With the preseason now over, it’s time to introduce my new format for the rookie articles going forward. Rather than focusing in-depth on just three, I’m going to choose a top seven and post a shorter review, allowing for an easier-to-digest look at the rookies making their mark. So with that, let’s crown the seven rookies of the preseason!
Aidan O’Connell, Quarterback – Las Vegas Raiders
A solid showing, playing in all three games and finishing with 43 completions on 62 attempts for 482 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was rewarded for his outstanding preseason with a spot on the 53 man roster.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Quarterback – Cleveland Browns
An impressive 37 completions on 58 attempts, 440 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Couple that with 96 yards and a rushing touchdown on five rushing attempts, and you see why DTR has jumped up from fourth on the depth chart to backup QB.
Emanuel Wilson, Running Back – Green Bay Packers
An undrafted free agent topping the preseason rushing charts? Yep, that’s what happened with Wilson, who finished with 223 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries. The 24-year-old made his case for a roster spot and got his wish on Tuesday.
T.J. Bass, Offensive Guard – Dallas Cowboys
Another free agent who had a solid showing in his three games Bass played 130 snaps, allowing 0 pressures and 0 penalties across 80 pass-blocking snaps. That showing took him from buried on the depth chart to on the 53 man roster
Nick Herbig, Outside Linebacker – Pittsburgh Steelers
Herbig had the NFL’s leading pass rush win rate in the preseason, as well as 3.5 sacks, eight stops, and one forced fumble. With T.J. Watt ahead on the depth chart, he’ll likely be a rotational option, but his speed and versatility will see him have opportunities this season.
Steven Gilmore, Cornerback – Detroit Lions
You already have enough pressure when you are an undrafted rookie, but when your brother is Stephon Gilmore, you’ll get comparisons too. Luckily, Steven balled out! 131 snaps, two interceptions, four pass breakups, eight tackles, and a passer rating of 37.0 allowed. All stats that helped him get that roster spot
Blake Grupe, Kicker – New Orleans Saints
Grupe, who has battled for the kicking job against Will Lutz, can hold his head high. One conversion from one attempt on extra points and five from six on field goals, with his only miss being a wide right on a 60-yarder He obviously impressed the Saints enough as Lutz was traded meaning Grupe is the new kicker.