Keiland Williams—RB—Washington Redskins
It’s hard to imagine a bright spot in a game in which the Redskins lost 59-28 to the Eagles, but Williams proved to be just that. With Clinton Portis already out, Williams was forced into starting duty when starter Ryan Torain couldn’t get loose in warm-ups. And the undrafted free agent from LSU responded extremely well. He carried the ball 16 times for 89 yards (a solid 5.6 per carry average) with 2 rushing touchdowns. And on top of that, he caught 4 passes for 50 yards and another touchdown. Williams has truly proven to be a nice surprise for the Redskins this year as a dual threat out of the backfield, scoring 3 rushing touchdowns so far and adding 2 receiving touchdowns.
Joe Haden—CB—Cleveland Browns
It has been impressive to me how competitive the Cleveland Browns have been this year. And I don’t think it is any surprise that it is coming on the heels of a very solid draft. Joe Haden started a little slowly, but certainly has been asserting himself as of late. This past Sunday versus the New York Jets, Haden compiled 7 tackles to go along with 2 passes defended and also an interception. On the year , the 1st round pick from Florida now has 34 tackles and 2 interceptions, and along with T.J. Ward should be leaving Cleveland fans very excited about the future of that secondary.
Rob Gronkowski—TE—New England Patriots
The token New England Patriot on the Rookie Report this week is Rob Gronkowski. Versus Pittsburgh, the 2nd round pick from Arizona had his best day of the year catching 5 passes for 72 yards and 3 touchdowns. Now with 6 touchdowns on the year, Gronkowski is proving to be another in a long line of productive New England tight ends as well as the best Gronkowski in the family.
Bryan McCann—CB—Dallas Cowboys
Like Keiland Williams above, Bryan McCann was more or less forced into starting action this past week versus the New York Giants due to injuries to starters. The impressive thing about McCann’s performance is that he was only signed from the practice squad a few days before this game. The undrafted free agent from Southern Methodist turned in a beautiful performance with 5 tackles, 1 pass defended and most importantly an interception which he returned 101 yards for a touchdown, giving Dallas the spark they needed to get a much needed win
Jermaine Gresham—TE—Cincinnati Bengals
Gresham is quietly having a very nice rookie season. He had perhaps his best performance of the year this past Sunday versus the Indianapolis Colts. The 1st round pick from Oklahoma tallied 9 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. For the year, Gresham has caught 40 passes for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns, and this on a team with multiple receivers who need to be fed before him. That’s pretty good stuff from a guy who missed most of his senior season of college with a knee injury.
Reshad Jones—S—Miami Dolphins
It’s my mission each week to try and find a t least 1 lesser-known rookie who had a nice performance and give him some props. This week it was Reshad Jones who deserved some accolades. On Sunday versus the Titans, the 5th round pick from Georgia totaled 3 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 sack, and 1 interception. Really solid numbers in what was a big win for Miami. I’m continually impressed with the safeties in this rookie class, and Jones is just the latest.
Shout-Outs To: Preston Parker, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st career catch), Andre Neblett, DT, Carolina Panthers (1st career tackle), Joshua Moore, CB, Chicago Bears (1st career tackle), Kurt Coleman, S, Philadelphia Eagles (1st career interception and pass defended), Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos (1st career pass attempt, completion & passing touchdown), Kavell Conner, LB, Indianapolis Colts (1st career forced fumble), Ricardo Mathews, DT, Indianapolis Colts (1st career tackle), Brandon James, WR, Indianapolis Colts (1st 4 career catches), Crezdon Butler, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1st career tackle), Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (1st career receiving touchdown), Carlos Dunlap, DE, Cincinnati Bengals (1st career sack)