TC56 NFL ROOKIE REPORT: WEEK 16

Playoff time is upon us. Week 16 results set up for intriguing games in week 17. The final week of the regular season will serve as a virtual play in week in several scenarios around the league. Rookies will play a huge part of the playoff picture this season. Several rookie running backs, pass rushers, and offensive lineman are going to be vital parts of playoff runs. Tua Tagoviola has a shot to clinch a playoff spot for his team this week with a win at Buffalo. This is the time when great storied careers begin. Clutch performance in January and February are what put good players on another level. Such great players like Ronnie Lott(7 interceptions & won super bowl), Jevon Kearse (13 sacks super bowl appearance), Devin Hester(7 return touchdowns & returned the opening kickoff in the super bowl), and Lawrence Taylor (defensive rookie of the year & player of the year led Giants to their first playoff win in 25 years) all led their teams into the playoffs their rookie seasons. Who will be the next!

NFL ROOKIE REPORT

TOP 5 ROOKIE PERFORMANCES WEEK 16

GREEN BAY PACKERS

RB – AJ Dillon – 6’0” 247 – Boston College – 2nd round pick (62nd Overall) vs. Tennessee Titans (W, 40-14)

Game Day Stats: 21 Carries / 124 rushing yards / 2 touchdowns

Like powdered sugar on my jelly donuts, a dusting of snow on Lambeau field is just right. Now once you have that snow what you need is a 247 pound plow truck to run through it. AJ Dillon did just that in a Sunday night match up with the Tennessee Titans. Dillon has been used sparingly this season coming into the game with only 24 carries and 115 yards. The Boston College rookie made the most of his opportunities and pleaded his case for a role in the 2021 NFL tournament. More cold weather in Chicago should be right in Dillon’s wheel house

Performance Rating: 4.25

Next Game: at Chicago Bears 4:25pm Sunday

DALLAS COWBOYS

WR – CeeDee Lamb – 6’1” 198 – Oklahoma – 1ST Round pick (17th Overall) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (W, 37-17)

Game Day Stats: 3 receptions / 65 receiving yards / 1 receiving touchdown / 1 rushing touchdown

Despite only having 4 touches on Sunday against the Eagles, CeeDee made the most of them scoring 2 touchdowns in an important Cowboy win. Lamb plays with a good receiving core with Gallup and Cooper. This should open him up for the opportunity to make some impact plays against the Giants Sunday. If Lamb can come up with some big plays, Dallas has a chance to win the dismal NFC East. Nobody will care how many regular season wins you have just get in the playoffs and it’s a new season.

Performance Rating: 3.90

Next Game: at New York Giants 1:00pm Saturday

CINCINNATI BENGALS

WR – Tee Higgins – 6’4” 216 – Clemson – 2nd Round pick (33rd Overall) vs. Houston Texans (W, 37-31)

Game day Stats: 6 receptions / 99 receiving yards / 1 touchdown

This time of year teams are either fighting for the playoffs or playing out the string. Fans of those teams who are out of it are paying attention to draft position however, players don’t care who their franchise is taking in April. Veterans are trying to keep their jobs or auditioning for another team and young players are trying to prove they belong. Tee Higgins is trying to prove he can be Joe Burrows #1 target in 2021. Higgins looked strong catching the ball with hands not his body and making a spectacular touchdown catch to help the Bengals beat the Texans.

Performance Rating: 3.80

Next Game: vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00pm Sunday

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

RB – Jonathan Taylor – 5’10” 226 – Wisconsin – 2nd Round Pick (41st Overall)- vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (L, 28-24)

Game Day Stats: 18 carries / 74 rushing yards / 2 rushing touchdowns / 6 first downs

Jonathan Taylor is peaking at the right time of year. In the last 4 games Taylor has amassed 469 total and 6 touchdowns. The Colts were dealt a tough loss to the Steelers but Taylor did all he could to help his team win. Taylor finally looks comfortable in the Indy offense and will get a lot of touches Sunday to try to help his team make the playoffs.

Performance Rating:  3.80

Next Game: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 4:25pm Sunday

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

LB – Willie Gay Jr. – 6’1” 243 – Oregon – 2nd Round pick (63rd Overall) vs. Atlanta Falcons (W, 30-27)

Game Day Stats: 9 Total tackles / 1 tackle for a loss / 1 forced fumble

As explosive as the Chiefs offense can be, the defense needs to be dynamic if they want to go back to back this season. Willie Gay Jr. on Sunday helped KC win a rare defensive battle against the Falcons. In the 4th quarter the rookie linebacker came up with one of those dynamic plays when he put his shoulder on the football and forced a fumble which his teammate recovered to halt a Falcon drive. Gay Jr. has been solid this year in reserve role. These are kind of players overlooked by fans but not by coaches.

Performance Rating: 3.75

Next Game: vs. Los Angeles Chargers 4:25 Sunday

SLEEPER 6

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

DB – L’Jarius Sneed – 6’0” 192 – Louisiana Tech – 4th round (138th overall) vs. New Orleans Saints (W, 32-29)

Game Day Stats: 7 total tackles / 1 sack

I have gotten the feeling early on in his career L’Jarius Sneed will be making big plays for the next decade. I don’t ever think he will be the league’s top safety but he may be the league’s most opportunistic. Sneed for the second week in a row came up with a sack and was more involved in the blitz game. The fourth round pick seems to always be around the football and was involved in the tackle on Willie Gays forced fumble as well. If healthy, Sneed will play a huge role in the Chiefs postseason.

Performance Rating: 3.60

Next Game: vs. Los Angeles Chargers 4:25 Sunday

Week 16 2020 Draft Class Match up Results:

Carolina Panthers DL – Derrick Brown vs. Washington DL – Chase Young

  • Chase Young won the battle but Derrick Brown’s team won the war. Young did have a strip sack, fumble recovery, and was active against the run. Washington needs to win Sunday night to get in Chase will need to chase down Jalen Hurt and the Eagle offense to do that. Winner: Chase Young

Week 17 2020 Draft Class Match up:

Washington DE – Chase Young vs. Philadelphia Eagles QB – Jalen Hurts

  • Well you want to be a football star. Mr. Young here is your stage (Sunday night football), prime time, and scenario: Win and you are division champions. Jalen Hurts is playing to win a job so he is not laying down for anyone but Chase Young if you want to plant your flag and be a player you’ll do it at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday Night.

Week 16 Throwback Draft Class Battle Results:

2017 Head of the Class – Running backs

Minnesota Vikings RB – Dalvin Cook vs. New Orleans Saints RB – Alvin Kamara

  • The Saints got a special gift from Alvin Kamara on Christmas Day. Kamara scored a NFL record 6 rushing touchdowns and single handedly outscored the Vikings in a Saints 52-33 win. Alvin added 155 yards and made sure that Christmas wasn’t late. Winner: Alvin Kamara

Week 17 Throwback Draft Class Match up:

Arizona Cardinals QB – Kyler Murray vs. LA Rams QB – Jared Goff

  • A rematch from last month where both signal callers played well but Goff and the Rams came away with the victory (38-28). The stakes are higher with playoff implications on the line this time. Both quarterbacks have been inconsistent this season but a win on Sunday could catapult either talented roster to make a run.

Rookie Play of the Weekend:

Notes:

  • Chargers QB Justin Herbert set rookie record on Sunday for most TD passes (28) in a season.
  • Rookie Milestones: CeeDee Lamb needs 102 receiving yards to go over 1000 for the season and 112 to break Bob Hayes’ Cowboy rookie record (1,003). He already established the rookie reception record earlier this season.
  • Update: The Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship and Bills kicker Tyler Bass will battle to the last week with Bass holding a slight lead in total points 133-131. This could also be a round one preview of the playoffs match up as well.

Rookie League Leaders:

TD Passes: Chargers – Justin Herbert – 28

Passing Yards: Chargers – Justin Herbert – 4,034

Rushing TD: Washington – Antonio Gibson – 11  

Rushing Yards: Jaguars – James Robinson – 1070

Receiving TD: Steelers – Chase Claypool: 8

Receiving Yards: Vikings Justin Jefferson: 1267

Receptions: Vikings Justin Jefferson: – 79

Total Touchdowns: Washington – Antonio Gibson – 11 

Total Points: Colts – Rodrigo Blankenship – 133

Total Tackles: Panthers – Jeremy Chinn – 110

Tackles for a Loss: Washington – Chase Young – 9

Sacks: Washington – Chase Young – 6.5

Interceptions: Rams – Jordan Fuller, Chiefs – L’Jarius Sneed, & Cowboys – Trevon Diggs – tied w/ 3

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