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.
Dallas Cowboys 1st-round pick Morris Claiborne could be the key to their performance against Eli Manning and the Giants on Wednesday night.
Eli Manning will look Claiborne's direction early and often
Last season, the Giants picked on Terrence Newman, completing 12 of 19 passes thrown his direction for 240 yards in their two meetings. This year, Newman is gone, replaced by Claiborne and veteran Brandon Carr.
Given the choice, Manning will likely target the rookie Claiborne, and will hope to have the same success he found when picking on Newman last season. If Claiborne can come up some big plays, the Cowboys may be able to pull off the upset. But if Claiborne can’t improve upon Newman’s performance in 2011, it will likely be another long night for the Dallas defense.
Robert Griffin III – The Washington Redskins selected RG3 to be their franchise quarterback and he will fill that role from Day 1. Realistically, we should expect some growing pains and he’ll probably cost the team a few games in the early going. But it’s all part of the process, and he should have plenty of highlight-reel plays as well.
Morris may be a surprise impact rookie
Kirk Cousins – We probably won’t see Cousins on the field this year, but he was impressive during the preseason. He’ll be groomed as trade bait and may wind up starting elsewhere in two or three years.
Alfred Morris – The 6th-round pick is one of three running backs on the roster. Considering the way Mike Shanahan treats his backfield, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Morris gets a start or two this year.
Kennan Robinson – Robinson may be the only impact rookie on the defensive side of the ball. He’ll back up Perry Riley and London Fletcher at inside linebacker.
Others: offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus, cornerback Richard Crawford
Nick Foles – The Philadelphia Eagles may have found their eventual replacement for Mike Vick. Foles won the backup job over Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards.
The Eagles have high expectations for Cox
Fletcher Cox – The 1st-round pick isn’t expected to start, but he will play a significant role as part of the defensive line rotation. They’ll likely ease him into a more prominent role as the season progresses.
Mychal Kendricks – The 2nd-round pick is expected to start at strong-side linebacker and could be a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
Brandon Boykin – Boykin may see playing time as the nickel corner, but will make his biggest impact on special teams. He is expected to begin the year as the team’s primary kick returner.
Vinny Curry – Curry was slowed by a high ankle sprain this offseason which may have limited his ability to make an early impact. He’ll be part of the defensive line rotation, but could compete for a starting job by the end of the year.
Damaris Johnson – The undrafted free agent likely won’t see many balls thrown his way, but is expected to be return punts.
Others: running back Chris Polk, running back Bryce Brown, offensive tackle Dennis Kelly
Seattle Seahawks rookie Robert Turbin may be forced into a starting role for his NFL debut as Marshawn Lynch is reportedly questionable for their opener against the Cardinals.
Turbin may start on Sunday
The Seahawks also have Leon Washington and Kregg Lumpkin on the roster, but Tubrin would be the best fit in terms of replacing Lynch. He’s a physical runner with a similar build to Lynch and should be able to step in fairly seamlessly - at least for one game.
This could prove to be a critical division showdown, so it will be disappointing if Lynch is out, but it could also be a great opportunity to give Turbin some valuable playing time early in the season.
David Wilson – The New York Giants 1st-round pick will begin the season as Ahmad Bradshaw’s backup but should see significant playing time. Under Tom Coughlin, the Giants have consistently used a two and even three man rotation at running back, leaving plenty of carries for Wilson in the backup role.
Rueben Randle – The 2nd-round pick likely won’t see much action early due to the crowded depth chart. He’ll likely start the year as the 5th or 6th option at receiver.
Adrien Robinson – The 4th-round pick starts the year as the third tight end behind and Martellus Bennett and Bear Pascoe.
Markus Kuhn – Kuhn was one of four defensive tackles to make the 53-man roster, which means he should see a fair amount of playing time as part of their rotation. He’s a bit of a developmental prospect though, so they may pick and chose the right spots to play him.
Jayron Hosley – Hosley competed for the nickel corner job during the preseason but appears to have lost out. He’ll start the season primarily playing on special teams and could return a few punts.
Morris Claiborne – The Cowboys 1st-round pick will be the only rookie starter in Dallas. He’s missed time this offseason so his development may be slowed, but the Cowboys will rely on him and Brandon Carr to anchor the secondary.
Cole Beasley – The only rookie to crack the Cowboys 53-man roster on offense was an undrafted rookie from SMU. Beasley beat out fellow rookie 5th-round pick Danny Coale for the job. He’s one of six receivers on the active roster the Cowboys don’t have a clear-cut No. 3 and No. 4 option, so he could see some action early as they sort out their depth chart at the position.
Tyrone Crawford – Crawford will provide depth on the Cowboys defensive line, rotating in at defensive end with Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher.
Other notables: linebacker Kyle Wilber, safety Matt Johnson