The 2017 rookie class has anywhere between zero and twenty one regular season games under their collective belts, or at least they will after tonight’s Monday Night Football tilt between New Orleans and Washington. And although we wait for Monday Night to culminate the week, primetime has already brought us some flashes of brilliance in Week 5 of the NFL season courtesy of the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s also been a fair share of disappointments.
Here are some of the standouts, for better or for worse, from the 2017 NFL Draft in Week 5.
Still Got It – Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt
A quick look at the NFL’s sack leaders will reveal a family affair at the top: brothers J.J. and T.J. each claim 6.0 sacks on the 2018 season, tying them with Cincinnati DT Geno Atkins for first place.
T.J. was off to a torrid start this year, claiming 3 sacks against the Cleveland Browns in a Week 1 tie. In Week 5, Watt was back on A-game, logging another 3 sacks against Matt Ryan en route to a dominating 41-17 victory.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 7, 2018
Watt’s final sack (not pictured above) might be his best one, showing great short area acceleration to turn the corner before stripping QB Matt Ryan of the ball for a defensive touchdown.
Still Not It – Miami Dolphins DE Charles Harris
Fun fact: you have as many sacks as Harris does this season! Yes, you! The good news for the Dolphins: Harris has finally made his way into the starting line-up. Just ignore the fact that it’s because Cameron Wake, Andre Branch and William Hayes are all out with injury.
Silver linings, Miami. Silver linings.
Sending Flowers – Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross
John Ross probably has similar feels to Al Pacino did in Godfather Part III right about now.
Ross had the best game of his professional career on September 30th against the Falcons, logging two receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. Ross promptly hurt himself on the touchdown and was inactive for this week’s contest against the Dolphins.
The injury bug has not been kind to Ross during his football career, although this latest flare up sounds relatively minor. Get well soon, John!
Showing Promise – Arizona Cardinals LB Haason Reddick
Sunday morning rumor: Haason Reddick might be available for trade because the team is concerned with his ability to pick up the defense.
Reddick’s response: doubling his season tackle total (8 tackles on the day) and logging a strip sack that was returned for a defensive touchdown.
Scoop & SCORE for @bynestime56!
— NFL (@NFL) October 7, 2018
Arizona can’t possibly be serious about packing it in on Reddick…but if they are, I talked about why your favorite team should be calling them every waking moment of the day.
Still Got It – Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson
What if I told you that Deshaun Watson has thrown for 375+ yards in his last three games of the season? It’s true.
What if I told you Watson has willed his team to consecutive wins behind a swiss cheese offensive line? It’s true.
Watson has been masterful after a dud against New England to start the season. Extrapolate his 4 game stretch (he threw for a measly 310 yards in Week 2 against the Titans) over 16 games:
5,780 passing yards, 32 total touchdowns, 16 interceptions.
Now, listen. Football doesn’t work like that, I know that. I’m dumb, but I’m not stupid, okay? But it’s a testament to Watson’s production and how good he has quietly been because the team is bad. Oh yeah, and Watson has been sacked 15 times in his last 4 games as well.
Please, say a prayer that the barrage of hits we’ve seen Deshaun absorb through the first five weeks doesn’t break his body down again. Watson looked like a boxer in the ring while working in the pocket. He was light on his feet, graceful and almost always found a way to get the ball out against Dallas.
Still Not It – Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis
The best way to describe Davis’ play would be: “up and down”.
One minute he’s dropping a booming hit, the next he’s completely whiffed. The good news for Lions fans? Have patience. I firmly believe Davis is on the up and up. His skills as a blitzer can help this Lions pass rush. His athleticism in coverage has flashed more frequently this season.
He’s not there yet. But he’s closer than he was a year ago.
Sending Flowers – Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette missed the Jags’ Week 5 date with the undefeated Chiefs, his third missed game of the season. Fournette, who also missed three games in 2017, has to be frustrated with the hamstring issue that has hamstrung his start to 2018.
It’s certainly not time to panic yet in Duval. But with Fournette on the shelf and OT Cam Robinson out for the season, the Jaguars have lost some of their punch.
Get well soon, Leonard! I can only handle so many Bortles knuckleballs.
Showing Promise – Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku
Njoku’s yards per reception with Tyrod Taylor playing Quarterback: 4.71
Njoku’s yard per reception with Baker Mayfield playing Quarterback: 12.08
I rest my case, Your Honor.