Here are some of the rookies that stood out in this weekend's action:
Offensive Rookies of the Week
Achane left Sunday's game against the Giants with a knee injury and is . He made his presence known for most of this game. On 12 touches, he accumulated 165 yards (13.75 yards per touch) and two touchdowns. Miami has been creative in the ways that it gets the ball in Achane's hands. Listed as a running back, the Texas A&M product will often line up in the slot or elsewhere to confuse the defense.
Downs proved to be a reliable outlet for Anthony Richardson and Gardner Minshew in a win over the Titans. Although undersized, Downs showed the type of attention to detail that made him so successful in college. His route breaks are how he creates separation in addition to Shane Steichen creating opportunities for him across the field. He caught six passes for 97 yards in the victory.
Nacua had seven receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown against Philadelphia, but there was more left on the table. A route across the field ended with a pass going off his fingertips. There were multiple other occasions, including the touchdown to Tutu Atwell, that Nacua was open and Matthew Stafford went elsewhere with the football. Many wondered how the return of Cooper Kupp would impact Nacua, and the conclusion drawn is that it will not. Nacua remains second in the league in receiving yards.
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Defensive Rookies of the Week
Carter looks like he is playing a different competition level the way he looms over opposing offensive linemen and sheds blocks with sheer strength and quickness. Philadelphia's defensive line has a lot of talent, so that creates a lot one-on-one opportunities, yet Carter was drawing more double teams as the game progressed. He finished with two sacks in the victory.
Howden's Minnesota teammates spoke very highly of him in terms of his presence both on and off the field. He has taken on a much larger role for New Orleans. Against New England, the safety showed the ability to quickly close and also break his feet down in space. When the ball arrived, Howden was physical and able to break it up twice. On one particular play, Mac Jones found Ty Montgomery downfield but Howden came flying in, dislodged the ball and created a turnover for linebacker Pete Werner.
DT Gervon Dexter Sr., Chicago Bears
Dexter was able to apply pressure on 22.2% of the opponent's dropbacks, according to TruMedia. It did not result in any sacks but Dexter was able to flush the pocket on multiple occasions and get Sam Howell on the move. There is a big gap between Carter's play, who Chicago could have taken No. 9 overall, and Dexter's but it is important for the Bears to find young foundational pieces worth building around and some of those players have begun to introduce themselves.
Don't look now but Gervon Dexter Sr getting comfortable as a 1-Tech pass rusher -- here he jumps on the Center early, keeps his feet moving, and rips right through him.— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) October 7, 2023
Not much hand-fighting to speak of here, just power on power and Dexter wins. Wades through the OL. pic.twitter.com/hmzZSnlM8V