire first half of the Buccaneers game against the Vikings and the numbers did not look good. He completed just nine of 19 passes for 131 yards, one interception and one fumbled snap. His first three passes were incomplete including one that sailed over everyone’s head.
He did make one beautiful 40 yard completion to Vincent Jackson, but it was not enough to outweigh the bad he did. The interception was especially troubling because he has thrown eight so far in training camp and he has to cut down on the turnovers if he wants to be a success in the NFL.
Melvin Gordon, the 2nd overall running back taken, made his debut for the Chargers and while he didn’t turn the ball over, there was nothing majorly memorable about his debut. He got a total of 6 carries for a whopping 11 yards. I would hope he will show more as the pre-season moves on.
Amari Cooper the wide out from Alabama hauled in three catches for 22 yards and even ran a reverse for a whopping 3 yards.
Todd Gurley of the Rams is still not healthy enough to play and Bears wide out Kevin White will start the season on the PUP list with a chance of missing the entire season with a stress fracture in his left shin.
That leaves the one rookie who was the most impressive in week one of the pre-season and he may end up being a huge sleeper in the Fantasy world. That man is Lions rookie running back Amir Abdullah out of Nebraska.
He is second on the depth chart to Joique Bell, but with Bell’s injury history and with Abdullah’s performance, that may not last long.
Abdullah carried the ball seven times for 67 yards, including a 45 yard run. He had vision, patience and explosion on this night, and looked very much like the a steal in the second round for the Lions.
Depending on how much use he gets, Abdullah may be the best rookie in the bunch this season. No word on if Matt Millen was seen crying somewhere.