Joe Burrow / CIN – Round 1
Burrow will likely be the winner by default for at least a few weeks, as there aren’t any other rookies projected to start in the league. Burrow was a chip-shot 31-yard field goal by Randy Bullock away from sending his first NFL start into overtime against the Chargers stingy defense. He went 23/36 for 193 yards while adding 46 yards on 8 carries. One of those carries was a 23-yard touchdown where he displayed perhaps the most overlooked trait of his game, pure speed in the open field. Burrow threw an interception and was sacked 3 times.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire / KC – Round 1
Many have already started to imprint the name of Edwards-Helaire on the Rookie of the Year trophy. He is an ideal fit for the Andy Reid scheme and the KC offense is just a machine that is pumping out production on all levels. Edwards-Helaire finished with 138 yards and 1 touchdown on 25 carries.
Laviska Shenault Jr. / JAX – Round 2
In a tight battle with division-rival Indianapolis, every point was crucial. Shenault Jr, after a very impressive training camp according to team reports, got the start opposite DJ Chark. He caught a 15-yard touchdown in the second quarter to tie up the game.
Josiah Deguara / GB - Round 3
It was a very quiet weekend for rookie tight ends around the league and I expect it to be that way for most of the year. Deguara led rookie tight ends in snaps and caught a 12-yard pass during Green Bay’s huge offensive performance in Minnesota. The catch resulted in a first down.
Tristan Wirfs / TB – Round 1
In the premiere game of the week against an aggressive, fast, and physical defense, Wirfs looked like the best lineman on the Tampa Bay squad. He was matched up against Cameron Jordan for most of the game, an All-Pro, and surrendered just 2 pressures. He got walked back a few times but he did a nice job of maintaining his balance and hand placement.
Lloyd Cushenberry III / DEN – Round 3
There weren’t may tougher starting assignments for interior rookies than Cushenberry’s draw of the Titans. He took the challenge in stride and controlled the inside gaps very well. With their homerun pick of Dalton Risner last year playing next to him at guard, the inside of this DEN line appears to be a thing worth talking about for a long time.
Chase Young / WAS – Round 1
There has been more prime-pick attention put on the WAS defensive front over the past four years than any team in the league and it looks like the rest of the league may need to worry about it. Young put this already-impressive group over the top, as he finished with 4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 3 pressures against PHI in their upset win. This game tape should serve as a warning to the rest of the NFL.
Derek Brown / CAR – Round 1
Brown started and played 68% of the defensive snaps on a talented, up and coming line. He finished with 3 tackles / 1 TFL / 1 pass deflection. He was taken off the field in certain pass rush situations but as the season wears on, I bet we see him make an impact in that department. His power and burst already look elite at this level.
Patrick Queen / BAL – Round 1
Queen to the Ravens was a match made in heaven before draft weekend. His style of play fits in perfectly with what BAL has used at the position in the past and they were really hungry for a guy like this in recent years. He finished with 8 tackles, which led the team, including a sack and in addition a forced fumble.
CJ Henderson / JAX – Round 1
There was plenty of debate, credible debate, surrounding who was the CB1 in the 2019 draft class. Much of the public was behind Jeff Okudah, who went #3 overall to Detroit. Okudah didn’t play week 1 and Henderson shined. He broke up 3 passes and brought in an interception in JAX’s surprise win against the division rival Colts. He looked overly comfortable and confident on all levels, JAX got a good one here and potentially a great one.
Jeremy Chinn / CAR – Round 2
Much of the “freak and versatility” attention went to eventual top 10 pick Isaiah Simmons prior to the draft, and rightfully so. But Chinn, who was nearly just as impressive when it came to the tool set and versatility, somewhat flew under the radar. CAR scooped him up and he started at “linebacker” for the young up and coming defense. He really plays more safety than linebacker, but he does line up in several roles. Impressive first week that included 8 tackles with plenty of range that he started to show how much he can actually do.