Rookie Report: NFL Week 9
What's up people!
So this is the real first blog post on the McGinty Sports Card blog. As some may know, I'm way more of an NBA guy than any other sport when it comes to evaluating talent in the younger classes, so there'll definitely be better quality on that side of things. But since I got back into cards almost 2 years ago, I've been trying to do a better job of keeping an eye on the NFL guys that have an immediate impact and ones that might have even more potential in the long term. There's just too many players to have a seriously in depth report, so I'm just going to highlight several on both sides of the ball.
What does this mean from a hobby perspective you may ask? Well, I try to think of it this way:
The Immediate Impact guys are all the guys that are making waves in the league right now, have a legitimate chance at ROTY, and should be marquee names in the league over the next few years at the very least given their performances thus far. If I'm buying these guys, I'm buying them now or during this off-season at the very latest.
The Long-Term Potential guys are just a few people that have shown promise and could break through given the right scenario or personnel changes around them. Think someone like AJ Dillon (Go Eags!) who didn't have much of an impact in his rookie campaign, but has the potential to be a premier back if the running back corps in Green Bay wasn't so jam packed. If I'm buying, I'm buying these guys in bulk after a bad showing or bye week when there's little to no excitement about the player.
Offense - Immediate Impact!
- Mac Jones : I'm biased as a Pats fan, but Mac Jones is the real deal. He's confident in his game and is already a locker room leader in year 1. The two most important things though, are that the organization is 100% bought in on him (which is always a battle) and he has the best coach of all-time (objectively speaking) in his corner. Even if the Patriots miss out on the playoffs and he doesn't win OROTY, Mac Jones is going to be the guy in New England for a while.
- Ja'Marr Chase : So long as the Bengals start to focus on protecting Joe Burrow in the coming years, I'm confident that Chase will be a consistent Top 10 receiver in the NFL. The continuing connection the two have from LSU is undeniable and he's putting up these outrageous performances week in and week out alongside another promising young receiver in Tee Higgins.
- Justin Fields : The Bears have suffered some pretty lopsided losses this season, but Fields is a consistent bright spot. I'm in the boat that any team going into the season with a QB controversy is destined for a bad season. So as long as Andy Dalton stays out of the picture, you can expect Fields to put up big numbers in the air and on the ground (which collectors love!)
- Najee Harris : First off, let me say that I think the Steelers make the playoffs this season and Harris will get a significant boost in exposure. He's just been chugging along this season, but hasn't been wildly efficient from a YPC perspective. Regardless, the Steelers (and their fans) seem to love this guy and he should be their lead back for the foreseeable future barring injuries.
Defense - Immediate Impact!
- Micah Parsons : Parsons is a monster. He's not quite lock for DROTY just yet, but he was the lone glimmer of positivity in a pretty bleak loss to the Broncos yesterday. Based on his Hard Knocks appearances, he seems like a super bright dude who just bullies guys on the edge. I know defensive guys don't get much hobby love, but Parsons is definitely an exception going forward.
- Odafe Oweh : An athletic force, Oweh had a HOT start to his NFL career and is already one of the best defenders on a Ravens team that has become synonymous with it's staunch defenses over the years. The Penn State product's signature moment this season came during a marquee matchup vs. the Chiefs as he stripped CEH to seal the victory.
- Asante Samuel Jr. : I was looking forward to watching him take on the Pats last weekend, but he got banged up pretty early and had to leave the game. Still, Samuel Jr. seems to have a great eye for the game and is a ball hawk just like his father was. The Chargers defense has been pretty miserable (more so on the rushing defense side), but I could see them building around Samuel and Nick Bosa with an offense that is promising for many years to come.
Offense - Long-Term
- Sam Ehlinger : Not every draft class has a 6th rounder that will end up being the GOAT, and Ehlinger will not be that guy. I feel like he played for a million years at Texas, but at least that could means his maturity level is super high. Whatever it is, the Colts seem to like this guy enough to trade away their only other backup QB (Jacob Eason). The Colts could sneak into the playoffs this season and even if they don't, Carson Wentz is injury prone.
- Pat Freirmuth : It's been a while since Big Ben had a solid pass-catching TE, and Freirmuth definitely has that potential. Even if Big Ben hangs up the cleats in the next year or two, in general younger QBs love using that safety blanket check down option. It's a big hypothetical, but I like his situation regardless of who's under center in Pittsburgh.
- Kadarius Toney : Honestly, I wasn't as high on him at the beginning of the season, but Toney takes advantage of his targets with an 87.1% catch rate! That's pretty incredible for a rookie wideout who has a QB that isn't regarded as one of the best out there. I could see him stick in NY and be effective for a while, but even if he gets traded or a change happens at QB, he's talented enough to make a name for himself anywhere.
- Elijah Mitchell : I was probably one of the few people that didn't jump on the waiver wire to get Mitchell in fantasy, and I'm kicking myself about it because I'm in a keeper league. Generally I don't care much for running backs, but Mitchell ranks 6th in the NFL for RBs in yards per carry (5.3) and is the top rookie in the category.
Defense - Long-Term
- Kwity Paye : Like I said earlier, defensive guys get no hobby love unless they're a household name, so take these too with a grain of salt. But Paye had limited reps at Michigan due to COVID and is just a physical beast that has already performed pretty well in Indy. He should end up getting some type of all-rookie award, but I'm high on him on potential alone.
- Zaven Collins - This is a super long-term play. Collins was a beast his junior year at Tulsa, picking up every defensive award imaginable. The Cardinals have a loaded group of linebackers including Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks and second-year stud Isaiah Simmons. I'm banking on Zaven Collins to learn a lot from that crew and maybe make a big play or two in the playoffs, before one of those guys above him eventually gets traded and he gets his shot.