There were surprises and new arrivals on the NFL rookie front — and that’s just Week 1.
Six newcomers stepped up with none perhaps more surprising the Kansas City RB Kareem Hunt, who helped the Chiefs pull off a dominating 42-27 win over the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Thursday night. He had 17 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown — and seven catches for 133 yards and a 75-yard score. Not bad for a third-rounder out of Toledo.
As you should already know from last week, he already appears on more than 450 different cards with nearly 300 of those being certified autos. He’s got 15 RCs so far by the standard (non-insert) definition and nearly 140 memorabilia cards and is found in most 2017 releases — just like most of our other notables from Sunday.
Who made the cut? Keep reading.
Tarik Cohen, RB Chicago Bears
This fourth-round draft pick was about the only highlight for the Bears when it comes to collecting and he’s a guy who doesn’t have nearly as much cardboard as other “name” rookies here today. He had five carries for 66 yards and caught eight passes — the most of any NFL rookie — for 47 yards and a touchdown in a forgettable, but close, loss to the Falcons. He appears on fewer than 80 cards and has fewer than 10 certified autographs so far. His ink? Its only home for now is in 2017 Panini Unparalleled, while he has unsigned RCs in Absolute, Certified, Donruss, Elite, Panini, Gold Standard and Unparalleled.
Leonard Fournette, RB Jacksonville Jaguars
This former LSU star has been on the radar of collectors for a few years now and he’s one of those top-tier names who is found in nearly every draft picks release and NFL set of the year. He backed all that dedication on cardboard — more than 250 autos and more than 200 memorabilia cards so far — with a 100-yard debut. His 26 carries is a strong number and he added a touchdown to help it out. He also had three catches for 24 yards. There’s plenty of expectation here — and so far he’s a highlight.
T.J. Watt, LB Pittsburgh Steelers
More games like his NFL debut will prevent us from referencing him as J.J. Watt’s little brother. He had two sacks and interception against the Browns on Sunday — just the third player to have that in a debut — and added six tackles. He’s pushing 200 different certified autographs out of just over 300 total cards so there’s plenty of ink to go around for fans in the home of the Steel Curtain. He’s in the perfect spot and has the perfect name to be a hobby star and the start was perfect for that.
DeShone Kizer, QB Cleveland Browns
The former Notre Dame star was supposed to be the only rookie QB on Sunday and he wasn’t shabby with a 20-for-30 day for 222 yards and a touchdown. He did have an interception and was sacked seven times — so it could be a long season — but the fact that the Dawg Pound only saw the Browns lose 21-18 to a regional rival means that was an impressive start. He’s already pushing 600 different cards this year with more than 300 different autos so there’s plenty to choose from.
Deshaun Watson, QB Houston Texans
This name rookie — a guy who has cards in everything (more than 700 cards and nearly 400 autographs this year) — wasn’t supposed to play on Sunday. But when Fred, err Tom, Savage stunk up the joint leaving the Texans down 19-0 at halftime, the rookie got the call. His final line was 12-for-23 for 102 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added two carries for 16 yards and the Texans were handed a 29-7 loss. If there’s hope for anything on the offensive side in Week 2, it’s with this guy running the ship.
Other rookies of note: Corey Davis, Kenny Golladay, Cooper Kupp, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Marlon Mack, Shaquill Griffin, Jarrad Davis, Haason Reddick, Nazair Jones
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