- A number of rookies have made the transition from college to the NFL look easy. Which players have had the most impressive first two weeks of their professional career?
There are a number of surprises that pepper each NFL season. The Super Bowl contender that falls flat on its face. The blockbuster trade that shakes the league’s landscape. But among the most pleasant are the rookies who, despite the notoriously difficult jump from the college game to the NFL, come into the league looking like seasoned veterans.
Week 1 showcased plenty of that talent, with seven different rookie receivers eclipsing 100 yards in their career debuts. Which rookies can we expect more of the same from? Whose shocking performance was a one-game fluke, and whose might have been for real?
It’s still early in the season, but these five rookies continued their case for stardom through Week 2.
1. Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens: There’s a reason Hollywood was the first wide receiver selected in this year’s draft. One week after becoming the first player in NFL history with multiple 40-plus yard touchdowns in his career debut, putting up 147 yards to go with them, Brown racked up eight receptions for 86 yards against the Cardinals. He may not have found the endzone, but the 5' 9", 170-pound pass-catcher did still deliver a dagger, hauling in the 41-yard dart on third-and-11 to seal Baltimore’s 23–17 win. Two weeks in, and it’s clear Brown has become the deep threat Lamar Jackson has desperately needed.
2. Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders: It’s easy to forget that Jacobs rushed only 251 times total at Alabama when he’s this explosive for the Raiders in 2019. The rookie had 85 rushing yards and two scores on 23 carries in his regular-season debut last week, and he showed no signs of slowing down against the Chiefs on Sunday, picking up 99 yards on 12 rushes. Jacobs approaches each handle with patience and vision, using his cutting ability to make a play. Jon Gruden told us all preseason that the rookie back would carry a load of the offense. Oakland would be wise to continue that approach.
3. Devin Bush, LB, Steelers: The Steelers are having a tough start to the 2019 season, but Bush is having better luck. The rookie linebacker added seven more tackles (three solo, four assists) to the 11 he already had coming into Week 2 on Sunday. And while Pittsburgh came up short again, falling 28–26 to the Seahawks, Bush still came up big, recovering a fumble in Seattle territory and cutting it back all the way to the one-yard line to set up the touchdown one play later. The Seahawks made a big investment by trading up to No. 10 to draft Bush, and so far, it’s paying off.
4. Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins: Washington knew it had something special in McLaurin, and now the rest of the league knows it too. After catching five passes for 125 yards and a 69-yard score last week, the former Ohio State wideout added another 62 yards and a touchdown on five catches against the Cowboys on Sunday. The Redskins may be 0–2, with both losses coming in the division, but McLaurin’s nuanced route running and excellent body control alongside his speed is something the team should be excited about.
5. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks: He didn’t lead his team in receiving this game, but Metcalf still found a way to make his presence known on Sunday. The 229-pound receiver caught passes of 16, 17 and 28-yard gains––the last of which was a touchdown––to help the Seahawks secure a 28–26 win over the Steelers. His physicality and speed showed up on each one, and while Seattle tends to spread the ball around depending on opponents’ weaknesses, Metcalf’s Week 2 performance showed he may not need many looks to find a way to shine.
NOW ON THE MMQB: Josh Allen owns New York. Brees and Big Ben go down. Catch up on all of Week 2’s takeaways from Gary Gramling. … If Drew Brees is, in fact, out for a period of time, how will Teddy Bridgewater fit in the Saints’ offense? ... Kalyn Kahler breaks down that confusing offensive pass interference on Dalvin Cook. ... Michael McCann examines what might come out of the NFL’s meeting with Antonio Brown’s accuser. … All hail fourth-quarter fantastic finishes. … and more.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Have we seen the last of vintage Cam Newton? Jonathan Jones explores what’s off about the Panthers’ QB … Julio Jones explains why he doesn’t watch football … The Steelers have weaknesses. A lot of weaknesses. Andy Benoit goes through them all … and more.
1. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur had their first in-game awkward moment.
3. The Dolphins might actually consider starting Josh Rosen next week.
4. Janoris Jenkins is deflecting blame for the secondary’s woes against the Bills.
5. Lamar Jackson is still setting records.
Guess whose kicker didn’t miss a field goal?
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