Danario Alexander—WR—St. Louis Rams
One of the stories coming out of the draft for me was the fact that Alexander did not get drafted. Then I was even more surprised when none of his off-season workouts resulted in a contract offer. Of course the knee injury suffered at the Senior Bowl played a huge part, but Alexander’s production at Missouri was off the charts. So when St. Louis finally signed him on 8/23 and placed him on the practice squad, I was intrigued as to what would happen. Well what happened was Mark Clayton went down with a season ending knee-injury, Alexander got promoted from the practice squad, and in his first game as a pro versus the San Diego Chargers he caught 4 passes for 72 yards including a 38 yard touchdown catch. Impressive stuff considering what Alexander has gone through. It’s safe to say keep an eye on this kid for the rest of the season.
Colt McCoy—QB—Cleveland Browns
This was supposed to be a joke. Colt McCoy in his first ever start versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. Colt McCoy starting an NFL game after a relatively bad pre-season. But forced into action after starting quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace both suffered high ankle sprains, McCoy truly looked like a legitimate 3rd round pick. He was 23-33 passing (nearly 70%), for 281 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. He also carried the ball 4 times for 22 yards. Truly respectable stats versus a tough defense on the road in your first start. Perhaps Mike Holmgren knows what he is doing after all.
Cody Grimm—FS—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not again, right? Wrong. Grimm is turning out to be one heck of a 7th round pick for Tampa Bay. Following a great game last week, all Grimm did to repeat was collect 4 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble in a loss to New Orleans. Head coach Raheem Morris has to be hoping Grimm is summoning the ghosts of John Lynch, because he sure is playing like it
Russell Okung—T—Seattle Seahawks
Any rookie offensive lineman making his first start (and only 2nd career game after playing just a half versus St. Louis last week) on the road versus Julius Peppers, must have had nightmares leading up to the game. Particularly a rookie coming off the dreaded high ankle sprain that’s still nagging a bit. But versus Chicago, Okung held Peppers to just 2 tackles, zero sacks, and zero QB hits. And after some initial help, Okung did this mainly one-on-one. Good stuff from the 1st round pick out of Oklahoma State.
Chris Ivory—RB—New Orleans Saints
Chris Ivory is the textbook definition of small school. Tiffin University? But he is anything but small. The 6’0” 222lb. undrafted free agent running back for the New Orleans Saints is proving he can be a big-time player. This past week versus Tampa Bay, he carried the ball 15 times for a whopping 158 yards and an unbelievable 10.5 yards per carry average. With Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush still out with injuries, look for Ivory to continue to get long looks in the Saints backfield.
Pat Angerer—LB—Indianapolis Colts
I think many people who watched Angerer play at Iowa figured it would not take him long to find his way into the starting lineup on an NFL team. Well it only took until week 6 for Indianapolis versus Washington, and after this performance there’s probably no looking back. Angerer compiled 11 tackles, 1 sack and 2 passes defended in his first career start. The 2nd round pick was all over the field for Indianapolis, causing havoc for Donavan McNabb and the Redskins. Jim Caldwell must be pleased and look for Angerer to continue to put up good numbers for the Colts.
Jermaine Cunningham—LB/DE—New England Patriots and Brandon Spikes—LB—New England Patriots
I always find it amusing when a team drafts 2 players from the same school and from the same position group. And it was even more amusing when New England drafted linebackers Cunningham and Spikes from Florida in the same round (the 2nd)!! But who is anyone to question the Patriots who have become arguably the best drafting team in the NFL. They proved themselves right again when this past week versus Baltimore, Cunningham compiled 6 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble, and all Spikes did to match was collect 16 tackles himself. The Patriots are quickly forming a good young defensive front.
Shout-Outs To: Arrelious Benn, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st career carry), Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints (1st career catch), Keiland Williams, RB, Washington Redskins (1st career receiving touchdown), Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys (1st career receiving touchdown), Rolando McClain, LB, Oakland Raiders (1st career pass defended), Perrish Cox, CB, Denver Broncos (1st career forced fumble), Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos (1st career rushing touchdown), Syd’Quan Thompson, CB, Denver Broncos (1st career interception and 2 passes defended), Brandon King, DB, Indianapolis Colts (1st career tackle), Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (1st 2 career catches), Joe Haden, CB, Cleveland Browns (1st career interception), Brandon Deaderick, DE, New England Patriots (1st career sack), Dane Fletcher, LB, New England Patriots (1st 2 career tackles), Austen Lane, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (1st career tackle), Robert Malone, P, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st 3 career punts).