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2018 NFL Rookie Report: Week 3

It’s time for the weekly rookie report. Here is how nine of my favorite players from the 2018 NFL Draft are faring so far in their young careers. [Note: the ranking from my final 2018 Big Board is listed in parenthesis]


Josh Allen, Bills QB (2)

Last week (v LAC)

18/33 (54.5%), 245 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT // 8 carries, 32 yards

Season stats

50.0%, 319 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT // 12 carries, 58 yards

It wasn’t a great matchup for Josh Allen’s first career start, but he played well, especially considering many thought he wouldn’t even be ready to step on the field until 2019 or 2020. On one of Buffalo’s scoring drives, the No. 7 overall pick completed a 24-yard pass and then looked dangerous as a runner with three plays in a row of four, 14, and five yards to set up a one-yard touchdown by Chris Ivory. And while he definitely made some mistakes—the worst of which was a throw across his body into coverage that was intercepted—it could have been a lot worse. The Bills should be happy with a similar performance in the toughest matchup possible this weekend against Minnesota; I think we might see Allen do more damage as a runner to move the ball on the road.


Jaire Alexander, Packers CB (8)

Last week (v MIN)

8 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss

Season stats

11 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss

In Week 2, Jaire Alexander was defending Adam Thielen on what turned out to be the game-tying touchdown, but it was a dime by Kirk Cousins that was well defended by both the rookie and a safety over the top. Plus, Alexander made the game-sealing play before that until a very questionable roughing-the-passer penalty was called on Clay Matthews to keep the Vikings alive, and he also had a team-high in tackles, including a sack that pushed Minnesota back and led to a blocked punt. It’s early, but Green Bay’s first-round pick looks like a definite hit. We’ll see if he gets involved in the return game soon, perhaps as early as this week against the Redskins.


Christian Kirk, Cardinals WR (11)

Last week (@ LAR)

4 receptions, 27 yards

Season stats

5 receptions, 31 yards // 2 punt returns, 44 yards

The Arizona receivers not named Larry Fitzgerald are struggling to start the year, but the coaching staff is hoping a scaled-back playbook and game plan will help Christian Kirk and others play faster. Through two games, it seems like the Cardinals are calling way too many plays where multiple players are running short routes (which could be a product of the offensive line not having the players to hold up in protection), so I’d like to see them get some double moves against an aggressive Chicago secondary in Week 3. And with Larry Fitzgerald (who will play) nursing a hamstring injury, maybe Kirk will get more run in the slot—where he mostly played at Texas A&M.


Mike Gesicki, Dolphins TE (13)

Last week (@ NYJ)

No statistics

Season stats

1 reception, 11 yards

He didn’t catch a pass against the Jets, but Mike Gesicki is slowly working his way to the clear No. 1 tight end for Miami with 55% of the offensive snaps in Week 2 after 34% in his debut. Veteran A.J. Derby, on the other hand, handled 74% of the snaps in the opener before dropping to 57% last week. With DeVante Parker looking like he might be a weekly inactive or potential trade chip, it’s only a matter of time before Gesicki establishes himself as an elite touchdown threat in the red zone. He gets the Raiders on Sunday.


Kerryon Johnson, Lions RB (14)

Last week (@ SF)

8 carries, 43 yards // 5 receptions, 23 yards

Season stats

13 carries, 60 yards // 8 receptions, 43 yards

The 0-2 Lions might soon have no choice but to feature Kerryon Johnson, as he’s been a much more productive runner than LeGarrette Blount (2.9 yards per carry) and probably offers added explosiveness over Theo Riddick (4.4 yards per reception) in the passing game. The former Auburn star handling 18-20 touches would give Detroit their best chance of creating a balanced offense, and he’s going to break a big play eventually; the Lions could really use it against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football.


Josh Jackson, Packers CB (18)

Last week (v MIN)

4 tackles, 1 TD

Season stats

7 tackles, 1 TD

Josh Jackson was instrumental in Green Bay jumping out to an early lead against Minnesota, as he recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown to get the scoring started in a 29-29 tie. This week, the rookie corner could draw a start with Kevin King (groin) questionable for Sunday’s game against the Redskins, and I think that’d give the Packers their best trio of corners on the field. Even if King suits up or Davon House starts instead, though, Jackson might be used to shadow Jordan Reed (like he did Trey Burton in the second half of the opener) because he has the size and skills to stick with the athletic tight end.


Nick Chubb, Browns RB (19)

Last week (@ NO)

2 carries, 14 yards

Season stats

5 carries, 35 yards

Of course, Nick Chubb already had his Week 3 game, but I’ll talk about rookies that play on Thursday night in the subsequent rookie report. Against the Saints, Chubb was still used as the clear backup to Carlos Hyde, running for gains for eight and six yards on his only two touches while playing just 5% of the team’s offensive snaps. As long as that remains the case, the second-rounder will probably need to wait until 2019 to make a significant and extended impact.


Lorenzo Carter, Giants OLB (21)

Last week (@ DAL)

3 tackles

Season stats

4 tackles, 1 deflection

The Giants tightened up defensively after allowing a 64-yard touchdown to Tavon Austin on the first possession of the the game last Sunday night, but they didn’t have much juice getting after Dak Prescott when they needed it. Lorenzo Carter played just 40% of the team’s defensive snaps in the loss, so I think New York needs to double that to get their pass rush going. Fortunately for them and the rookie, Houston’s offensive line has allowed seven sacks through two weeks and haven’t kept the pocket clean for Deshaun Watson, so we’ll see if he gets on the board in Week 3.


Anthony Miller, Bears WR (28)

Last week (v SEA)

2 receptions, 11 yards, 1 TD // 1 kick return, 14 yards

Season stats

4 receptions, 25 yards, 1 TD // 1 kick return. 14 yards

Anthony Miller was able to get loose for a ten-yard score in last week’s win over the Seahawks, and he celebrated with a hilarious Fortnite dance—at least I think, I’m not exactly sure—after easily shaking cornerback Akeem King in one-on-one coverage to get open in the end zone. The Monday Night Football broadcast notably said that Miller claims he will be the one of the best ever when he’s done playing, and that’s a good mindset to have as long as his confidence doesn’t turn into cockiness. He should be able to make an impact this weekend against the Cardinals.


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