TC56 NFL ROOKIE REPORT: WEEK 9

Week 9 brought us 3 very good quarterback performances, even with Joe Burrow and the Bengals on a bye week. Despite this week being pretty average for rookies, the latest edition of the TC56 Rookie List boasts 1 undrafted rookie, a 6th, and 7th round pick. This season has had a rash of injuries and or course Covid-19 issue. These factors are putting late round draft picks in a position to prove themselves as they may not have been able to in prior seasons. The combination of intriguing rookie match ups and surprise contributions from relatively unknowns has made this rookie class very entertaining.

TOP 5 ROOKIE PERFORMANCES WEEK 9

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

  1. QB – Justin Herbert – 6’6” 236 – Oregon – 1st Round pick (6th Overall) vs Denver Broncos (L, 31-26)

Game Day Stats:  28-42 Completion / 326 passing yards / 2 touchdown passes / 0 interceptions / 5 carries / 24 yards

Justin Herbert is 1-6 as a starter in his rookie season. The combined deficit in those 6 losses is 24 points. This week’s loss stung a little bit more than the rest. Herbert with 4:37 to go methodically led his team down the field going 8 of 12 completions and getting his team down to the 4 yard line with 1 second remaining. Herbert threw a perfect fade ball to Donald Parham for what appeared to be the game winning touchdown pass. The play was reviewed and overturned because the receiver did not complete the catch all the way to the ground. Herbert like a seasoned pro stood up at his press conference and answered all the questions with poise after a frustrating loss. His play was once again excellent, particularly handling the blitz and standing strong in the pocket. Next week verses the Dolphins and fellow rookie Tua Tagovailoa should be fun.

Performance Rating: 4.5

Next Game: at Miami Dolphins 4:05 Sunday

MIAMI DOLPHINS

2. QB – Tua Tagovailoa – 6’0” 217 – Alabama – 1st Round pick (5th overall) vs. Arizona Cardinals (W, 34-31)

Game Day Stats: 28-42 Completion / 326 passing yards / 2 touchdown passes / 0 interceptions / 5 carries / 24 yards

So far so good for the Alabama stand out. Tua is now 2-0 as a starter with an impressive win over the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray, 2019 number # 1 pick, was fantastic on Sunday and Tua matched him step for step in a very entertaining quarterback duel. He was very accurate throwing the underneath routes, had good touch on fade balls, ran the zone read well, and was very elusive in the open field. Tua legs looked healthy moving around in the pocket. He gets his chance to go 3-0 as a starter against sensational rookie quarterback Justin Herbert

Performance Rating: 4.2

Next Game: vs. Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 Sunday

DENVER BRONCOS:

3. WR – Jerry Jeudy – 6’1” 193 – Alabama – 1ST Round pick (15th Overall) – vs. Atlanta Falcons (L, 34-27)

Game Stats: 7 receptions / 125 receiving yards / 1 touchdown

Jerry Jeudy was the best route runner in a deep wide receiver draft. He has struggled early on with drops and getting involved in the offense. In week 9 Jeudy finally broke out. He recorded his first career 100 yard game and was a big part of the offense. The last two weeks, the rookie wide outs targets have doubled from an average of 6 in the first 6 weeks to 12 in the last 2. His slick route running and ability to work the sidelines should make him a prime target for Drew Lock down the stretch.

Performance Rating: 3.9

Next Game: vs. Las Vegas Raiders 4:05 Sunday

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

QB – Jake Luton – 6’6” 224 – Oregon State – 6th Round pick (189th Overall) vs Houston Texans (L, 27-25)

Game Day Stats:  26-38 Completion / 304 passing yards / 1 touchdown pass / 1 interception / 1 carry / 13 yards / 1 rushing touchdown

Jake Luton made his first start on Sunday and opened some eyes around the league. Luton had strong pocket presence with his big 6’6” frame. He stood tall in the pocket and delivered the football with force. Luton threw an impressive touchdown pass to DJ Chark right in stride for a 73 yard touchdown. The fifth rookie quarterback to make a start this year also showed some ability to run when he scrambled from 13 yards out for a score. He threw an impressive stiff arm and perhaps the slowest spin move of all time to get into the end zone for 6. Jake will get another start this week at Lambeau field in Green Bay.

Performance Rating: 3.9

Next Game: at Green Bay Packers 1:00pm Sunday

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

RB – James Robinson – 5’10” 225 – Illinois State – Undrafted – vs. Houston Texans (L, 27-25)

Game Day Stats: 25 carries / 99 rushing yards / 1 touchdown / 7 first downs

After the bye week, James Robinson was back to being the workhorse for the Jags offense. Robinson did his best work between the tackles showing his power. The Jaguars leading rusher is usually involved more with the passing game as a receiver however, the game plan appeared to be more smash mouth football to help rookie quarterback James Luton in his first start. Robinson recorded a career high in carries and scored his rookie leading 7th touchdown this week.

Performance Rating: 3.8

Next Game: at Green Bay Packers 1:00pm Sunday

SLEEPER 6

WASHINGTON

S – Kamren Curl – Arkansas – 6’1” 206 – 7th Round (216th Overall) vs. New York Giants (L, 23-20)

Game day Stats: 11 total tackles / 1 sack / 2 QB hits

Curl got his first start of the season in the place of the injured Landon Collins. Curl stepped up big time in a close loss to the Giants. Curl is a box safety, very good against the run, and can contribute in the blitz game. His physical play matches not only what his coaches are looking for but also is a great addition to a young talented defense. The Arkansas product got some hits on Daniel Jones and got to him for his first career sack. The sack came at an important time of the game on 3rd and 6 with 2:05 to go and Washington down by 3. With Landon Collins missing the rest of the season, Curl should get his opportunity to earn a starting spot for 2021.

Performance Rating: 3.75

Next Game: at Detroit Lions 1:00pm Sunday

Week 9 2020 Draft Class Match ups Results:

Baltimore Ravens RB – JK Dobbins vs. Indianapolis Colts RB – Jonathan Taylor

  • I have been swinging and missing with some of these match ups. Taylor managed a touchdown in the game but also lost a fumble a well. JK Dobbins put together only 30 yards on 12 carries. Both players have been inconsistent. It’s a draw.

Jeff Okudah CB – Detroit Lions vs. Justin Jefferson WR Minnesota Vikings

  • Okudah is struggling right now in the first half of his rookie year. When covering Jefferson he only was targeted once. Jefferson beat him off the line and separated from him on a mesh route over the middle for 22 yards. Although he didn’t get into the end zone, two of Jefferson’s catches set up touchdowns. Justin Jefferson is moving on up and he is your winner.

Week 10 2020 Draft Class Match up:

Miami Dolphins QB – Tua Tagovailoa vs. LA Chargers QB – Justin Herbert

  • This is the matchup I was waiting for. These two quarterback’s careers are going to be linked together forever. Tua drafted 5th and Herbert drafted 6th. Herbert has gotten off to a fast start getting better every week. Tua has scored two wins as a starter against two potential NFC playoff teams. The Dolphins franchise has been looking for their quarterback since Dan Mario’s departure in 1999. The Chargers have gone from Drew Brees, to Philip Rivers, and now Herbert since that time.

Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins – vs. Pittsburgh Steeler WR – Chase Claypool

  • Both receivers are second round pick, 6’4”, and huge red zone targets for their respective quarterbacks. Claypool leads all rookies in receiving touchdowns. Higgins is coming on of late and is becoming apart of a dangerous tandem with Tyler Boyd.

Week 9 Throwback Draft Class Battle Results:

OLD MAN QB BATTLE

Tampa Bay Bucs QB – Tom Brady ’00 vs. New Orleans Saints QB – Drew Brees ‘01

  • A huge shock on Sunday night. The New Orleans Saints absolutely dominated the Tampa Bucs 38-3. Drew Brees threw 4 touchdown passes to 4 different receivers. Tom Brady struggled throughout the game throwing 3 interceptions and was shutout in the touchdown category for the first time this year. Brees and the Saints swept the season series. The race will be on for these two teams division title down the stretch.

Week 10 Throwback Draft Class Battle:

College Touchdown Battle:

This week I couldn’t find any significant draft class battles so I decided to go with a competition. Which College or university’s NFL players will score the most touchdowns this weekend. Pick a college team, a number touchdowns and send to my email address below. Whoever is correct gets a TC56 sauce of their choice.

Rookie Play of the Weekend:

Touchdown run at 2:08

Notes:

  • Giants undrafted WR from Ohio State Austin Mack filled in for a disgruntled Golden Tate this week. Mack had 4 catches for 72 yards but his 50 yard catch on the Giants opening drive set the tempo.
  • Baltimore Ravens LB Malik Harrison of Ohio State recorded his first double digit tackle game with 11 against the Colts Sunday.
  • Saints 3rd round pick from Dayton TE Adam Trautman scored his first career touchdown.
  • Cowboys rookie corner Travon Diggs is out 4-6 weeks with a foot fracture and is likely out for the season.
  • Green Bay Packers leading tackler Krys Barnes went on the Covid-19 list this week and will be out indefinitely.

Rookie League Leaders:

TD Passes: Chargers – Justin Herbert – 17

Passing Yards: Bengals – Joe Burrow – 2272

Rushing TD: Jaguars – James Robinson & Washington – Antonio Gibson – 5 each

Rushing Yards: Chiefs – Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 586

Receiving TD: Steelers – Chase Claypool: 5

Receiving Yards: Vikings Justin Jefferson: 627

Receptions: CowboysCee Dee Lamb – 44

Total Touchdowns: Jaguars – James Robinson – 7

Total Tackles: Panthers – Jeremy Chinn – 67

Tackles for a Loss: Panthers – Derrick Brown – 6

Sacks: Washington – Chase Young – 3.5

Interceptions: Cowboys – Travon Diggs & 3 others tied with – 2

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