Sure, it’s early. But what fun is football if we can’t get overly excited about our team’s rookies — regardless of how small the sample size may be.
Week 1 of the NFL season saw plenty of fresh faces shoot out of the gates and put up some impressive stats in their first pro football game that actually means something.
With that in mind, here are some of the most exciting rookie performances from the season openers, and why we’re already looking forward to seeing what they do in Week 2.
QB Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Tom Savage was the Texans’ starting quarterback for all of two quarters of the 2017 season before he was yanked at halftime and replaced by 12th-overall pick Deshaun Watson in what turned out to be a flat season opener for the Texans against the Jaguars.
Watson completed 12 of 23 pass attempts for 102 passing yards and threw a touchdown in his first drive of the game, but he’ll need the offensive line to play a little tighter as he was sacked four times in two quarters of football.
.@deshaunwatson is tossing TDs!
The @Houstontexans rookie finds @deandrehopkins in the end zone! #Texans pic.twitter.com/FRuEsLzpkJ
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2017
His play was strong enough to earn the nod to start Thursday’s game against the Bengals — on his 22nd birthday — according to NFL Network insiders Ian Rapoport and James Palmer.
#Texans coach Bill O’Brien didn’t announce his starting QB, but there is decision. Rookie Deshaun Watson will start, per @JamesPalmerTV & me
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 12, 2017
QB DeShone Kizer, Cleveland Browns
The Browns had plenty of rookies in the lineup on Sunday against the Steelers, including Jabrill Peppers, David Njoku and Trevon Coley, to name a few. But the real Week 1 star in Cleveland was first-year quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Though the Browns lost 21-18, the 21-year-old kept them in the game and showed plenty of poise and promise, completing 20 of 30 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown, and snuck in a rushing TD of his own, too.
Welcome to the end zone, @DKizer_14! pic.twitter.com/hyajkdi11N
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 10, 2017
As expected, he’ll need to work on getting rid of the ball more quickly in high-pressure situations — he was sacked a whopping seven times, though he …read more