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2019 NFL Rookie Report: Week 2

The ranking from my 2019 NFL Draft Big Board is listed in parenthesis.


Josh Allen, Jaguars DE (1)

Last week (v KC)

2 tackles

I thought the Jaguars would at least keep it close against the Chiefs, but Nick Foles (collarbone) going down in the first half hurt their chances and didn’t really give Allen or the rest of the pass rushers an opportunity to get after Patrick Mahomes. Still, the rookie played 75% of the team’s defensive snaps, and he looks like their only healthy impact player up front with Calais Campbell (foot) and Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring) banged up already. We’ll see if Sunday can be a breakout game for Allen against Houston’s shaky offensive line.


Christian Wilkins, Dolphins DL (3)

Last week (v BAL)

4 tackles

A lot of Miami’s season will be burn-the-tape stuff based on what we saw in Week 1, but Wilkins is going to play hard every week, and his positivity will be key for a team that will endure plenty of losses. No one in the media seemed to think Wilkins was an elite prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, but it sounds like Bill Belichick did, as he called the Clemson product “an outstanding player” this week, noting that the Dolphins “addressed the defensive line in the draft with Wilkins.”


Deandre Baker, Giants CB (6)

Last week (@ DAL)

2 tackles

After not allowing a touchdown in his final two seasons at Georgia, Baker got beat by Amari Cooper for a 21-yard score in his NFL debut, and it unfortunately was a forgettable afternoon/evening for the 22-year-old when he was on the field (46% snaps played). He wasn’t alone in struggling, though, as New York seemed lost on the backend, so we’ll see if Baker—who is expected to see more playing time in Week 2—can improve in a better spot against Buffalo.


Dexter Lawrence, Giants DL (7)

Last week (@ DAL)

1 tackle

Lawrence also saw limited action in his first game, but Dallas spreading things out (as opposed to going under center and pounding the ball with Ezekiel Elliott) played against the rookie’s strengths. We can expect more heavy personnel from the Bills this weekend, and it will be fun to see Lawrence try to get to quarterback Josh Allen on play-action passes that turn into scrambles. A big reason I was excited about the Giants this year was Lawrence and Baker as defensive additions, so hopefully we see them play a full complement of snaps sooner rather than later.


A.J. Brown, Titans WR (9)

Last week (@ CLE)

3 receptions, 100 yards

He was listed as Tennessee’s No. 4 receiver to start the year, but Brown may quickly climb to the top of the depth chart if Week 1 was any indication. On his first NFL target (on the team’s opening drive), he beat Denzel Ward for a 47-yard gain, but the more impressive play was a 51-yard catch-and-run that showed everything that made Brown an elite receiver prospect coming out of Ole Miss. I think everyone will wonder how he lasted until the middle of the second round by the end of the year.


Brian Burns, Panthers OLB (10)

Last week (v LAR)

2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss

The highlight for Burns’ debut was a stuff of Robert Woods on a reverse play that Sean McVay’s offense usually has success with, but the rookie wasn’t fooled at all. While the No. 16 overall pick will mostly be used on passing downs, he ended up playing 57% of the snaps in Week 1 with Bruce Irvin out. Last night’s game against the Bucs—where Burns recorded his first career sack—will be talked about in next week’s Rookie Report.


Daniel Jones, Giants QB (18)

Last week (@ DAL)

3/4 (75%), 17 yards /// 1 attempt, 5 yards

The Giants were surely hoping that Jones would only see playing time this year for blowouts in their favor, but with Dallas dominating on Sunday, the young signal-caller got his first taste of regular season action. Although Jones lost a fumble on his only drive, we were able to see his underrated athleticism on display after he mostly did damage through the air last month. If New York can’t take at least one game the rest of the month (v BUF, @ TB, v WAS), it might not be long before Jones makes starts.


Justin Layne, Steelers CB (19)

Last week (@ NE)

No statistics recorded

Layne was a healthy inactive for Week 1, but with Joe Haden (shoulder) now injured, we could see Pittsburgh’s third-round pick not only be active on Sunday, but also play significant snaps. If so, he may be matched up against Seahawks rookie D.K. Metcalf, which would be a really fun battle for two guys with similar size/athleticism on the boundary.


Jaquan Johnson, Bills S (23)

Last week (@ NYJ)

No statistics recorded

Another healthy inactive for the opener, Johnson was never expected to have a defensive role to open his career because of how loaded Buffalo’s secondary is, but it’s a surprise that he wasn’t on the gameday roster as a potential special teams standout. However, the Bills keeping five safeties on the roster suggests they remain encouraged about Johnson’s long-term outlook.


Chase Winovich, Patriots DE (32)

Last week (v PIT)

1 tackle

Starting his career in primetime, Winovich didn’t make a huge impact on the stat sheet, but he generated a pressure on Ben Roethlisberger with a nice move to beat Pro Bowl left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, and the rookie ended up playing the second most snaps at defensive end for New England. Also, as I said last week, Winovich “knows how to annoy opponents,” and he talked trash to Big Ben after he tossed an interception in the final minutes of the Pats’ 33-3 victory—prompting guard David DeCastro to get in the rookie’s face.


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