Photo Credit: Associated Press
The football season is underway and most rookies got their first taste of the NFL and officially began their careers. We saw the top two picks of the draft battle in a head-to-head match and two of the top ranked running backs clash in a hard fought game. These rookies each had different performances, so below is a recap of all the rookie action.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
Mariota had a debut to remember on Sunday. He threw for four touchdowns to go along with 209 passing yards in the Titans 42-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In addition to that, he also had a perfect passer rating (158.3), making him the first player in NFL history to have a perfect passer rating in his professional debut.
Mariota’s excellent play also rejuvenated the players around him, especially Bishop Sankey, the second year running back who fell short of expectations last season.
Sankey rushed for 74 yards, and accumulated two total touchdowns. Mariota’s impressive debut hints that Tennessee’s days of being a losing team may be coming to an end.
Debut Grade: A+
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston was on the other side of Mariota’s dominant display, and he can’t say the same for himself.
Winston struggled in his first start, and it definitely hurt his confidence. The Buccaneers got hammered by his rival’s new team, and suddenly the hype around Winston is declining.
However, Winston wasn’t that bad. Mike Evans was out, so he was missing a vital part of the Tampa offense. He also found immediate chemistry with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
It’s too early to judge him now, but he needs to step it up these next few weeks for a young Tampa Bay team.
Debut Grade: C-
Ameer Abdullah: RB, Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions defensive coordinator said it best, “We can’t tackle him”.
Abdullah had an impressive debut, scoring a 24-yard touchdown on his first professional carry. To go along with that, he also got more carries than starter, Joique Bell.
He was returning kicks and getting receptions out of the backfield. Abdullah finished with a total of 199 All-Purpose yards and that lone touchdown on his first carry.
Abdullah showed a lot of promising signs, and since Bell and Theo Riddick struggled, he is in for a larger role this season.
Debut Grade: A
Melvin Gordon: RB, San Diego Chargers
Gordon got off to a rocky start on Sunday, he had a remarkable 21-yard touchdown taken back and lost a fumble.
The Chargers did win the game, but fans are worrying about their first round pick. Gordon rushed for a total of 51 yards on 14 carries and caught three passes for 16 yards.
While he was noticeably outplayed by fellow rookie Ameer Abdullah, he showed he could be a solid back for San Diego.
Danny Woodhead also got a fair share of carries, especially in the red zone, which took away from Gordon’s total performance. Gordon had a nice first game,and will need to prove he was worth the Chargers’ first round pick.
Debut Grade: C
Amari Cooper, WR Oakland Raiders
Cooper was the first receiver off the board in the draft and had a decent first game as a pro.
The Crimson Tide alum finished with a team high 47 yards on five receptions. He has quickly found chemistry with rising quarterback Derek Carr and is becoming a dangerous threat to opposing defenses.
Carr left the game early, so Cooper would have most likely seen more targets with him in the game. Cooper is the lead receiver for Oakland and from here on out, he should see a steady incline of playing time and production.
Debut Grade: B+