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2018 NFL Rookie Report: Week 15

The rookies have three more weeks to impress as the 2018 NFL season nears a conclusion. [Note: the ranking from my final 2018 Big Board is listed in parenthesis]


Josh Allen, Bills QB (2)

Last week (v NYJ)

18/36 (50.0%), 206 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT // 9 carries, 101 yards, 1 TD

Season stats

52.4%, 1,429 yards, 5 TD, 9 INT // 66 carries, 490 yards, 5 TD

The passing numbers aren’t great, but the same people who complain about Baker Mayfield (with an elite offensive, stud rookie running back, and a $15-million receiver) or Josh Rosen (with a superstar back and Hall of Fame wideout) not having enough help decline to bring up Josh Allen having the worst supporting cast in the league. Still, the 22-year-old has kept Buffalo in every game besides his first start (31-20 loss v LAC) and first road start (22-0 loss @ GB), and he became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games—which would have been three in a row if not for kneel downs getting him to 99 yards in a win over the Jaguars. Short of an MVP and/or championship, Allen will always have doubters, but those who know who actually watch the games sound like believers.


Jaire Alexander, Packers CB (8)

Last week (v ATL)

10 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 tackle for loss // 2 punt returns, 0 yards

Season stats

59 tackles, 1 interception, 11 passes defended, 0.5 sack, 3.5 tackles for loss // 4 punt returns, 25 yards

Julio Jones was able to get the better of Jaire Alexander last week for 80+ yards and a score, but the rookie battled against one of the league’s all-time great receivers, and he certainly held his own for a 21-year-old. More importantly, Alexander continues to set the tone on defense with a career-high ten tackles, and he leads all NFL cornerbacks with 55 solo tackles this season. Everyone is talking about Derwin James or Leighton Vander Esch as the Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Alexander deserves serious consideration.


Christian Kirk, Cardinals WR (11)

Last week (v DET)

DNP – IR (foot)

Season stats

43 receptions, 590 yards, 3 TD // 3 carries, 35 yards // 21 punt returns, 164 yards


Mike Gesicki, Dolphins TE (13)

Last week (v NE)

No statistics recorded

Season stats

18 receptions, 156 yards

Mike Gesicki was held without a catch for the second week in a row, but he at least drew a start and was targeted once against the Patriots. The Penn State product has the talent to be a difference-maker over the final three weeks as Miami looks to sneak into the playoffs, but the Dolphins haven’t given him 50/50 balls in the red zone since very early in the season.


Kerryon Johnson, Lions RB (14)

Last week (@ ARI)

DNP – knee 

Season stats

118 carries, 641 yards, 3 TD // 32 receptions, 213 yards, 1 TD

It doesn’t look like Kerryon Johnson will get a shot at 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie, but Detroit is wise to not push him in a season that won’t end in a playoff appearance. Perhaps he will get on the field for matchups against Minnesota and Green Bay to close out the year.


Josh Jackson, Packers CB (18)

Last week (v ATL)

3 tackles, 2 passes defended

Season stats

43 tackles, 8 passes defended, 1 tackle for loss, 1 TD

In the first game since Kevin King (hamstring) was played on injured reserve, the Packers decided to start Jaire Alexander and Tony Brown on the outside with Josh Jackson in the slot. He’s often played inside this season and did so at times in college, but I think Green Bay would be better off keeping Jackson on the perimeter to pair with Alexander for 2019 and beyond. We’ll see if it was a matchup thing against Atlanta, but staying in the slot would set up a matchup with highlighted rookie Anthony Miller on Sunday in Chicago.


Nick Chubb, Browns RB (19)

Last week (v CAR)

13 carries, 66 yards, 1 TD // 4 receptions, 17 yards

Season stats

144 carries, 760 yards, 8 TD // 16 receptions, 150 yards, 2 TD

Nick Chubb has arguably been the best running back in the league since taking over as the starter for Cleveland, as he’s averaging 105.3 yards per game with eight total touchdowns in seven games. Last week, Chubb churned out tough yards on somewhat limited opportunities, and it will be fun to see him for a primetime game against Denver’s stout run defense on Saturday night. While the Offensive Rookie of the Year award has basically been given to Saquon Barkley already, Chubb will reach 1,000 yards—despite not starting for two months—if he can average 80.0 rushing yards per game over the final three weeks.


Lorenzo Carter, Giants OLB (21)

Last week (@ WAS)

5 tackles, 1.0 sack

Season stats

35 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 2 deflections

After missing Week 13 with a hip injury, Lorenzo Carter returned to record his third sack of the year in a 40-16 victory over the Redskins. The rookie pass-rusher has flashed his scary potential at times this season, and he should be a force when he puts everything together for New York. This week, he will face Tennessee backup right tackle Dennis Kelly, and it will be crucial to set the edge against Derrick Henry so he can’t get momentum going into the second level.


Anthony Miller, Bears WR (28)

Last week (v LAR)

1 kick return, 20 yards

Season stats

30 receptions, 399 yards, 6 TD // 3 carries, 15 yards // 2 kick returns, 34 yards

The Bears only had 110 passing yards in a defensive battle last week, so Anthony Miller was held without a catch for the first time in his career. However, the rookie did get a shot at a kick return for the first time since Week 2, and he might be able to provide a spark at some point if he keeps the role into the postseason. We’ll see how Miller does against Josh Jackson and the Packers this weekend, but I think his change-of-direction skills could present a problem for Green Bay’s rookie corner.

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