Rookie Watch – Week 7

Stock Up

Ja’Marr Chase:

Week 7 was another amazing week for the Bengals rookie wide receiver as he was the star of the show in the Bengals 41-17 win over the Ravens, after another huge week Chase is on pace for the best rookie season ever for a wide receiver. Chase ended the game with 201 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions, his receiving touchdown was a play that the Ravens should have stopped but Chase still had to make the most of the missed tackles. Aside from his 70-yard slant route he managed to get open all day against a very physical set of cornerbacks, he had 5 of his receptions vs star Ravens corner Marlon Humphrey.

This game vs the Ravens was another prime example of how Chase has managed to help the entire Bengals offense, you could see that the speed at which he gets open was allowing Joe Burrow to get the ball out quick before the Ravens could get pressure on the Quarterback, this has helped their offensive line which is still one of the weaker lines in the AFC. The rate at which Chase can get separation is only allowing this entire offense to flourish in the passing game. The pre-season media concerns over his dropped passes, lack of speed, and separation downfield all look to have been overblown now as Chase proves he is one of the best receivers in the NFL, if Burrow and Chase can continue this connection for the entire season the Bengals are going to be a real problem for NFL defenders.

Bengals Rookie Ja'Marr Chase Explodes on Ravens Defense
Photo by Gail Burton/AP Photo

Elijah Mitchell:

49ers rookie running back Elijah Mitchell has been a breath of fresh air for this offense during Mostert’s injury and Trey Sermon’s struggle, which is impressive for a late-round pick. The 49ers lost a tough game vs the Colts on Sunday night football but Mitchell was a bright spark at least on offense, Mitchell finished the game with 107 rushing yards, 6 yards per carry, and one touchdown. Mitchell has been averaging over 6 yards a carry for the entire season, which is extremely vital for an offense built around the run game like the 49ers is.

75 yards of Mitchell’s 107 yards all came in the first half and it does seem like they abandoned the run too early in the 2nd half, this decision did lead to a really poor 2nd half by Jimmy Garoppolo and this offense.  In the first half, Mitchell was making defenders miss at a very high rate, even on inside zone runs he was making the first defender miss. The 49ers really value running backs with elite speed and that is something Mitchell has over fellow rookie Sermon, with more performances like this, I would expect Mitchell to keep growing in this offense.

49ers news: Has Elijah Mitchell's success made it OK that Trey Sermon is an  afterthought? - Niners Nation
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Nick Bolton:

The Kansas City Chiefs had a terrible day vs the Titans last weekend and the defense was torn apart once again. However 2nd round pick Nick Bolton had his best performance of the season vs Derrick Henry, Bolton had 9 tackles, 6 assisted tackles, and had the most tackles for loss any linebacker has ever managed vs Derrick Henry. The Chiefs were run blitzing Nick Bolton in the A & B gap throughout the Titans game due to their confidence in Bolton being able to slow Henry down at first contact.Bolton still showed his weakness in coverage on a few occasions but with his lack of speed I would expect this to be an issue for his entire NFL career, he will always be a run stuffing mic linebacker at his best.

Also due to the Chiefs missing Anthony Hitchens Bolton got the chance to start at the mic position and also wear the green dot throughout his time on the field. If Bolton is paired with an athletic linebacker such as Willie Gay that allows Bolton to focus on the run game and trying to help control the line of scrimmage. These are very positives signs for Bolton’s progress and his future at starting for the defense.  

Nick Bolton's 15 Tackles vs. Titans Shows Future Might be Now for Chiefs  Rookie – Chiefs Digest
Photo by Matt Derrick/Chiefs Digest

Stock Down:

Justin Fields:

The Chicago Bears suffered a tough 38-3 loss to the Buccaneers this weekend and a large part of that was due to the struggles of Justin Fields. Fields ended the game with 3 interceptions and 2 fumbles, all of these turnovers also led to scores for the Tampa Bay offense. These turnovers will continue to be an issue if Fields does not speed up his time to throw the football.

Fields showed his main weakness of holding the ball for too long again this week, which allowed the defense to pile the pressure on him and blanket the Bears receivers. Between Fields holding the ball to long, staring down receivers, and a weakened offensive line the Buccaneers finished the game with 4 sacks as well. The Bears offensive line is a big factor for this but studies have shown most sacks will be partly the fault of the quarterback at least, Fields needs to realise how this offense is playing and speed up his process.

Although not all of this can be blamed on Fields, Matt Nagy still has to share a large proportion of the blame for not getting Fields on the run more, not calling enough roll outs and not using him enough in the run game. If Nagy could increase the play action and quarterback run game then Fields will be able to succeed more in this offense. Allen Robinson fantasy owners do not me to tell them that if Nagy and Fields do not improve as a tandem soon this offense could be hard work to watch all season.

Justin Fields continues to struggle and the Bears are doing him no favors.  What will the McCaskeys do about it? – The Athletic
Photo by Kim Klement/USA Today

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