WEEK 4 ALL ROOKIE TEAM
Gardner Minshew – JAX (6th round)
What was originally perceived as an injury that killed the Jaguars’ chances of competing for a playoff spot in 2019 is now possibly considered the start of a new QB-era in Jacksonville. Minshew helped JAX come back from a 17-6 second half deficit to lead them to a 24-23 win. He went 19/32 – 213 yards – 2 touchdowns continuing to show some magician work in the pocket to evade pressure while maintaining accurate and timely throws. Minshew has brought both energy and quality quarterback play to JAX that the franchise hasn’t seen since Mark Brunell.
Josh Jacobs – OAK (1st round)
After two losses where the OAK offense scored a combined 24 points, Jacobs helped the team put up 31 points on the road in Indianapolis. OAK was up early in this one and rode Jacobs behind the powerful offensive line for 79 yards on 17 carries. He also added another 29 yards on 2 catches. Jacobs is averaging 5.6 yards per touch through his first 4 games for the 2-2 Raiders.
AJ Brown – TEN (2nd round)
The Titans went up early in Atlanta, bringing a 24-7 lead into the half. Marcus Mariota targeted Brown three times, connecting all three times for 94 yards including touchdowns of 55 and 11 yards. Brown showed strength and power both after the catch and when contesting for the ball in the air. TEN only needed to throw the ball 8 times in the second half as they bled the clock out, thus Brown didn’t see any more action but the damage had already been done.
Miles Boykin – BAL (3rd round)
Lost in the Lamar Jackson-Marquis Brown duo early on has been Boykin, the other speed-add that BAL brought in via the 2019 NFL Draft. His early contributions haven’t been as high volume-wise but he continues to start for the NFL’s #1 ranked offense and it was he that brought in the first BAL score while the game was still close. He finished with 32 yards on 3 catches including that first touchdown.
Foster Moreau – OAK (4th round)
A lot of talk surrounds the more athletic OAK tight end Jordan Waller, but it has been Moreau that has offered more on an every down basis. Moreau had 3 catches for 30 yards including a first quarter touchdown that proved he is more than just a blocker that needs to stay at the line of scrimmage. He has been one of the more effective every down players in the entire NFL rookie class, as his run blocking has been a strength to that OAK ground attack.
Greg Little – CAR (2nd round)
It’s been two games without Cam Newton behind center and the insertion of Little in at left tackle. CAR is 2-0 since and quietly working their way up the NFC South discussion. Little, up against one of the better pass rush attacks in the NFL in HOU, allowed 0 pressures and got plenty of push in the running game. The talent has always been there but he is quickly improving his set up and post-contact footwork. He certainly looks the part.
Jawaan Taylor – JAX (2nd round)
Taylor still needs to clean up technique issues that are causing penalties, but his power in the run game vs. DEN was a key cog in Leonard Fournette’s career day. He gets plenty of movement off the line with tremendous torque. While he did allow a sack to Von Miller, he kept that side of the line quiet for most of the day.
Dalton Risner – DEN (2nd round)
Risner has become a mainstay on this team and may already be the top lineman on DEN. He simply gets the job done play after play whether it be run or pass blocking. His one weakness that hasn’t been cleaned up, and it caused a pressure against JAX, has been the pass rush to his inside shoulder. However he sticks to his man in the running game and handles both speed and power as a pass blocker.
Elgton Jenkins – GB (2nd round)
In his first career start against PHI on a short week, Jenkins impressed with his stoutness and intelligence. He was quick to react when PHI tested him mentally and if his feet were under him, he handled the power of Fletcher Cox with ease. It appears he has his spot secured long term in the starting lineup.
Erik McCoy – NO (1st round)
The offense has been slightly altered in NO with the injury to Drew Brees but the stability of the offensive line has made whatever transition they had to undergo much smoother. McCoy has proven his stoutness and power in the running game, especially when the action is in front of him.
Brian Burns – CAR (1st round)
Burns continues to shine in the CAR starting lineup, adding 2 tackles / .5 sack / 3 pressures to his season line in their win over HOU, a game where the CAR pass rush was the major difference.
Maxx Crosby – OAK (4th round)
#4 overall pick Clellin Ferrell still gets most of the attention and snaps out in OAK, but Crosby, in limited action, has been making a similar impact. He had a forced fumble along with a pressure and 2 tackles in OAK’s win over IND. The coaching staff is slowly but surely adding snaps to his weekly job and it is paying off for all parties involved.
Dexter Lawrence – NYG (1st round)
Lawrence continues to make an impact as a pass rusher, further proving our report on him last spring that his impact can be felt on all three downs. He had 3 pressures and a tackle against the depleted WAS offensive line in NYG’s dominant win.
Christian Wilkins – MIA (1st round)
It has been a tough go for Wilkins and the MIA defense, as he has been seeing plenty of double teams. He is the top player along their defensive front and despite the extra attention he had to deal with against LAC, he finished with 5 tackles and 1 pressure.
Devin Bush – PIT (1st round)
If a Rookie of the Year award were to be given after the first quarter of the season, Bush would have a trophy in his case. He had his best game of the year on the national spotlight against CIN on Monday Night Football. He had 9 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 sack / 1 pass break up. He was all over the field in PIT’s finest defensive performance in a long time.
Quincy Williams – JAX (3rd round)
It is time to give Williams some serious attention. A starter since week 1, Williams led JAX in tackles with 8 as they stifled the DEN rushing attack in their comeback win. Through 4 games he leads the team in solo tackles and has been the ideal complement to star LB Myles Jack to aid the JAX defensive resurgence.
Byron Murphy – ARZ (2nd round)
Murphy is one of the bright spots to ARZ’s winless start to the season. He had 5 tackles and a pass break up in the end zone that would have been a touchdown. He has a quick mind and fast hands, showing very savvy play for a rookie at such a tough position.
Lonnie Johnson – HOU (2nd round)
Johnson is not starting, but he saw 76% of the snaps as the team likes him on the field in nickel situations outside. He finished with 3 tackles, showing physical and aggressive run support in addition to effective deep coverage.
Khari Willis – IND (4th round)
Willis is now a starting safety for the 2-2 Colts and played every defensive snap against OAK. He had 9 tackles / 1 PB / 1 TFL in their losing effort, but they have to be encouraged with his reliable tackling in space. He will be vital to IND dealing with the injury to S Malik Hooker.
Juan Thornhill – KC (2nd round)
Thornhill has been a godsend for the KC secondary. He had a quiet game in the box score (2 tackles / 1 PB) but his deep coverage and range has really shored up the back end. While his run support leaves a little to be desired, he has proven to be one of the more reliable young defensive backs in the game through 4 games for one of the NFL’s undefeated.