Week 1 of the 2020 season has come and gone, with a bevy of rookies seeing their first NFL action. Others are either injured or are waiting behind established starters. Regardless, here is how each of the 32 first-round picks has graded through Week 1.
[Editor’s note: All of PFF’s grades and advanced stats from Week 1 of NFL action are available to ELITE subscribers now. Subscribe today for access!]
It was far from a perfect outing from Joe Burrow, who threw one of the worst interceptions of the week, flicking the ball casually to a defensive lineman. However, it’s tough to ignore the poise he showed when the chips were down late in the game in executing the two-minute drill on his way to what should have been to be his first fourth-quarter comeback.
Chase Young was billed by PFF as the best edge-rushing talent to enter the league since we started grading college football (2014), which features NFL stars such as the Bosa brothers and Myles Garrett. His debut didn’t disappoint, with Young posting four total pressures and two sacks. What is perhaps most impressive is that the damage wasn’t coming against a makeshift right side of the Eagles’ offensive line, but against one of the best left tackles of his generation in Jason Peters. While Peters is 38 years old and was practicing at guard for most of the offseason, the fact that he had that much trouble with Young is a great sign for the rookie.
First-rounder Andrew Thomas played every snap at left tackle in Week 1. And though he surrendered some pressure, he wasn’t the primary source of the team’s protection problems. Thomas allowed four total pressures within a unit that was overmatched by Pittsburgh’s defensive front and blitz packages. His work in the run game was better, but the Giants as a whole were dominated in that regard, so it would be difficult to tell without focusing on him individually.
Tua Tagovailoa is healthy, but he has yet to win the starting job from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The one thing we were all sure about with Derrick Brown was that he would be a high-level force against the run in the NFL — the debate was whether he could generate pressure. However, he struggled in the former facet, earning a 28.5 grade against the run. The biggest impact he made was batting down two passes at the line, but this was not an opening to look back on with any fondness for the seventh overall pick in the draft. Brown recorded one hurry from 21 snaps rushing the passer and had a missed tackle to go along with his struggles in the run game.
Isaiah Simmons wasn’t an every-down starter for the Cardinals in Week 1, which might have been a good thing. On the snaps he did play, he may as well have worn a giant bullseye such due to the regularity and accuracy with which Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ passing attack looked to exploit him.
Simmons was out of position on Raheem Mostert’s catch-and-run touchdown, but he was also beaten by Jerrick McKinnon and George Kittle for catches. Simmons’ main selling point as a prospect was being a matchup weapon on defense — a player who could neutralize these types of threats — but his debut suggests he is far from ready to hold up to that yet.
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