Offensive Rookie of the Week: Tyler Smith
After an unfortunate injury to Tyron Smith, Tyler Smith was thrust into the starting left tackle spot at least until the newly-acquired Jason Peters is ready to take the field. Most thought this would be a death trap for the rookie, having not only to start at left tackle in the NFL but to also do so against the premier pass-rushing attack that Tampa Bay boasts.
While there aren’t many options from week to week for this award, five rookies actually took snaps on offense on Saturday. Smith stood out, as he held his own against a great defensive line.
In 69 total snaps, the first-round pick allowed two hurries, one sack, and committed one penalty. While that’s not great, it could’ve been a lot worse. Instead, the rookie impressed, certainly in the run game, grading out as the team’s second-best run blocker behind Terence Steele, with a 67.2 grade.
He played significant starting snaps at one of the league’s hardest positions, and we couldn’t ask for much more. After this pick received much criticism, he surprisingly won the first battle. There’s still a ways to go, but I don’t feel nearly as worried about that spot as I did when Tyron went down.
Runner-up: Dennis Houston
Defensive Rookie of the Week: Sam Williams
This selection was by default. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, and it didn’t necessarily have to do with poor play by the defensive rookies, it was just a matter of only one of them actually seeing the field, and that was second-round pick, Sam Williams.
Even though Williams did see the field, it was for only six defensive snaps. He did play two snaps on kickoffs as well, and he graded out well there, with a 70.4 grade. Overall, there is not much else to say here, other than I hope to see the rooks on defense make more of a presence on the defense.
Runner-up: DaRon Bland (special teams)