Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The first full week of the NFL’s preseason schedule is in the books and it’s time to reflect on the weekend’s top-graded players based upon hours and hours of our team of analysts watching every player on every play of every game.
With preseason being such a unique proposition, making this team isn’t quite as simple as earning the highest grade at your position in a given week. Weighting has been given towards playing time, as well as doing your good work against the first and second string opposition units.
Darnold looked every bit the top-five pick against the Falcons on Friday night. He was accurate on 15 of his 19 attempts, collecting 100 yards and a score. It was a fairly conservative outing with only one deep target all game, but at the same time he protected the ball extremely well.
The final stat sheet says nine attempts for 41 yards, but Johnson had more than that on one scintillating second half carry that got called back with a penalty. On the day, he had three broken tackles and 37 of his yards came after contact.
The Packers rookie was the only receiver this week to top the 100-yard mark. He did so on five catches – two of which were contested. His day could have been ever better though if he could have hauled in a diving deep pass mid-way through the fourth that he got both hands on.
Moore was as advertised in his first preseason play. He hauled in all four of his targets for 75 yards. He also flashed his superb run-after-catch ability, breaking three tackles on one second-half catch.
James caught all four of his slot targets on the day for 46 yards. Two of his catches went for first downs while another was a late fourth quarter score.
After a lackluster rookie season, Njoku has started Year 2 looking deserving of his first-round selection. He ran all of 12 routes, but two of them resulted in scores and showcased his terrifying skillset. On the first, he blew past a linebacker up the seam for a 36-yard score and on the second he out-jumped two Giants defenders in the end zone.
The potential has always been there, but the lack of consistency is what’s rendered Robinson a colossal draft bust. On 44 snaps against the Giants, Robinson yielded all of one hurry in an impressive outing.
In 43 snaps against…