In this article, a number of rookies are discussed in regard to their performance in the first preseason game.
Kyler Murray | ARZ
Murray looked as advertised in his debut as he completed 6 of 7 passes for 44 yards on his lone drive of the night. His lone incompletion was actually caught, but got called back due to the receiver stepping out of bounds prior to catching the ball. Murray still has a lot to prove in the league, but for now he is living up to his first overall pick draft pedigree.
Daniel Jones | NYG
Jones was nothing short of impressive as he led the offense down the field for a touchdown on his lone drive of the night. He completed all five of his passes thrown for a total of 67 yards ultimately culminating in his first NFL touchdown pass. The Giants have often been criticized for selecting Jones sixth overall in the 2019 draft. However, Jones was sure to hush many of those critics in his debut.
Dwayne Haskins | WAS
Haskins had an underwhelming performance as he completed just eight of his fourteen passes thrown, totaling 117 yards. He also threw two interceptions on the night. While Haskins was clearly outplayed by his veteran teammate, Case Keenum, dynasty owners shouldn’t hit the panic button quite yet. Haskins still has plenty of upside in his early career, but it’s looking more likely that he’ll serve as a backup come week 1 of the regular season.
Drew Lock | DEN
Lock did not show particularly well in the Hall of Fame game last week. In his second week under center, Lock’s uneven play continued as he completed 17 of 28 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception in the waning moments of the game. Lock is already in a poor situation in Denver. His poor play is sure to drive down his dynasty value even further.
David Montgomery | CHI
Montgomery looked good in very limited action as he averaged 5.3 yards on three carries. With those three carries, he scored a rushing touchdown and gained 16 yards. Montgomery was also impressive in the passing game as he caught all three of his targets and gained 30 yards through the air. By all accounts he has been getting rave reviews throughout camp from both coaches and players. Montgomery’s value has been up and down all year, but he is beginning to silence the doubters.
Darwin Thompson | KCC
Thompson showed extremely well for a rookie 6th round running back. On one play he went vertical and hurdled over a defender for a highlight reel play. His lone score of the night came on a 29 yard catch and run to the end zone. By the end of the night, Thompson totaled 22 yards on five carries to go with his lone 29-yard reception for the touchdown. On the ground, he averaged a respectable 4.4 yards per carry. Thompson still sits third on the depth chart behind Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde. That said, Williams has been banged up and Hyde is a 29-year-old running back on his fourth team in four years. Head coach Andy Reid recently said that he will take a committee approach at the position after Williams had been pegged as the bell cow earlier in the season. However, at this juncture it appears as though he could be an ascending player, both on the depth chart and in dynasty.
Justice Hill | BAL
Hill got plenty of work in as he took ten carries for 33 yards. He also caught two passes for 16 yards on two targets. His best play of the night came on a short screen pass and catch where he was able to make a couple of defenders miss and get upfield for a nice gain. While this performance may not jump off the stat sheet, it was a solid outing for a player who many think could have a role in the new look Ravens offense this year.
Miles Boykin | BAL
Boykin caught four balls for 39 yards on a whopping nine targets. It was a bit of a mixed bag for Boykin as he had a considerable number of drops. However, some of the catches he did make were impressive to say the least. His play of the night was a 24 yard back shoulder grab along the left sideline. Boykin isn’t a player known for a ton of drops, so it may have simply been some rookie jitters. Time will tell, but Boykin has some nice upside in a relatively wide open Baltimore receiving group.
Jalen Hurd | SFO
Jalen Hurd stole the spotlight in San Francisco’s first preseason offering. He caught three passes for 31 yards and two touchdowns on five targets. His first score was on a catch run where he bulldozed his way into the end zone, reminding everyone he used to play running back. In fact, Alvin Kamara was actually Hurd’s backup at Tennessee several years ago. On his second score, the 6’6” receiver convert went up and got the ball on a back shoulder throw in the left corner of the end zone. Hurd has been making some noise out of camp and this performance may have helped to solidify his standing as a starter next to Deebo Samuel and Dante Pettis.
Mecole Hardman | KCC
Hardman caught two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown on three targets. He was able to show off his much talked about speed on his lone touchdown of the night as he ran past everyone and into the end zone. It appears as though Hardman is assimilating into the offense nicely early on. While his value took a significant dip with the return of Tyreek Hill, there really isn’t much standing in the way of Hardman emerging as a legitimate threat in one of the leagues most explosive offenses.
Jakobi Meyers | NEP
Meyers simply balled out in his first preseason game. The reports out of Patriots training camp have been lauding Meyers for quite some time now. He lived up to that hype in them some as he hauled in six catches for 69 yards on eight targets. Two of those catches were for touchdowns. Meyers stock has been rising, and he will continue trending upward after a performance like that. The Patriots currently have a very talented receiver group, and it won’t be easy to make the roster, but Meyers is making a strong case for himself.
Deon Bush | PIT
Bush immediately made his presence known on Friday as he racked up ten total tackles (7 solo, 2 assist) to go with a pass defended. The deflected pass was nearly an interception, but Bush was unable to corral the ball before it fell to the ground. Regardless, the second linebacker taken in this years draft looked like the best linebacker on the field that night as the Steelers and Buccaneers collided.
Devin White | TBB
White also played in the Steelers-Buccaneers game. However, he did not have much of an impact as he only had one assisted tackle. It’s still the preseason and White is an elite talent at the position, but it was not an encouraging performance for the top linebacker taken in this years draft class. He will undoubtedly have every opportunity to pick up his play as the season progresses. If you’re in a league and the person who drafted White is panicking, it might even be a good opportunity to try and trade for him. If your rookie draft is still to come, you might be able to get him for a slight discount compared to where he’s been going.
Mack Wilson | CLE
Wilson took advantage of his opportunity as he flashed his talents in a big way during his first game as a pro. The Alabama product intercepted two passes and then proceeded to show off his athleticism as he racked up 40 total interception return yards. He also had three solo tackles on his way to a stellar overall performance. Wilson was highly touted early on in the draft process, but slipped into the fifth round before being selected by Cleveland No. 155 overall. It now appears as though Wilson might have been one of the steals of this years draft.
E.J. Speed | IND
Speed showed well as he amassed six total tackles. The fifth round pick looked like he belonged as he showed impressive instincts for a player who converted from receiver to linebacker in college. The Colts have a talented linebacking corps, and Speed currently projects to be the Colts LB5 come the regular season which could limit his opportunities. However, if he can continue to develop and elevate his play even further, he might just give the coaching staff in Indianapolis no choice but to give him a rotational role during the regular season.
Blake Cashman | NYJ
The Minnesota standout has been one of my favorite players to watch film on throughout this years process. Cashman lacks some of the athletic traits NFL scouts look for which inevitably hurt his draft stock back in April. However, Cashman plays with an instinctive ferocity that leaps off the tape and more than makes up for his athletic shortcomings. In his first NFL action, he collected four total tackles. He’s currently listed as the third inside linebacker on the Jets depth chart behind Avery Williamson. Worth noting, the Jets could save 6.5 million in cap space by releasing Williamson after the 2019 season. Keep an eye on this guy as he could be a quality starter in New York before long.
Brian Burns | CAR
Burns showed off his speed, agility, and finesse on his way to two sacks for Carolina. On the first sack, Burns set up his blocker with a spin move and then had the awareness to disengage and finish as the quarterback stepped up in the pocket. On the second sack, Burns got past his blocker with a nice swim move and then used his speed to close in on the quarterback and take him down in the backfield. The first rounder is a bit undersized for an every down defensive end. However, with early production like that, perhaps he can be the pass rusher Carolina has long been coveting.
Chase Winovich | NEP
Winovich made his presence known in his first taste of NFL action. The former Michigan Wolverine had 1.5 sacks on the night along with a tackle for loss. He looked like one of the steals of the draft, and likely left many scouts outside of New England shaking their heads. With the departure of Trey Flowers, New England is looking for its young defensive line to step up and perhaps Winovich can be that player this year. For now, it looks as though Belichick might have found another diamond in the rough to deploy off the edge in his hybrid defense.