Aug 18, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry (58) look on during warm up prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
We’re only two weeks into the preseason, but that won’t stop everyone – including us – from completely overreacting to the performances of this rookie class. Now, being horrible in your rookie preseason doesn’t doom you and being amazing doesn’t guarantee success, but you’d still much rather be the latter.
1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield has dropped back to pass 43 times over the first two weeks of the preseason and has yet to have a single turnover-worthy play. His accuracy hasn’t quite been anything special with a 63.6 adjusted completion percentage, but it’s also come with a fairly deep 9.9 average depth of target. The Oklahoma product already looks incredibly comfortable with his pocket presence and control of the offense.
2. James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Washington’s flare for the contested catch has already come to fruition early on in Pittsburgh. Three of his seven catches have been contested and six have either gone for touchdowns or first downs. Washington’s 158 receiving yards are the most of any rookie wideout.
3. Cam Sims, WR, Washington Redskins
While Washington had the most yards of any rookie, Sims has the best yards per route at 5.46. He’s had 131 yards on eight targets through his first two games. Maybe the most impressive part though is his four contested catches, which leads all rookies.
4. Orlando Brown, OT, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have certainly been giving Brown every opportunity possible to prove himself. Including the Hall of Fame game, Brown has played a ridiculous 174 snaps already this preseason. He’s only been off the field for 36 of the Ravens’ 210 offensive plays so far. The Oklahoma product has showed himself well as he’s allowed only three hurries, zero hits and zero sacks in his 111 pass-blocking snaps.
5. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
Moore is already flashing the playmaking ability that made him a first-rounder. His catch and run that saw him break three tackles last week against the Bills was one of the best highlights of the preseason so far. Three of his four catches have resulted in explosive plays.
6. Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets
Darnold has simultaneously been ultra conservative as well as impressive – and no those two aren’t mutually exclusive. His average depth of target is only 5.8 yards downfield (a figure lower than any starting quarterback averaged last year) yet he’s been accurate and efficient on those throws. He has an adjusted completion percentage of 82.1 and his only interception came via a calculated forced throw under pressure on fourth down.