Rookies are players too and need to be accounted for before it’s too late. It seems like every year the Bengals have at least one game where a rookie has a big game against them. Sometimes it’s part of a ROY campaign and sometimes it’s out of nowhere. Before they catch us sleeping, let’s take a look at 16 rookies we will be facing this year from each team.
Week 1 – WR Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears
Marquess Wilson was labeled a character risk coming out of Washington State and dropped to the 7th round. However, on the field, Wilson doesn’t resemble a longshot rookie. He abruptly finished his college career with 189 catches, 3207 yards, and 23 touchdowns. Had he finished his senior year, Wilson would have been a sure 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Week 2 – RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburg Steelers
When the Steelers grabbed Bell in the second round, I let out a groan because, in my opinion, he is going to fill the hole very well for the Steelers at RB. He isn’t the bruiser that Jerome Bettis was, but he is much quicker and led the nation in yards after contact with his 6’1, 230 pound frame. If he makes it to the second level, watch out.
Week 3 – RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Last year we watched the Browns Trent Richardson put on a show in his first game against the Bengals. Here comes another Alabama battering ram in Lacy. During the draft, it came out that he had some medical concerns, therefore dropping him to the second round where the Packers gladly said “Thank you”. Lacy was the best all-around running back in the draft and found a perfect landing spot. Let’s hope that passing on him twice doesn’t come back to bite/run over us.
Week 4 – CB Leon McFadden, Cleveland Browns
CB Leon McFadden got lost in the shuffle of middle round talent and the Browns landed him in the third round. I think the Browns will look to get McFadden into the starting lineup as quick as possible. Many rookie corners struggle in the first year, but McFadden has natural ball hawking skills and if he jumps a route, he has the ability to take it the house. He returned 2 of his 3 interceptions this year for touchdowns.
Week 5 – TE Zach Sudfeld, New England Patriots
Here is a name many haven’t heard of, but the 6 foot 7, 255 pound tight end out of Nevada reportedly was impressive at OTA’s. Sudfeld’s college career was marred by injuries but he scored 8 touchdowns on 45 grabs his senior year and has an impressive size to skill ratio. With the current “situation” of the Patriots tight ends and, in my opinion, lack of pass catchers in general, Sudfeld could be a rookie to watch out for.
Week 6 – WR Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills
Woods was an ultra-productive player at USC and the Bills grabbed him in the second round. While he isn’t an imposing player physically, he is a polished route runner and hands catcher. He also has the ability to return punts as well. Woods will be the guy who will keep catching those 3 and 8’s for 9 yards. The question in Buffalo will be who’ll throw him the ball?
Week 7 – TE Joesph Fauria, Detroit Lions
Joesph Fauria could be a stretch to have an impact this year for the Lions and may not even make the roster. With that said, he was a productive pass catcher for the Bruins last year, catching 12 touchdowns. We can also bet that teams took note of the Bengals resigning of MLB Rey Malualuga, who how do you say, isn’t so good in coverage. Fauria could be one of those players that has a big game and then fades away.
Week 8 – CB Dee Millner, New York Jets
Well, the Jets did the ole switch-a-roo, trading away one of the best corners in the game and then drafted a corner. They did draft the top rated corner in the draft as a replacement, and by this point in the season, Millner should have worked out some kinks. Paired with Antonio Cromartie, Millner will make the Bengals number two receivers work for catches and has a knack for causing turnovers.
There it is, the first installment of rookies to watch out for. In my opinion, and I think many fans would agree, it’s frustrating to see a rookie have a big game against your team. The current trend seems to be that rookies take less time to have an impact. Let’s hope that this year all we have to worry about is the veterans.