First-Rounders In Focus: Wk 1
With the first look in the books, Khaled Elsayed checks in on the NFL debut for each of the 32 first-round picks.
First-Rounders In Focus: Wk 1
What a first week in the NFL? We’ve seen a ton of close games and a ton of fantastic performances. We even highlighted a fair few of them in our Team of the Week.
But now we’re going to change tack and give you a different kind of breakdown. We know you love to see how the rookies are doing so it’s only fair that we break down the snaps, stats and grades of all of them. Just for you.
It’s the First Rounders in Focus.
1.Eric Fisher, T, Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: A solid if unspectacular first showing from Fisher who would give up three hurries on 37 pass rushes. The disappointing thing, as it was during preseason, was his work in the run game which netted him a negative grade.
2. Luke Joeckel, T, Jacksonville Jaguars
Analysis: Had some issues in pass protection, getting beat for a sack and four hurries to end the day with a 92.2 Pass Blocking Efficiency rating that was only the 42nd best out of 65 qualifying tackles. He’ll have easier tests than the combo of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
3. Dion Jordan, DE, Miami Dolphins
Analysis: Don’t expect a heavy snap count out of Jordan. He’s purely a situational pass rusher right now and that’s what he spent Sunday doing. He was on the field enough to rush the passer 15 times and pick up his first sack in the process (though he didn’t get anything else).
4. Lane Johnson, T, Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: Quite the debut from Johnson who excelled in the Eagles’ opening day victory. It was his run blocking that really stood out, earning the highest grade of any tackle in this regard.
5. Ezekial Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions
Analysis: Found himself upstaged by Willie Young and that may allow the Lions to ease in their top round pick. Still got on the field for a healthy 27 snaps (Young saw 29) where only a penalty dropped him to a negative grade. Good return of a sack and three hurries on debut.
6. Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Cleveland Browns
Analysis: Cleared for action in Week 2 after missing the opener.
7. Jonathan Cooper, G, Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: Out for the year with a broken leg.
8. Tavon Austin, WR, St Louis Rams
Analysis: It may have been the “Jared Cook Show” in Week 1 but Austin quietly made his presence felt, catching six of his seven targets for 41 yards with a Rams receiver leading 1.64 Yards Per Route Run and a couple of first downs for good measure.
9. Dee Milliner, CB, New York Jets
Analysis: The Jets’ No. 2 cornerback played every snap of the Week 1 win over the Bucs, giving up his first touchdown as he allowed 4-of-9 passes into his coverage for 65 yards.
10. Chance Warmack, G, Tennessee Titans
Analysis: Solid start with Warmack displaying some of the blocking in the run game that made him such a sought after product. Just want the Titans wanted.
11. D.J. Fluker, T, San Diego Chargers
Analysis: We didn’t see this coming. Fluker would give up just a hit and a hurry as his pass protection held up, while his run blocking was poor. It was the exact opposite of his play in preseason and the word coming out on him in college.
12. D.J. Hayden, CB, Oakland Raiders
Analysis: Will expect to be starting soon if the more experienced Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins don’t step it up. He himself didn’t have a great start allowing all three balls into his coverage to be complete for 37 yards.
13. Sheldon Richardson, DE, New York Jets
Analysis: Getting plenty of action (he missed just three snaps) Richardson was fantastic against the run, picking up four defensive stops as he showed off his relentless motor. The team will want to see more pressure than the one clean up sack he picked up on 31 pass rushers.
14. Star Lotulelei, DT, Carolina Panthers
Analysis: A fine debut from a guy who looks every bit the run defender as advertised. 11.8% of his run defense plays saw him pick up a defensive stop as the Seahawks’ interior struggled to get to grips with him.
15. Kenny Vaccaro, S, New Orleans Saints
Analysis: Was an every-down player as the Saints got him a host of work, but let himself down a tad when he was flagged for a silly penalty. Didn’t impress against the run where even Tony Gonzalez had joy against him, but looked the part in coverage.
16. E.J. Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills
Analysis: Finished ninth overall in our Accuracy Percentage ratings as he did his best to make Buffalo competitive against the Patriots. The kind of debut you’re grateful for from a rookie quarterback.
17. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Is being eased into things behind Jason Worilds and didn’t get much of a chance to show his talents off with the Titans intent on running the clock out. Upshot was of his 30 snaps only six were rushing the passer.
18. Eric Reid, S, San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: Walked away with a first career pick but couldn’t get a better grade after missing a couple of tackles. Still made the loss of Dashon Goldson something that was easy to forget.
19. Justin Pugh, T, New York Giants
Analysis: While his more experienced tackle teammate William Beatty was getting his backside handed to him, Pugh was doing a stand up job in comparison. He did get beat for four hurries but it could have been much worse.
20. Kyle Long, G, Chicago Bears
Analysis: Struggled at times against the fearsome Bengals pass rush, looking a little lost with what he was doing. At other times, though, showed the kind of top-end talent that excites you in linemen.
21. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Analysis: After a relatively quiet preseason made an immediate impression, breaking two tackles on his five receptions and holding his own with his perimeter blocking.
22. Desmond Trufant, CB, Atlanta Falcons
Analysis: Didn’t look out of place against the Saints in an encouraging debut. Did still allow 4-of-5 balls into his coverage, but his pass break-up will be the kind of play Falcons fans are hoping to see more of.
23. Shariff Floyd, DT, Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: Saw a lot of action with Kevin Williams but couldn’t bring his preseason form to the regular one. Better against the run as he picked up no pressure and just the one batted pass. Sense there is more to come.
24. Bjorn Werner, OLB, Indianapolis Colts
Analysis: Took his preseason form into the regular season as he struggled to make a case for more playing time. As it was in preseason he looked out of place against the run and of his two hurries one came unblocked.
25. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: An inauspicious debut. Flagged for a penalty on special teams and a defensive pass interference as well as a first down. Could have been much worse with Calvin Johnson on the field.
26. Datone Jones, DE, Green Bay Packers
Analysis: Purely a situational player at this point, the team are obviously counting on him to pick up pressure from their sub package defense (from which he operated exclusively). Still the outcome was zero pressure on 14 snaps. Not a great start.
27. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
Analysis: He’s only one game in, but Hopkins is starting to show the Texans what a legitimate No. 2 receiver can look like. He hauled in 5-of-6 targets for 66 yards and four first downs.
28. Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver Broncos
Analysis: Carried over his preseason anonymity into the Broncos opener, earning just the 16 snaps and drawing a blank on the stat sheet. Not a player you notice much on an NFL field right now.
29. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: When you see just five snaps it’s hard to make much of an impression, though Patterson did reel in his one target for a 10-yard catch.
30. Alec Ogletree, LB, St Louis Rams
Analysis: There’s some good and some bad with Ogletree who can fly to the ball (as his eight tackles suggest), but can be put into unfavorable positions by his over enthusiasm and the talent of blockers in this league.
31. Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: After his preseason you worried he might get thrown around a bit by the Giants’ powerful front. He didn’t, though, and that’s encouraging.
32. Matt Elam, S, Baltimore Ravens
Analysis: Spent most of the game on the sidelines as he let Michael Huff make a case for Elam to be starting.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled