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2019 NFL Rookie Report: Week 5

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


Josh Allen, Jaguars DE (1)

Last week (@ DEN)

2 tackles

Season stats

12 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble

The Jaguars surprisingly struggled to get after Joe Flacco (303 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception) with zero sacks in last week’s win, but they are still tied for first place in the AFC South, and the defensive line should have more success this week against Carolina. I’ll be interested to see if Allen ends up getting more work as a linebacker as the season progresses.


Christian Wilkins, Dolphins DL (3)

Last week (v LAC)

5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss

Season stats

17 tackles, 1 tackle for loss

Through four weeks, Wilkins leads all rookie defensive linemen in tackles by a decent margin (Josh Allen is second with 12), and he also recorded his first TFL in Week 4. Head coach Brian Flores called the No. 13 overall pick “the face” of the team in terms of culture and everything he brings to the table, so his ability to stuff the run and generate pressure up the middle is only a part of Wilkins’ value.


Deandre Baker, Giants CB (6)

Last week (v WAS)

2 tackles

Season stats

14 tackles

As I said after a rough start to his career, Baker isn’t the first rookie cornerback to struggle—and he’s quickly bounced back with two excellent performances in back-to-back wins. An upcoming five-day stretch (against the Vikings on Sunday and then in New England next Thursday night) won’t be easy, but Baker should be up for the challenge as he continues to gain confidence.


Dexter Lawrence, Giants DL (7)

Last week (v WAS)

1 tackle

Season stats

8 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 blocked kick

The box score doesn’t tell the whole story, but Lawrence once again showed he can get after the quarterback last week (he arguably should have been credited with a half-sack), and his mobility continues to surprise people that didn’t actually watch him play for Clemson. The rookie’s biggest contribution will come against the run, though, and stopping Dalvin Cook will be key to extending the team’s winning streak to three games.


A.J. Brown, Titans WR (9)

Last week (@ ATL)

3 receptions, 94 yards, 2 touchdowns

Seasons stats

10 receptions, 223 yards, 2 touchdowns

I’ll never understand how Brown slipped to the middle of the second round, as he has all the traits of a dominant No. 1 receiver, and he showed that on Sunday with two touchdowns in the first quarter. First, he displayed his top-end speed with a 55-yard catch-and-run for six, then he followed it up with an awesome over-the-shoulder grab in the end zone that Marcus Mariota placed perfectly. Brown needs to be the team’s top option in the passing game every week.


Brian Burns, Panthers OLB (10)

Last week (@ HOU)

2 tackles, 0.5 sack

Season stats

11 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 tackle for loss

Burns’ play has been good enough to earn him NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month honors for September, and he is arguably the leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year through four games. Against Houston, Burns got after Deshaun Watson and was also to make an impact on special teams by tipping a punt in a 16-10 victory. Next up is a matchup against the elusive Gardner Minshew.


Daniel Jones, Giants QB (18)

Last week (v WAS)

23/31 (74.2%), 225 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT /// 5 attempts, 33 yards

Season stats

69.0%, 578 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT /// 10 attempts, 66 yards, 2 TD

He tossed a couple of interceptions in last week’s win over the Redskins, but it may actually be good for Jones to get them out of the way ahead of two really difficult matchups (v MIN, @ NE) as the Giants look to keep pace in the NFC East. Jones—who didn’t take a sack last week—will still be without Saquon Barkley (ankle) on Sunday, but Golden Tate returns from a four-game suspension, and he may not need to do too much if Minnesota’s offensive struggles continue. New York would be thrilled with a split.


Justin Layne, Steelers CB (19)

Last week (v CIN)

No statistics recorded

Season stats

No statistics recorded

Layne was active in Week 3 to play some special teams, but he was a healthy scratch for the third time in four games when Pittsburgh topped Cincinnati on Monday night, 27-3. The defense is playing well, so Layne likely needs an injury to see meaningful action.


Jaquan Johnson, Bills S (23)

Last week (v NE)

No statistics recorded

Season stats

No statistics recorded

Johnson suited up for the first time this season in Buffalo’s biggest game of the year, and while he didn’t make a significant impact, the rookie ended up playing most of the snaps on special teams.


Chase Winovich, Patriots DE (32)

Last week (@ BUF)

1 tackle, 1.0 sack

Season stats

5 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 1 tackle for loss

Despite seeing his playing time decrease in every game this season, Winovich—who played seven defensive snaps in New England’s win over the Bills—leads all rookies in sacks after getting to Josh Allen for an effort takedown on a big third down. Bill Belichick relied more on the experience of older players in a close win, but Winovich may see his snap count increase if the Pats handle the Redskins this weekend.


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