The Pittsburgh Steelers gambled on Mike Adams in the 2nd round of the draft, taking a chance on a guy who never lived up to lofty expectations at Ohio State and who failed a drug test at the combine.
So far, it’s a gamble that hasn’t paid off. Adams was forced into action when Marcus Gilbert went down with an injury early in the Steelers Sunday night loss in Denvar. One the third play of his career, he was called for a penalty. He then went on to allow one sack and two hurries, according to Pro Football Focus.
Adams clearly has the size and athleticism to play at this level, but he’s never demonstrated the consistency necessary to handle the demands of the NFL. Gibert is expected to play this week against the Jets, so Adams will be back on the bench. But his performance certainly doesn’t instill confidence should Gilbert or left tackle Max Starks go down at any point this year.
Minnesota Vikings 1st-round pick Harrison Smith was drafted for his coverage ability, but the free safety will be asked to step up against the run on occasion. And in his NFL debut, it looked like a may be a liability in that area.
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith was lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage on six run plays on Sunday against the Jaguars. And in those six plays, he was 0-for-2 on tackle attempts.
Smith did make two other tackles against the run, but only in situations where he was the last line of the defense (meaning he was lined up deeper than eight yards, presumably in anticipation of a potential pass play).
Obviously this is just one game and a very small sample size, but it’s a disappointing start for Smith. To be a three-down player at this level he’ll need to improve in this area.
Jacksonville Jaguars 1st-round pick Justin Blackmon had an inauspicious debut against the Vikings on Sunday.
Blackmon was supposed to give the Jaguars a serious downfield threat, but just one of the five balls thrown his direction was more than 10 yards down the field. Blaine Gabbert may be partly to blame for the lack of success, but it was also clear that Blackmon was struggling to get open.
Blackmon was primarily matched up with Vikings rookie Josh Robinson, a matchup which should have worked in Blackmon’s favor.
It won’t get any easier for Blackmon next week, as the Jaguars host the Texans.
Miami Dolphins 2nd-round pick Jonathan Martin struggled to protect his fellow rookie, Ryan Tannehill on Sunday against the Texans.
Martin allowed one sack and four hurries in 40 pass plays. In other words, once every eight times Tannehill dropped back to pass, pressure was coming from the right side of the line.
Martin’s 12.5 pressure percentage allowed is an abysmal mark and one that needs to improve if the Dolphins rookie quarterback is going to find success this season. Martin was matched up with Texans right outside linebacker Connor Barwin for most of the game – a respectable pass rusher, but not nearly among the game’s elite. A more difficult matchup could spell serious trouble for the Dolphins offensive line.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was in over his head on Sunday, and the more the stats are analyzed the worse it looks.
It was a long afternoon for Weeden.
It was apparent during the game that Weeden was struggling with the deep and intermediate passes, overthrowing multiple open receivers. According to Pro Football Focus, Weeden was 0-7 with two interceptions on balls thrown at least 10 yards downfield.
While everyone expected Weeden to struggle, no one expected this. In fact, his ability to get the ball downfield was supposed to be the area in which he provided the most significant upgrade over Colt McCoy. In 2011, McCoy completed just 44.1 percent of his passes beyond 10 yards – a disappointing number, but far better than Weeden’s opening game performance.
Looking beyond the stats, the concern with Weeden is the fact that he wasn’t just off target with his throws. He missed multiple open receivers, include two in the end zone, by a wide margin which killed multiple Browns drives.
To make matters worse, the Eagles front seven wasn’t applying much pressure to Weeden. He was pressured on 13 of his 38 dropbacks (34.2%) – that’s not an unreasonable performance by the offensive line. On plays when he wasn’t pressured, he completed just 10 of 24 passes (41.7%) including two interceptions. That’s a stat line that must improve dramatically if the Browns are going to generate any type of offense this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1st-round pick Doug Martin impressed in his debut, carrying the Bucs to a 16-10 victory over the Panthers.
Martin carried the ball 24 times for 95 yards and added another 23 yards on four receptions. And if there was any question as to who the feature back was in this offense, LeGarrette Blount had just four touches on the day (three rushes, one reception).
I had Martin as the 14th rated player on my board in this year’s draft, so his performance doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s a legitimate feature back and this game should simply set the tone for the rest of his season.
The Indianapolis Colts spent their first two picks in the draft on college teammates in hopes that it would ease their transition to the NFL. And so far, it seems to have worked. Andrew Luck was shaky in his debut, but he definitely looked comfortable working with Coby Fleener.
While Reggie Wayne was understandably Luck’s go-to receiver, he also targeted Fleener 10 times on Sunday. The two connected on six of those plays for 82 yards.
There’s obviously still a lot of work to be done in Indy, but it’s encouraging to see Luck and Fleener developing a connection early in their NFL careers.
New York Jets 2nd-round pick Stephen Hill turned in a strong debut, catching five passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets win over the Bills.
Hill made an immediate impact for the Jets
He’s first Jets rookie with two touchdown receptions in a game since Keyshawn Johnson in 1996.
Even in this performance it was clear that Hill is still developing as a receiver, but it was also clear that his speed and athleticism makes him an immediate threat.
Hill caught five of the six balls thrown his direction, and that type of consistently should only lead to a larger role in the Jets offense as the season progresses.
You couldn’t have scripted a worse debut for Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden.
It was a long day for Weeden against the Eagles
They day started with Weeden getting caught under the American flag during pregame ceremonies. He then proceeded to throw four interceptions en route a 5.1 quarterback rating – the lowest in the NFL since Jeff Garcia posted a 0.0 in 2004.
Weeden also managed to complete more passes to Eagles defensive backs Kurt Coleman and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie than Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs and Greg Little combined.
The issue for Weeden was his accuracy. He missed open receivers on a number of occasions, including twice overthrowing wide-open targets in the end zone. It’s clear he has a long way to go before he’s ready to compete at this level.
New York Giants 1st-round pick David Wilson fumbled on his second career carry midway through the 1st quarter, and was promptly benched. The Giants handed the ball off to Wilson on two of their first five running plays, but Wilson didn’t touch the ball for the remainder of the 1st half.
Wilson struggled with ball security throughout his brief college career, so his fumble comes as no surprise. But it’s definitely a rough start to his pro career.
While the Giants clearly shied away from giving him more carries, Tom Coughlin and his staff don’t have many other options. Ahmad Bradshaw has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, so they need Wilson to share the workload in order to keep Bradshaw fresh.