NFL

The year of the rookie

This season of the NFL may very well turn out to be the year of the rookie.

Numerous picks from this past draft are already turning heads and helping their teams win.

The two rookies getting the most attention so far are Eagles QB Carson Wentz and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. They’ve both played error-free football and have led their teams to winning records, including the undefeated Eagles.

I know, it’s early.

But Wentz and Prescott have been impressive. Their completion percentage and deep-ball success are almost identical, with the slight edge going to Wentz, who was drafted No. 2 in the NFL draft.

Prescott, who wasn’t taken by the Cowboys until the fourth round, is showing great leadership and poise under center. He’s been pressured, but he hasn’t made any dumb moves. Heck, at times when avoiding the pass rush, Prescott resemebles Tony Romo.

Wentz is sealed in as the Eagles starter, even if he crumbles midseason.

Prescott, however, has Romo in the background healing from a broken back. Cowboys fans are speculating what will happen, but it’s likely a guarantee that if Romo is healthy again he will take the reins back from the rookie and lead the Cowboys through the rest of the season. Will it mess with the chemistry? Doubtful. Those players love Romo just as much as the new kid on the block, and you can’t argue that a returned Romo in form improves the passing game.

There are other rookies who stand out.

Giants WR Sterling Shepard was expected to be good, and he’s made some terrific plays already. It appears the Giants now have a solid second threat in the air. The second-round draft pick may have been a bit of a surprise move by the G-Men, but not really. He has real skills and hope was lost for Salsa Man Victor Cruz, who sat out two seasons with serious injuries. No regrets here … or as Eagles fans would write, “No Ragrets!”

Titans’ right tackle Jack Conklin wans’t supposed to be a great pass blocker, despite his first-round pedigree. But he’s meeting – or even beating – expectations.

In fact, he’s allowed just five pressures to the quarterback in his first three games, easily putting him in the top five. That’s impressive.

I can’t help but return to the two rookie quarterbacks, though. Something special seems to be inside both of these kids. You look at poor Jared Goff, selected first by the L.A. Rams, who has failed to get into the game in a city that desperately needs someone to rally around with the troubling start from Todd Gurley.

When I look into my crystal ball, I see a very dangerous NFC East for many years to come with both Prescott and Wentz leading the way.

 

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