Preseason doesn’t tell the whole story, but it does offer insights into NFL newcomers. How is the Rookie of the Year race shaping up?
Blake Bortles progressing quickly for Jacksonville
Following the draft nobody really considered Blake Bortles a ROY contender simply because the Jacksonville Jaguars insisted they planned to not start him right away. However, after his first NFL preseason action those plans could be changing. Bortles showed a lot of why he was the #3 overall pick, throwing for 117 yards (87 more yards than his competition Chad Henne) and also had a 7-yard scramble. On top of that he showed some toughness, taking a good shot from the Bucs defense.
Devonta Freeman emerges for Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons want to get their running game back on track. They just might get their wish if they get Devonta Freeman more involved in the offense. A rookie 4th round pick, he had a heck of a debut, torching the Miami Dolphins defense for 107 total yards. His versatility was evident throughout the game and is something that can really make an already good Falcons offense even more dangerous.
Brandin Cooks passes first test for Saints
Probably no receiver has gotten media pundits more excited from a buzz standpoint during training camp than Saints 1st round pick Brandin Cooks. His dynamic speed and agility made him a terror at Oregon State and was flashing constantly in practice. So his debut against St. Louis was the first test to see if it was hype or real. Posting five catches for 55 yards and touchdowns counts as a very solid showing, especially when it wasn’t Drew Brees throwing him the passes nor Sean Payton calling the more creative plays. Cooks is going to be really good if he keeps at it.
C.J. Mosley flashes playmaking potential for Baltimore
On the defensive side, the Baltimore Ravens must’ve felt a little giddy seeing their 1st round pick make an immediate impact. C.J. Mosley was all over the field against San Francisco, contributing five total tackles and a sack on a blitz. His size, speed and instincts were evident throughout, which is why the Ravens drafted him in the first place. He must stay healthy in the weeks and months to come, but his ticket is punched for Rookie of the Year contention.