Rookie Watch – Week 2

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Rondale Moore:

Rookie receiver Rondale Moore has established a good relationship with Kyler Murray already and is proving to be a vital part of the Cardinals offense, even outside of the screen game. Moore was a key reason for the Cardinals pulling off a 34-33 win over the Vikings on Sunday, he finished the game with 114 yards and 1 touchdown on 7 receptions. Through two weeks Moore is average nearly 17 yards per reception which proves he is a much bigger part of the offensive game plan than people first thought he would be. Before the season all signs pointed to Moore being involved in the Cardinals wide receiver screen game, but we had no idea how involved with the rest of the passing game he would be after his role in a very gimmick-heavy college offense. Moore is being used in mesh, crossing routes and even in some drag routes early in the season. All signs point to a huge year for Rondale Moore.

Odafe Oweh:              

Odafe Oweh was instrumental in the Ravens 36-35 over the Chiefs on Sunday night football. Oweh was the creator of the two biggest plays for the Ravens defense, he caused the game-winning fumble against Clyde Edwards-Helaire which was the biggest play of the game and also pressed Mahomes into his first interception ever in the month of September. Furthermore Oweh also helped slow down the screen game and managed 3 tackles in the run game. Sunday night showed why the pre-draft concerns of his college production were very much overblown, Oweh is the prime example of an elite NFL athlete that can make huge plays at the pro level.

( Todd Olszewski/Getty Images )

Micah Parsons:

Michah Parsons has had a very impressive start to his NFL career and really stood out vs a high powered Chargers offense last weekend. Overall the Cowboys defense was not great, but Parsons flashed once again. Parsons finished the game with 4 QB hits, 1 sack and 2 tackles. Yes the tackle number if low, but that’s because he was lined up to rush the passer so much due to the injuries on the Cowboys defensive line. For a true linebacker his ability to speed rush good NFL tackles looks truly special early into the season, he is even putting his hand in the dirt and bull rushing starting offensive linemen. Parsons looks like an elite defensive prospect and certainly is favourite for defensive rookie of the year.

Asante Samuel Jr:

Another elite rookie performance comes from the Chargers vs Cowboys matchup. Asante Samuel Jr has learned the Brandon Staley scheme very quickly and put in an amazing performance vs a very good set of wide receivers on Sunday night. Samuel Jr finished the game with four tackles, one interception and three pass deflections vs one of the best set of pass catchers in the NFL. Samuel Jr is showing the ability to flourish in press man coverage, zone coverage and even in the run game. This will be vital for him in a defense that likes to play two high safeties and make it’s corners defend multiple areas of the field.

Cornerback (26) Asante Samuel, Jr. of the Los Angeles Chargers intercepts a pass and runs against the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. The Cowboys defeated the Chargers 20-17. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)
 (Jeff Lewis / Associated Press)

Stock Down:

Zach Wilson:

In college Zach Wilson did not play within structure very well and off platform throws were his bread and butter, week 2 showed why his past level of competition was going to lead to some ugly games in the NFL. One unwritten rule of the NFL is Bill Belichick loves playing rookie quarterbacks and this week vs the Jets was no different. Zach Wilson had a terrible performance vs this Patriots defense where he finished with 4 interceptions, a QBR of 8.8 and QB rating of 37. Wilson was throwing the ball into windows that were not open and not picking up free rushers from the Patriots front 7. Yes the Jets offensive line was a huge reason for this performance with them allowing 4 sacks and Wilson being under pressure the 2nd most of any QB from Sunday’s action. However Wilson was still not picking up the blitz and was throwing balls into areas of the field that he should not have. A very typical rookie performance vs a complex defense without the protection of a good offensive line, Wilson will need to improve in week 3 to give the Jets any chance of claiming their first win of the season.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2), left, scrambles for a first down during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
( Connor Hughes / The Athletic )

Jalen Mayfield:

Jalen is the only returning player from our week 1 report and unfortunately that is because once again he got abused by the opposing defensive line. Mayfield was PFF’s lowest graded rookie in week 1 and now again in week 2. He give up a league high pressure amount once again in week 2 for any guard, even though this was against the great offensive line of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons only gave up 1 sack in week 2, but pressure given up by Mayfield directly led to an interception and a dropped interception as well. Mayfield is really struggling vs any kind of speed rush or double move at the NFL level, watching the film he sets his feet too slowly and will need to improve his anchor if he wants to remain a starting guard for this Falcons team. Matt Ryan always struggles under pressure and Jalen Mayfield is one of the reasons why he has faced so much after 2 weeks of the season, I would add that the whole Falcons line is struggling early on in the season which does not help the rookie trying to adjust to the pro level.  

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