Analysis  

 

NFC preseason grades, Week 2: Josh Rosen, Daron Payne excel

Print

The preseason is a time for jobs to be won, opportunities to be seized and depth charts to be determined. So, while wins and losses might not matter, there's plenty at stake for many players in these exhibition games. To help put these moments into context, Bucky Brooks will provide a grade for one player of interest from every NFL team after each of the first three full weeks of preseason action.

Below, see the NFC player grades following Week 2:

Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB. The rookie passer played like a vet against the Saints, completing 10 of 16 passes for 107 yards and a score. Rosen not only showed outstanding poise and composure working through his progressions, but he flashed the accuracy, anticipation and timing that made him one of the top quarterbacks in the 2018 draft class. Given the way No. 3 is beginning to develop chemistry with his receivers, particularly fellow rookie Christian Kirk, it is only a matter of time before Rosen ascends to the QB1 role this season. Grade: A-

Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR. The rookie pass catcher already looks like a potential superstar as a silky smooth route runner with outstanding hands and ball skills. Ridley snagged three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown on an assortment of stop-start routes between the hashes against the Chiefs. Although he is likely to play as a WR3 in Year 1, Ridley has all of the tools to be an effective starter down the road. Grade: B+

Carolina Panthers: Curtis Samuel, WR. The second-year pro looks like he is ready to step into a key role as a designated playmaker on the perimeter. Against the Dolphins, Samuel snagged two passes for 65 yards, including a 39-yard bomb down the sideline that showcased his athleticism and ball skills. The speedster also added a 26-yard reception on a catch-and-run following a tightrope grab near the sideline. No. 10 looks like he could make contributions as a WR3 or WR4. Grade: B+

Chicago Bears: Mitchell Trubisky, QB. The second-year pro had an up-and-down performance against the Broncos. Trubisky connected on 9 of 14 passes for 90 yards with one touchdown and one interception. No. 10 made a few nice plays in the passing game that showcased his mobility and touch, but his turnover woes (one interception and a fumble that resulted in a safety) remain a major concern for a team that struggled to score points in 2017. If the Bears are going to make a run at respectability this season, they will need Trubisky to start stringing together consistent performances as a passer and playmaker. Grade: C+

Dallas Cowboys: Randy Gregory, DE. Gregory was reinstated in July after being suspended in 2017 for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Playing in his first game since the 2016 regular-season finale, Gregory showed some promise as a pass-rushing specialist off the edge against the Bengals. Despite failing to record a tackle, No. 94 had a big third-down pressure on Andy Dalton that led to an incompletion. Most importantly, Gregory played with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that could make him an effective playmaker in obvious passing situations. Grade: B-

Detroit Lions: Ameer Abdullah, RB. The former preseason "Hype Bunny" could find himself on the roster bubble if he continues to struggle with ball security in games. Against the Giants, Abdullah flubbed an exchange with Matthew Stafford in the backfield and muffed a kick return. Considering how Lions coach Matt Patricia despises turnovers, Abdullah's fumbling woes could put him on the hot seat in Week 3. Grade: F

Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB. Against the Steelers, the rookie corner flashed the athleticism, instincts and playmaking skills that helped him lead the nation in interceptions last season. Jackson scored on a third-quarter pick-six on a late throw from Joshua Dobbs on an out route. In addition, he broke up a pass intended for James Washington, exhibiting good instincts and awareness. Grade: B+

Los Angeles Rams: Sean Mannion, QB. After laying an egg in the Rams' preseason opener, Mannion bounced back with a better performance against the Raiders. He completed 10 of 16 passes for 84 yards without a touchdown or interception. Although the fourth-year pro didn't make any splash plays, he played well enough to keep the offense on track and put up a few points under his guidance. It might not be enough to convince the coaching staff that Mannion could thrive as a temporary QB1, but it certainly alleviates some of the team's concerns over his ability. Grade: C+

Minnesota Vikings: Mike Boone, RB. The rookie running back is making a serious run at the RB3 job with his strong play. Against the Jaguars, Boone rushed for 91 yards on 13 carries in an impressive performance that showcased his explosiveness as a playmaker. No. 44 not only dazzled with his speed and quickness, but he also showed the kind of vision, balance and body control that coaches love in RB1s. Coming off an impressive pro day that teased scouts with his explosiveness (the Cincinnati product posted a 42-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-7 broad jump), Boone looks like a hidden gem on the Vikings' roster. Grade: B+

New Orleans Saints: Taysom Hill, QB. After making a strong push for the Saints' QB2 job with an excellent performance in the team's preseason opener, Hill delivered a dud against the Cardinals. Despite completing 11 of 15 passes for 68 yards, Hill committed four turnovers (two interceptions; two fumbles lost) and looked nothing like a dependable option as a backup. Grade: F

New York Giants: Davis Webb, QB. After laying an egg in the Giants' preseason opener, Webb responded with a strong effort against the Lions that gave the football world a peek at what led the team to proceed with him as a QB2. The second-year pro completed 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown, with a few "dimes" to Sterling Shepard and Russell Shepard on vertical throws. In addition, Webb showed nice touch and anticipation on his 8-yard scoring strike to Wayne Gallman on an angle route. Grade: B

Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Sudfeld, QB. With Nick Foles sidelined by a shoulder injury in the second quarter against the Patriots, the Eagles needed to see if their QB3 could fill in as a spot starter. Based on his efforts, Sudfeld might be up for the job. He completed 22 of 39 passes for 312 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. The third-year pro not only displayed outstanding poise and composure in the pocket, but he showed terrific touch, timing and anticipation delivering an assortment of teardrops and lasers to receivers all over the field. Sudfeld's strong play could allow the team to keep Carson Wentz on the sideline until he is ready to play when the regular season opens. Grade: A-

San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB. The 49ers' QB1 continues to dazzle as a quick-rhythm passer from the pocket in Kyle Shanahan's system. Garoppolo consistently delivered the ball within the strike zone on an assortment of short and intermediate routes all over the field against the Texans. In addition, he threw the ball well on the move, particularly rolling to his right on naked bootlegs. Overall, the fifth-year pro connected on 10 of 12 passes for 136 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Grade: A-

Seattle Seahawks: Rasheem Green, DE. The rookie pass rusher has been the Seahawks' most impressive player of the preseason. Against the Chargers, Green added another 1.5 sacks to his preseason total (3.0 in two games) and flashed disruptive skills as a run defender with a tackle for loss following an impressive disengagement at the point of attack. With the Seahawks desperately looking for a dominant player off the edge, Green's strong play could earn him a starting spot when the regular season rolls around. Grade: A+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: M.J. Stewart, CB. Given the impact of turnovers on the outcome of games, Stewart deserves high marks for forcing a pair of fumbles against the Titans. The scrappy cover corner not only has a knack for knocking the ball loose, but he's shown improving cover skills on the perimeter. If he continues to progress in coverage, the rookie has a chance to earn major minutes on the island as a nickel corner. Grade: A-

Washington Redskins: Daron Payne, DT. The 'Skins' defensive line might wreck shop this season with an Alabama duo (Jonathan Allen and Payne) on the interior. Payne is already making his presence felt as a disruptive force at the point of attack, as evidenced by his solid performance against the Jets. The rookie defender notched a sack and provided consistent pressure in the A-gaps as a destructive playmaker against the run and pass. Grade: A-

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop