A.J. Green is just one of the many 2011 rookies making an early impact
The 2011 NFL Draft class was viewed as an overall weak class with no clear cut number one and little depth at certain positions. The early returns are proving otherwise.
Through two weeks of the NFL season, Cam Newton has turned in the most impressive performances but there are plenty of others contributing in major ways to their respective teams. Here’s a look at some of the top rookie performers in the NFL through week two.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers, Pick #1
The first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has disappointed. Most considered Cam to be years away from contributing significantly in the NFL citing system, accuracy, and mechanical flaws. Through two games, Cam has lit up the record books for rookie QB’s and has turned in two 400 yard games thus far. He has completed 52-83 passes for 854 yards, 3 TD’s and 4 INT’s against Arizona and Green Bay. In addition he has added 71 yards on the ground and 2 TD’s. He has looked poised against two teams that are favored to win their divisions. Unfortunately, his production hasn’t equaled a win (yet) for the Panthers.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals, Pick #35
If not for an injury against the Browns, we may be talking about Dalton in the same sentence as Cam. Dalton has been supremely efficient in a 1-1 start for the Bengals. He is 37-56 for 413 yards, 3 TD’s and most importantly no interceptions on the young season. The Andy Dalton to A.J. Green combo appears to be one to be reckoned with in the future.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders, Pick #148
Moore was expected to be a work in progress but did present some upside. Little did we know the upside would come this quickly. Moore is averaging 29.2 yards/catch and has caught a pretty touchdown. He gives Jason Campbell another speedy receiver to work with and may soon take over as the number one receiver in Oakland.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers, Pick #64
Cobb electrified in the season opener with a TD catch and a return for a TD. He only has 4 catches for 60 yards on the season but takes advantage of each catch. Cobb should and probably will be worked into the GB gameplan as the season wears on so expect the best is yet to come.
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Cleveland Browns, Pick #37
Sheard was relatively quiet in week one and then exploded onto the scene in a week two matchup against the Colts. He was wisely moved to LE in week two and exploited the Colts line. On the season he has 8 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 FF. Sheard’s speed off the edge is undeniable and the Browns appear to have hit on both defensive lineman in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Phil Taylor, DT, Cleveland Browns, Pick #21
Taylor hasn’t hit the stat sheet hard but is already demanding double teams. He has 11 tackles on the young season but frees up other players to make plays. He has an unbelievable first step for a man that size and it won’t be long before teams are consistently double teaming Taylor.
Mason Foster, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pick #84
Foster had a rough start in week one but was a terror in last week. He has 17 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 FF through two games. He looks primed to win multiple NFL rookie of the week awards.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins, Pick #62
Reggie Bush is not an premiere back in the league. The Miami Dolphins are learning that as the season progresses. They featured their rookie running back in week two and he responded with 18 carries for 107 yards in his first action of the season. He was the first Miami RB to crack the 100 yard barrier since December of 2009.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals, Pick #4
A.J. Green is doing what everyone expected him to do. Stretch the field and catch TD’s. He has 11 catches, 145 yards, and 2 TD’s through two games this season. He and Andy Dalton look to offer a promising future for the Bengals.
Karl Klug, DT, Tennessee Titans, Pick #142
Klug exploded onto the scene in a week two drubbing of the Baltimore Ravens. He had 2 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 FF’s against the Ravens. His speed and presence in the Raven backfield gave Baltimore fits all day long.
Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Washington Redskins, Pick #16
Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo look to be forming one of the best, young pass rushing duos in the NFL. Kerrigan has a knack for getting to the quarterback and defending passes which included an INT for a TD. He has 8 tackles, a sack, and 3 passes defended on the young season.