Welcome to one part of your new regular season articles, and one that some of you will have a keen eye on… ROOKIE WATCH! In this article we will go into the rookies of the team, what we should expect from them in the game ahead and some bold predictions from yours truly. First things first, let’s just see who the rookies are who made the 53 man roster, they are:
WR – Jaylen Waddle #17
DE/LB – Jalen Phillips #15
OL – Liam Eichenberg #74
TE – Hunter Long #84
FS – Jevon Holland #22
OL – Robert Jones #65
DB – Trill Williams #51
So still quite a lot to look out for who are on the roster, and still 3 rookies on the practice squad who could get elevated to the game day roster too, being Gerrid Doakes (RB), Milo Eifler (IB)and Kion Smith (OL). Let’s get down to it!
It’s that first game day smell and one hopefully with full stadiums too. The fresh white paint, the roar of the fans and the hopes and dreams alive for success and glory. For our rookies, this is their first chance to shine and show the world what they can do, however, it is also their first actual NFL gameday experience, so if you’re a hopeful optimist, this next read may be quite difficult. However, there is a big opportunity for one of our rookies, and let’s start with him.
ROOKIE WATCH GAME DAY 1 – New England Patriots (Away)
Jaylen Waddle – Wide Reciever #17
With new free agent Will Fuller V being suspended for 1 game due to suspension carrying over from last season and some of the WR room carrying some knocks from practice and preseason, we could see Jaylen Waddle thrust into the limelight early on. He’ll more than likely take up the slot receiver role and be up against a defensive unit lacking premier cornerback Stephon Gilmore, but a wiley safety in Devon McCourty.
This could be a weaker defensive back unit that he may face this year, so one he needs to take full advantage of, so fingers crossed we see that Tuscaloosa connection start to shine.
Bold Prediction For The Game: 1 Receiving Touchdown, 75 yards receiving and no dropped catches.
Jalen Phillips – Defensive End/Linebacker #15
In the preseason we saw some parts of what Phillips could do, but the coaches wanted to see where he lacked, and that was in passing coverage. Now that doesn’t mean that he will be used in that coverage linebacker role, if anything, expect them to potentially double down on his defensive end duties and rushing the passer.
We could see Phillips line up opposite and compliment Ogbah on the defensive line in the starting line up, and with rookie QB Mac Jones now affirmed as the new starter in New England, this could be the best game for Phillips to make his debut in. In the preseason the Giants showed that if you can get Mac Jones out of the pocket and running, then he really can struggle, and that is music to Miami’s and Jalen Phillip’s ears. I fully expect some close calls to sacks at least from our #1 defensive pick this year, and to make a start on his sack total in this game.
Bold Prediction For The Game: 1 Sack, 1 Tackle For Loss.
Liam Eichenberg – Offensive Line #74
Unlike the previous two players, I’ve been specific on their playing positions, I can’t for Eichenberg as he has been on both sides of the offensive line so far in training camp and preseason. However, if I were to hazard a guess at where he will play in this game, it could be at LG, if I were to hazard a guess at where he will play at the end of the season, it would be at RT. There’s a bold prediction in itself!
With the curious case of Eichenberg, the Patriots defensive line got 24 sacks last year, ranking them 26th, but with a revamped defense, that sees Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy and Christian Barrimore come into the line up, this could be a defense that could easily cause some trouble against an offensive line that has it’s issues. It will be a great litmus test for Eichenberg if he plays a lot of snaps.
Bold Predicition For The Game: 1 Pancake, 0 sacks given.
Jevon Holland – Free Safety #22
With this being the first NFL game of his career, and against a rookie Quarterback nonetheless, I can hear you all scream about how Holland should start the game and have a big impact. Hold your horses cowboys, we shouldn’t expect him to make much of an impact, but instead his counterpart, Jason McCourty and here’s why.
You want to confuse Mac Jones, give him things he has to think about and make it complex as possible. For a rookie safety, that will require great communication and understanding of the game at its highest level, one which Holland doesn’t have yet, but over the season and maybe in the return game, we could see in the future.
Bold Predicition For The Game: No deep touchdown passes given, 2 Passes defensed.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the first edition of Rookie Watch! I look forward to seeing you all over the next 18 weeks and more!