For the upcoming season, I’m going to be looking at three rookies each week who either made a considerable contribution or flashed some brilliance that changed a game.
Normally I would plan for this to come out either Tuesday or Wednesday, but it’s a touch late as I’ve been in sunny Orlando getting my theme park fix. In fact, I’m writing this whilst waiting for my delayed flight, so here we go:
Cade York, Kicker – Cleveland Browns
I feel I have to start this article off with some love for a rookie kicker, especially when the kicker in question made a game-winning 58-yard field goal in the dying embers of the game, fending off ex-Browns Quarterback Baker Mayfield’s Carolina Panthers.
York, who was selected in the fourth round by a Browns team that wanted some stability at the position, have been rewarded instantly. In fact, this was the first time Cleveland has won in the opening week of a season since a 20-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens in 2004.
Drake London, Wide Reciever – Atlanta Falcons
After suffering a preseason knee injury, the Falcons were unsure if London would be able to suit up for their opener against divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints, and although they were ultimately the losing team, they will be happy with how the future looks.
London, the first receiver selected in the draft, showed no niggling effects of his knee injury as he hauled in five receptions for 74 receiving yards, including a 31-yard gain where he ghosted through the Saints’ coverage to help setup a field goal.
Dominique Robinson, Edge – Chicago Bears
The salary cap situation that new Bears GM Ryan Poles inherited forced his hand into trading away standout Edge rusher Khalil Mack, but luckily for him, Robinson balled out in his debut.
Not only did he lead all rookies in sacks (1.5) and defensive stops (6, tied with Devin Lloyd), but incredibly, Robinson led all players in defensive stop rate. Even more impressive was that he was only on the field for 28 of the 68 defensive snaps the Bears took