Gardner Minshew – JAX (6th round)
With a full week to prepare for the HOU defense, Minshew has been entrenched as the starting QB for more than half the season, as Nick Foles won’t be back until after week 10. While he didn’t have an all-time game like he did in his debut vs KC, Minshew went 23/33 for 213 yards while adding another 6 yards on the ground. The stats weren’t overly impressive but his late game heroics were. Minshew led JAX to a touchdown with 36 seconds left but instead of going for the tie, JAX Head Coach Doug Marrone went for the all-or-nothing 2-point conversion. Instead of keeping in the hands of Minshew, he handed it off to Leonard Fournette and ended up inches shy of the upset win on the road. Minshew has something about him that is making this team played inspired football.
Devin Singletary – BUF (3rd round)
Much like the way he was used in week 1, Singletary was the complementary piece to the BUF backfield. Even though he wasn’t on the field as much as Frank Gore (45 snaps to 25 snaps respectively) it was Singletary who made the big plays that mattered most. He had 57 yards on just 6 carries, including a 14-yard touchdown run.
Deebo Samuel – SF (2nd round)
The Niners have been looking for a consistent number one receiver within their offense for years. Nobody, when it comes to week-to-week performance, has been able to get a strong hold on that role but Samuel has the look of a guy who is about to take it on. He caught 5 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown, showing a versatile skill set with his superb route running and running back-caliber ability after the catch. His body type is unorthodox for the position but he is still nimble and agile enough to create space via movement and the presence he has upon contact is a big time asset to the SF offense.
Mecole Hardman – KC (2nd round)
Once Tyreek Hill went down last week and it was public he would be out for multiple games, the Mecole Hardman market heated up. After all, he was drafted under the assumption Hill would be suspended by the NFL, or even worse. The small but explosive speedster scored a 42 yard touchdown pass and had another long one called back because of a holding penalty.
Noah Fant – DEN (1st round)
The other first round pick of the 2019 class makes the team after a quiet week from the rookie tight end class. He caught 4 balls on 4 targets for 33 yards. The athletic ability and pass catching are what got him drafted but Fant is proving to be an effective blocker as well.
Jawaan Taylor – JAX (2nd round)
Taylor primarily faced off against JJ Watt in his first road matchup. He had an up and down day but he ended particularly strong and stout as JAX made its near comeback win. He showed the ability to re-anchor after losing the initial contact battle against one of the best in the game. His two penalties (false start and hold) will need to be shored up, however.
Matt Skule - SF (6th round)
Skule ended up here almost by default, but having him step in for the injured Joe Staley for the last 19 plays of the game as SF tried to run the clock out, with the defense knowing what was coming, was a solid start to his career. The 2-0 Niners are going to move forward with him protecting the blind side for the time being, as Staley will miss multiple months with a broken leg.
Dalton Risner - DEN (2nd round)
The left side of the DEN offensive line would be a mess if it weren’t for the rookie out of Kansas State. Garrett Bolles is leading the NFL in penalties since he’s been a starter, but Risner has kept it together. He already has the look of a guy who will be the glue to that line before long.
Elgton Jenkins – GB (2nd round)
Another injury replacement, Jenkins stepped in for Lane Taylor for the last 18 plays of the afternoon. While the sample size wasn’t noteworthy, Jenkins was violent and powerful against the rock of the MIN defensive line, Linval Joseph. He may grab hold of this starting gig and never look back.
Erik McCoy – NO (2nd round)
McCoy wasn’t matched up against Aaron Donald as much as expected, but he more than held his own in pass protection in a game where LAR was stunting and twisting against a predictable passing offense all afternoon. He did get called for a hold and allowed a coverage sack where QB Teddy Bridgewater basically ran into McCoy’s man. With Drew Brees out, McCoy may be handling more pre-snap responsibilities, thus these next few weeks will be an enormous test for the second rounder.
Brian Burns – CAR (1st round)
Burns didn’t blow up the stat sheet, but the 3 tackles and 1 sack don’t do justice to how well he played. He added 2 pressures and showed the consistent ability to burst off the ball and put the blocker on his heels. He is playing really low and fast and even though the power game isn’t quite there yet, he was very disruptive on a wet surface Thursday night.
Josh Allen – JAX (1st round)
Allen finished with 4 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 pressure. What was more noteworthy was the increase in snaps he had dropping into coverage. Allen will make his money as a pass rusher but to drop back and cover as well as he did just shows the kind of versatile threat this team has in him.
Ed Oliver – BUF (1st round)
The Bills rotate their defensive line in and out as much as any team in the league, but it is Oliver who led the interior group in snaps week 2. He finished with 2 tackles and a pressure. Perhaps his biggest play of the day was a tipped pass at the line that resulted in an interception, a major turning point in the game.
Dexter Lawrence – NYG (1st round)
Lawrence played half the snaps and started to show more comfort within the scheme, as his athletic ability was starting to pop off the screen. Lawrence was making physical tackles away from the line in addition to pressuring BUF quarterback Josh Allen two times.
Jahlani Tavai – DET (2nd round)
The injury to Jarrad Davis has given an opportunity to Tavai that he is taking full advantage of. He is still being taken off the field in certain passing situations, but the energy and force he plays with against the run made huge difference in DET’s 1 point win over LAC. Tavai led the team with 9 tackles and forced a fumble that led to a turnover.
Quincy Williams – JAX (3rd round)
Williams has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Jags since training camp and he continues to show he is more than a flash in the pan. He was one of two linebackers that played every snap in a game that held HOU to just 13 points. He led the team with 9 tackles.
Byron Murphy – ARZ (2nd round)
The one word that is coming up consistently when watching Murphy is “sticky”. He is allowing minimal separation and the yards after the catch are minimal-to-none when he is in the area. He had 7 tackles and 2 pass break ups including a couple moments where he came up big in the fourth quarter.
Lonnie Johnson – HOU (2nd round)
Johnson’s superior size and speed was on display all afternoon but he especially turned it up in the second half. The high-upside cover corner had 3 tackles and a pass break up in a effort that held JAX to 12 points, 6 of which didn’t occur until the final minute of the game.
Darnell Savage – GB (1st round)
Savage is everywhere in this GB defense. They are using him well in their newfound aggressive scheme. He finished with 6 tackles, a pass break up, and a forced fumble. His pass break up was a fine bait-job that led to a Kirk Cousins INT. Savage also nearly had an interception of his own had it not been for an Adam Thielen pass interference.
Khari Willis – IND (4th round)
Willis hasn’t gotten a start yet but the popular thought is he will soon dethrone Clayton Geathers. Willis played just half the team’s defensive snaps but still finshed with 7 tackles, second on the team. He made a couple key stops late in the game in the Colts 2-point win showing elite tackling in space, a lost art in the NFL that makes a major difference.