It’s rare for Week 1 of the NFL to have a ton of rookie action. Many teams are still finding out what they have in their young players and are reluctant to throw them right into the fire. Week 1 of this NFL season, on the other hand, was full of rookie explosions. Multiple rookies had an immediate impact, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Four different rookie pass-catchers eclipsed 100 yards and made some of the biggest plays of the week. There was even the entertainment factor of sixth-round rookie QB Gardner Minshew being forced into a game and he put his name on the map. It was as eventful a rookie week as anybody could hope for and one hell of a way to kickoff the 2019 NFL rookie power rankings.

Rookie of the Week

Hollywood Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

  • No team started their season with a bang like the Baltimore Ravens did vs. the Miami Dolphins. Lamar Jackson threw all over the Dolphins defense in their 59-10 demolishing. The biggest addition in the Ravens offense was rookie first-round pick Hollywood Brown. His speed was a major X-factor in the win. On the second drive of the game, he took a quick slant to the house for a 47-yard touchdown. The following drive Brown burned Minkah Fitzpatrick on a post for an 83-yard score. Nobody was more efficient in the NFL than Brown who managed 4 receptions for 147 yards and 2 TDs on just 12 snaps. He earned every bit of his nickname, Hollywood.

Week 1 Rookie Power Rankings

  1. Hollywood Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

  • Imagine a first-round pick averaging over 18 yards per pass play in their NFL debut. That’s exactly what Hollywood Brown did, it’s hard to argue against him for Rookie of the Week. Of the 12 snaps, he played only eight were passing plays and he managed to catch a pass on half of those snaps and a touchdown on a quarter of them. Talk about dominant efficiency. Brown putting up 147 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in his first game put the rest of the league on notice. Teams will be keyed in on the speedster going forward and likely will play him far more physically. It will be interesting to see how Brown and the Ravens respond.

  1. TJ Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

  • Despite the fact, the Lions ended up in a 27-27 tie with the Cardinals, it was a promising first game for their offense. Matthew Stafford was throwing it all over the place in Darrell Bevell’s new offense. Arguably their best player in the game was rookie first-round tight end TJ Hockenson. Hock was uncoverable for the Cardinals. His size and athleticism was a complete mismatch. He repeatedly one downfield on seam routes and corners. On his 23-yard TD catch, it looked like Stafford has already gained complete trust in the rookie. His addition as a blocker didn’t go unnoticed either. He was sticking his nose in and getting dirty in the run game and even helped out Taylor Decker in pass pro multiple times. Hock finished with 6 receptions for 121 yards and a score, he already looks like a top 10 TE.

  1. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington

  • If not for a missed deep TD pass from Case Keenum, Washington rookie third-round pick Terry McLaurin could have been Rookie of the Week. McLaurin was a huge reason Washington jumped out to an early lead on the Eagles. He hauled in a 69-yard TD that gave Washington all of the momentum. The speed he brings to this offense will be a huge asset going forward. He’s already looking like the teams WR1 thanks to his explosiveness and route running. McLaurin is perfect for the Z-WR role in Jay Gruden’s offense. Just wait until college teammate Dwayne Haskins takes over at QB. Against the Eagles McLaurin managed 5 receptions for 125 yards and a TD, big day for the 76thoverall pick.

  1. Erik McCoy, C, New Orleans Saints

  • Normally there’s some hype around an impressive rookie offensive line performance. Quenton Nelson was creating buzz just about every week last season. Well, Erik McCoy silently replaced former Pro Bowl center Max Unger in the middle of the Saints offensive line. The lack of talk said it all, McCoy taking over was seamless. He immediately looked like one of the best and well-rounded centers in the league. In pass protection, he had no issues pre-snap with protections and picking up blitzes and only giving up two pressures. The run game was where he was most impressive. His power and movement skills were on display with his ability to get to the second level. McCoy helped the Saints put up over 500 yards of offense in their 30-28 win over the Texans.
  1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, San Francisco 49ers

  • There was a chance second overall pick Nick Bosa wasn’t going to make his NFL debut Week 1 due to a banged-up ankle. Lucky for the 49ers he played and helped the defense carry the team to a win. It was a dominant rookie performance for Bosa despite playing only 38 snaps. He was giving the Buccaneers offensive tackles all they could handle with his pass rush moves. Bosa finished with 3 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, and a sack. A strong debut, but the amount of pressure he applied overall and the effect he had vs. the run was the real story. At one point Bosa just threw Donovan Smith on a bull rush and of course, he pulled out the beloved Bosa swipe move. In the end, he racked up four more pressures and two run stops. Defensive Rookie of the Year will be his if he stays healthy.

  1. Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers

  • In the first game of the NFL season, defense dominated. The Packers won just 10-3 carried by their new look Mike Pettine defense. One of the guys giving it that new look was rookie first-round safety Darnell Savage. Savage repeatedly made impressive high football IQ plays in the secondary. His instincts and explosive closing speed look like they’ll be a huge boost to the Packers defense. In the stats, he put up just 3 tackles, 1 PBU, and a pressure when he blitzed, but his overall coverage ability was exciting. Savage was able to keep every target in front of him and made an impressive read of Mitch Trubisky before breaking on the ball for his PBU. He’s a quiet early option for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

  1. AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

  • Another strong rookie pass-catcher debut came from AJ Brown of the Tennessee Titans. Brown helped the Titans play spoiler against the Cleveland Browns and was a part of two of their three biggest passing plays. He was a huge boost to Marcus Mariota’s numbers with the YAC plays he made. Two different times he caught a pass and broke arm tackles and rumbled for a ton of extra yards. Of his 3 receptions for 100 yards, 55 of the yards came after the catch. He looks like he’ll be the go-to receiver in Arthur Smith’s motion heavy short passing attack.

  1. Dalton Risner, OG, Denver Broncos

  • It was an ugly Week 1 for the Denver Broncos, especially their offense under Joe Flacco. Overall the rebuilt offensive line struggled immensely in Mike Munchak’s first game coaching them. The big bright spot for the Broncos and Munchak though was the performance of rookie second-round pick Dalton Risner. Risner moved to left guard after spending much of his last two college seasons at right tackle and the move paid off. Risner was dominating as a run blocker and opening massive holes for Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The physicality and edge he brings to this group will be a strength.
  1. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

  • The last time, and only time, a rookie running back topped 100 total yards and 2 TDs in their debut he went by the initials LT. Josh Jacobs was the bell cow Jon Gruden and Raider nation had hoped for when the team took him in the first-round. Jacobs added attitude to this run game instantly with his physical inside style. It wasn’t a big play game for Jacobs, but he thrived in the ball-control offense. He was their closer and did his most damage late. Jacobs even flashed some of his pass-catching ability which will likely be featured more going forward. He closed out the night with 113 total yards on 24 touches and the 2 TDs. Gruden has his workhorse.
  1. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

  • Few non-first-round rookies have been talked about more than DK Metcalf. Metcalf is polarizing due to his elite physical skills, but lack of college production and the haters spending every Twitter character criticizing his route running potential. Well, in his NFL debut the height-weight-speed freak proved he can play in the league. Metcalf was the Seahawks best weapon in their slugfest with the Bengals. He hauled in an exciting 42-yard pass from Russell Wilson where he showed off his ability to win downfield. In the end, he put up 4 receptions for 89 yards and was their most targeted wide receiver.

  1. Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Not even a gambling man could have imagined Gardner Minshew taking the field in Week 1 for the Jaguars and putting together this type of performance. Nick Foles went down with a broken clavicle on a TD pass in the first quarter and the Mississippi Moustached took over. Minshew was unfazed and showed rare poise for a rookie QB being thrown into the fire. His quick processing ability, ball placement, and mobility gave the Jaguars a boost on offense and he strung together a handful of nice drives. He ended up throwing for 275 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT and completing a mindboggling 88% of his passes.

  1. Devin Bush, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • It was about as bad an NFL Week 1 for the Steelers as possible and the cherry on top was the beating they took in their 33-3 loss to the Patriots. Steelers fans looking for some hope should look towards first-round rookie LB Devin Bush. Bush was the preseason favorite to take home Defensive Rookie of the Year and although it wasn’t a dominating performance, it was a promising one. Bush had a strong effect on the run game and came up with 3 run stops on his way to 11 tackles. The explosiveness and aggression was a big boost to the Steelers LB corps.
  1. Ed Oliver, IDL, Buffalo Bills

  • Defensively the Bills were a top-five unit in the NFL last season, but that didn’t stop them from adding a freak in the middle of their D-line. First-round pick Ed Oliver made an immediate impact at 3-Tech in Week 1. Playing in their rotation he was used a ton on passing downs. Not only was he winning with his athleticism, but his pass rush moves looked more refined. The man broke out a nasty hump move at one point. Oliver put up five total pressure, crazy numbers from the interior. It was also promising to see him hold up vs. the run. His improved ability to anchor down didn’t go unnoticed. Overall he was credited with just 2 tackles, but he did so much more.
  1. Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers

  • When the Panthers get Brian Burns going with consistency their defensive line will be terrifying. Burns was used as a rotational player but ended up playing 44 snaps and making a handful of splash plays. His explosiveness and bend helped him make an impact early as a pass rusher and he ended up with three pressures. In the run game he was less effective, but read a jet sweep at one point and showed his rare athleticism on a massive TFL. If they continue to use him as a situational pass rusher the sacks will come. He finished with 2 tackles and a TFL.

  1. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

  • It wasn’t a good start to the Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury experience in Arizona. The team went scoreless until just before halftime and Murray couldn’t get anything going through the air. In the first quarter, he threw an awful INT and had another one dropped. When the offense started going more 10 personnel in hurry-up mode that’s when Murray started cooking. He was getting the ball out fast to pass catchers on the outside and peppering in wonderful deep shots. The arm talent is so clear with him; the offensive line just needs to hold up. Murray led the Cardinals down 24-6 to a 27-27 ties against the Lions. He finished throwing for 308 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT.

  1. Cole Holcomb, LB, Washington

  • Every NFL season injuries force rookies into the lineup and some of them shock the world, or at least their city. The DMV was likely surprised by the performance of fifth-round rookie LB Cole Holcomb. Holcomb ended up starting with Reuben Foster out and Shaun Dion Hamilton surprisingly being used as a rotational player. It doesn’t look like Holcomb will be giving up the starting gig anytime soon. His play speed stood out and his willingness to put his body on the line vs. the run will endear him to fans. He ended up with an impressive 9 tackles, 7 of which were run stops, and 2 TFLs. The fluidity he showed in coverage was promising.
  1. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

  • The lack of usage of Devin Singletary remains one of the biggest rookie question marks from Week 1 in the NFL. Singletary was the Bills most explosive runner, but was only given four carries. The team clearly wanted him to be their satellite back with the amount he was used in the passing game and for Frank Gore to be RB1. Singletary did the most with the carries he did get and averaged 17.5 on them. He finished with 98 total yards on 9 touches and showed great footwork and contact balance. Singletary will be the Bills bell-cow by Week 5.

  1. Juan Thornhill, S, Kansas City Chiefs

  • This is supposed to be a new-look Chiefs defense, but they struggled once again and this time against a rookie QB. One of the few bright spots was the quietly impressive debut of second-round safety Juan Thornhill. Thornhill was all over the field getting involved as a tackler. His rare athleticism and range stood out and he was constantly finishing plays. Thornhill ended up with 8 tackles, a run stop, and looked smooth in coverage. His versatility to play single-high, man up on TEs, comedown to nickel, and play two-deep will be huge. Thornhill is going to pair perfectly with Tyrann Mathieu.
  1. Johnathan Abram, S, Oakland Raiders

  • In the Raiders surprise win over the Broncos, one of the most positive takeaways was the revamped secondary. The group was playing aggressively with so much swagger and confidence. Rookie first-round pick Johnathan Abram was their biggest aggressor and thriving as the enforcer on the backend. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury will cost him the rest of the season. Before losing him though Abram repeatedly put his body on the line with massive hits. He was making the Broncos pass catchers think twice before going over the middle. Abram was a pure joy to watch for old school football fans. He finished with 5 tackles and a PBU while showing flashes of Rodney Harrison.
  1. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars

  • It was a strange offensive game for the Jaguars. They put up 428 total yards behind the arm of backup rookie QB Gardner Minshew, but the offensive lines improvements went unnoticed. The group looked a lot better than last season and rookie second-round right tackle Jawaan Taylor showed tons of promise. The downside was two penalties for Taylor, but the upside was his sheer physicality and athleticism. Taylor didn’t have any problems moving defensive linemen in the run game. His power at the point of attack is perfect for this offense. In pass pro, he was a little shaky with footwork, but his length and hand strength helped make up for it.
  1. Taylor Rapp, S, Los Angeles Rams

  2. Dre Greenlaw, LB, San Francisco 49ers

  3. Michael Deiter, OG, Miami Dolphins

  4. Byron Murphy, CB, Arizona Cardinals

  5. Garrett Bradbury, C, Minnesota Vikings

  6. Jonathan Ledbetter, DL, Miami Dolphins

  7. Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns

  8. Quinnen Williams, IDL, New York Jets

  9. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Oakland Raiders

  10. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

  11. KeeSean Johnson, WR, Arizona Cardinals

  12. Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Oakland Raiders

  13. Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins

  14. Devin White, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  15. Justice Hill, RB, Baltimore Ravens

  16. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Washington

  17. Christian Wilkins, IDL, Miami Dolphins

  18. Jahlani Tavai, LB, Detroit Lions

  19. Dexter Lawrence, IDL, New York Giants

  20. Jimmy Moreland, CB, Washington

  21. Cody Ford, OT, Buffalo Bills

  22. Ben Banogu, EDGE, Indianapolis Colts

  23. Chris Lindstrom, OG, Atlanta Falcons

  24. Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings

  25. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Indianapolis Colts

  26. Zach Allen, DL, Arizona Cardinals

  27. Miles Boykin, WR, Baltimore Ravens

  28. Hunter Renfrow, WR, Oakland Raiders

  29. Foster Moreau, TE, Oakland Raiders

  30. Jamie Gillan, P, Cleveland Browns

Start the Rook

Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • This has more to do with the Steelers lack of production from their starting wide receivers than Diontae Johnson’s performance on Monday Night Football. Against the Patriots Johnson had just 3 receptions for 25 yards, but he showed far more than starter Donte Moncrief. Moncrief dropped 3 passes, including a touchdown, and looked lackadaisical running routes. Johnson might not be the biggest WR, but his ability as a route runner is what the Steelers offense needs right now. He’s also got more trustworthy hands than Moncrief and adds some YAC playmaking ability. Johnson fits the mold of what the Steelers have liked in a WR over the years far better than Moncrief.

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Author Details
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.


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