With the NFL pre-season up and running we take a look at a five rookies who made an impression on offence this weekend.
The first week of the NFL pre-season is now behind us and although it is difficult to take away any serious implications about how the regular season will unfold, it gave us the chance to take a look at the rookies that could be set to take the league by storm this year.
There were rookies in action for every team and many made their mark as regular starters only featured for the first-quarter in the majority of matches, but the following five made an impression that left us wanting to see more.
Blake Bortles, QB - Jacksonville Jaguars
The most impressive rookie quarterback performance from the opening weekend came from the highest drafted QB from the draft. Blake Bortles impressed for the Jaguars as he completed seven of his 11 pass attempts for 117 yards, whilst also rushing for seven yards. Jacksonville beat Tampa Bay 16-10 and Bortles was major positive for the Jaguars. He led a second-half drive that resulted in a field goal which included a 31-yard pass to Mike Brown. It would appear to be just a matter of time before Bortles is the starting QB in Jacksonville after a bright debut.
John Brown, WR - Arizona Cardinals
The 24-year-old made an instant impact for the Cardinals in his first game as he made five catches for 87 yards and appeared to be open on every play. Carson Palmer was excellent and connected with Brown for a 25 yards on the opening drive which ended up with a Cardinals touchdown. The third round pick impressed in his first appearance and could be set for a big season in Arizona.
Andre Williams, RB - New York Giants
Williams has had two games to shine, and he has done exactly that for the Giants so far. He rushed for 48 yards on seven carries against the Bills in the Hall of Fame game a week ago, scoring the first touchdown of pre-season, before rushing for 35 yards on the same number of carries against the Steelers this weekend. Rashad Jennings will be the first-choice at running back, though Williams will have plenty of chances to carry the ball as the season progresses.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB - New England Patriots
New England look to have a bright prospect in Garoppolo, and the second round pick was one of the only things Patriots fans had to cheer about in their 23-6 loss to the Redskins. Tom Brady didn't feature against Washington and Ryan Mallett and Garoppolo had the chance to battle as a result. The rookie came out on top as he completed nine of 13 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown in the second-half. Although it is way too early to label him as Brady's long-term replacement, Garoppolo certainly showed plenty of promise on his first showing.
Johnny Manziel, QB - Cleveland Browns
Manziel made his much anticipated debut in Cleveland's 13-12 loss to Detroit in the middle of the second-quarter, and he impressed as he didn't appear to be affected by the situation. He looked relatively composed as he completed seven of 11 passes for 63 yards, whilst rushing for 27 yards from six carries. His footwork was good, and he made some great throws that weren't done justice by some inexperienced receivers. Manziel showed that he is almost ready for a starting role in the NFL - something many doubted, and that is a major plus for the Browns.