Gardner Minshew III – JAX (6th Round)
Coming off the bench following a serious injury to Nick Foles that sidelined him the rest of the game, the free spirited and confident Minshew had one of the best rookie debuts in NFL history. He went 22/25 with 2 TD / 1 INT. That one interception came off a dropped pass by RB Leonard Fournette, by the way. The Jaguars didn’t have to limit the playbook for the 6th rounder at all and he looked way too comfortable back there despite the adversity. There has been talk for weeks that this JAC thinks they got lucky with him in the draft and now that there is regular season tape to go off of, they may be right.
Josh Jacobs – OAK (1st Round)
Going up against a tough and stingy defense after a preseason that saw this offense go through as much non-injury adversity as any team in the league, everyone’s favorite back in the draft fell right in to OAK’s laps with their second 1stround pick. He didn’t dominate the ground by any means (23 att / 85 yards / 3.7 avg) but he did score 2 touchdowns in OAK’s big home win against the AFC West rival Broncos.
Marquise Brown – BAL (1st Round)
There was a lot of anticipation around the league when it came to BAL’s offense after a full offseason of centering it around Lamar Jackson. Brown, who has missed time recovering from a lower body injury that hampered him at Oklahoma, was the first player in NFL history to score multiple 40+ yard touchdowns in his debut. He finished with a receiving line of 4/147/2 and showed excellent route running on all three levels of the route tree, a question I had about him when writing his scouting report.
Terry McLaurin – WAS (3rd Round)
If you have been paying attention to the quotes coming out of WAS since spring, you would have known that this offense was going to feature the speedy, coach’s-favorite, versatile-yet-unknown from Ohio State. WAS seemed to push other veteran receivers off to the side and by the time week 1 rolled around, McLaurin was ready to be the guy. He played 93% of the snaps and finished with a 5/125/1 receiving line. He made plays deep, he made plays in traffic, and he looked like a seasoned-route runner that has been in the league for years.
TJ Hockenson – DET (1st Round)
The first TE taken in the 2019 class set an all-time NFL record with 131 yards on 6 catches, also scoring a touchdown. He was dangerous underneath, he was even more dangerous after the catch, and he showed he can get behind the defense. The every down player held his own as a blocker but did show some weakness in the second half against ARI. This already looks like the best TE that Matthew Stafford ever had.
Jawaan Taylor – JAX (2nd Round)
Despite two holding penalties, Taylor played a solid game matched up against multiple KC edge blockers. He showed a lot of controlling power and stoutness once he got things in front of him, but did look lost at times in space when he had to adjust laterally.
Kaleb McGary – ATL (1st Round)
McGary did allow a sack in his debut, but the hustle downfield and never-let-up approach was impressive and consistent. He missed a lot of training camp and preseason time with a heart issue so he can be excused for the occasional mental mistake for the time being.
Dalton Risner – DEN (2nd Round)
Risner looked like the best OL on the field for Den in their week 1 road loss to Oakland. An argument can be made he was the best OL on the field for both teams.
Chris Lindstrom – ATL (1st Round)
Unfortunately Lindstrom broke his foot and will be out for 2 months, if not more. He was placed on IR but will be eligible to return later in the year if he heals properly. In his 48 snaps (62% of the snaps), Lindstrom made productive blocks on the move but didn’t seem overly stout. It was a mixed bag performance but one that got better as the game progressed.
Erik McCoy – NO (2nd Round)
The high-octane Saints offense took awhile to get off the ground and it was partially because of the pressure coming up the middle, but McCoy settled down in the second half and played a positive game.
Nick Bosa – SF (1st Round)
After a spring and summer that saw Bosa on the sidelines often because of a hamstring injury, Bosa didn’t get the start but he did play just over half the snaps. He lined up on both sides of the ball and finished with 3 tackles / 1 TFL / 1 sack. The technique, most notably his hand usage and pad level, looked veteran-caliber.
Clellin Ferrell – OAK (1st Round)
One of the highest character players General Manager Mike Mayock ever scouted proved he was more than just a good guy. He recorded 3 tackles and a sack in his debut against the Broncos week 1. He disappeared at times but the relentless engine and underrated closing speed made plays.
Christian Wilkins – MIA (1st Round)
Arguably the lone bright spot from MIA’s embarrassing loss to BAL, Wilkins finished with 4 tackles. He was active and rangy from his interior lane and never let go of his high-effort approach.
Ed Oliver – BUF (1st Round)
As expected, Oliver had a really hot and cold day and part of the reason he made this team was a lack of rookies at the position playing a lot in week 1. He did show his disruptive self at times, as once he gets to some open field he can out-maneuver any blocker in the league. Getting to that area proved to be difficult at times, however. He had 2 tackles and a pressure.
Cole Holcomb – WAS (5th Round)
The defensive surprise of the WAS preseason, Holcomb was second on the team with 8 tackles, 2 if which were for a loss. He was constantly around the ball and he brought plenty of violence on the move. This WAS defense has a shot at making things happen in 2019 and if Holcomb keeps this up, they might be a top tier front seven.
Dre Greenlaw – SF (5th Round)
Greenlaw drew the start and played 80% of the snaps as Kwon Alexander is still working his way back from injury and playing on snap-count. Greenlaw recorded 4 tackles but was excellent in coverage especially. He showed a lot range and was giving Jameis Winston problems when he tried to get the ball to the middle of the field.
Byron Murphy – ARZ (2nd Round)
With the ARZ defensive backfield depleted, Murphy was arguably the team’s top corner on the field. He had 5 tackles, showing toughness and more presence than his body type would lead one to believe. He was outmuscled in traffic on passing plays a couple times but he had a sticky-feel to his short and intermediate coverage.
Ugo Amadi – SEA (4th Round)
Amadi got the start at nickel and impressed early on with aggressive coverage underneath. He had two tackles and forced CIN quarterback Andy Dalton to look elsewhere on 3rddown a couple times.
Jonathan Abram – OAK (1st Round)
Abram, along with fellow safeties Karl Joseph and Lamarus Joyner, set the tone for the OAK defense Monday night. He finished with 5 tackles and a pass break up. The production will be there but it is easy to tell this kid is already making an impression on the team overall with his approach and style of play. There is a new attitude on defense and he is a big part of it.
Taylor Rapp – LAR (2nd Round)
Starter Eric Weddle went down with a head injury and in stepped Rapp, the most NFL-ready safety I have graded in a few years. Rapp had 7 tackles along with key third down stops and tight coverage from the slot. I knew he was going to be an important piece to this defense in 2019 but I didn’t think it would happen this soon.