With the injury bug taking hold across multiple teams, there is a plethora of rookies making significant contributions to their teams. Let’s take a look at three that shone this week, including a couple that did so on their first ever starts
Jamaree Salyer, Tackle – Los Angeles Chargers
The pressure on Salyer must have been immense as he was thrust into his first NFL game to protect Justin Herbert’s blindside due to All-Pro Rashawn Slaters’ injury. Salyer had predominantly been transitioning to guard in the offseason, but despite only having a week to reacquaint himself with his position at Georgia, he dominated on his side.
During the game, the sixth-round pick had a pass block grade of 90.4 and allowed 0 sacks, 0 pressures, and 0 hurries across 41 pass blocking snaps. The Chargers will likely have to rely on Salyer for the foreseeable future as the current timeline for Slaters’ return isn’t until late 2022 at the earliest.
Dameon Pierce, Running Back – Houston Texans
Despite ending up on the losing side of the game against the aforementioned Salyer’s Chargers, Pierce himself also had a career day after sparking the fast fading Texans into life halfway through the second quarter.
With the Chargers up 21-0, the Texans looked down and out, but Pierce had other ideas. He took the handoff from Davis Mills and breezed past the Chargers’ defensive front for a 75-yard touchdown, and hauled them back into the game. The 113 rushing yards from the game took his total for the season to 313, enough to crack the top 10 above players like Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook.
Jack Jones, Cornerback – New England Patriots
Jack Jones had been eyeing up a pick all season on underneath passes, and finally his aggressive nature paid off. With the team down 3-7 just before the half, Jones jumped in front of Aaron Rogers’ pass intended for Allen Lazard and took it the 40 yards for the pick-six. Amazingly, this is only the second pick-6 Rogers has ever thrown at Lambeau Field.
Jones, who was starting due to a hamstring injury suffered by Jalen Mills, also caused a forced fumble and recovery earlier in the game as he punched the ball out of fellow rookie Romeo Dobbs’ hands.