With injuries starting to take their toll around the NFL, more and more rookies are seeing increased opportunities. While some have floundered, others have flourished. Let’s take a look at some of those first-year players making the most of their newfound playing time.
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Bynum was a cornerback back at Cal before the Vikings selected him in the fourth round and moved him to safety. With Harrison Smith on the COVID-19 list for Week 9, Bynum got his first career start. He repaid Mike Zimmer’s faith in him with a monster of a game. He racked up 11 solo tackles without a miss, including four defensive stops. He also made one of the plays of the weekend with a diving interception.
— NFL (@NFL) November 7, 2021
While the Vikings have two established starters at safety, Bynum showed they’re in good hands should either miss any more time.
The Texans haven’t given onlookers many reasons to be encouraged this season. But Lopez certainly qualifies as one of them. The sixth-rounder out of Arizona has quickly become a stalwart along the team's front, with 278 snaps played in nine games. He’s earned a 73.5 run-defense grade with eight stops so far. Lopez is coming off a career game over the weekend against the Dolphins, notching two pressures and earning an 88.9 overall grade.
Even with a heavy safety rotation in Miami, it’s been Holland as the full-time starter the past five weeks. For the season, he’s allowed only seven catches on 10 targets for 115 yards with a pick and two pass-breakups.
Jevon Holland first career pick ????pic.twitter.com/Y7CZMIdeMy
— Boom or Bust: The Draft Show (@BoomOrBustDraft) November 7, 2021
He’s also been extremely versatile and reliable. He has blitzed 28 times already, resulting in eight pressures, and missed only four of his 38 tackle attempts.
The Broncos' blowout of the Dallas Cowboys was one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, and Cooper’s presence was a big reason why. With Bradley Chubb injured and Von Miller traded, Denver was thought to be dead in the water from a pass-rushing perspective. Cooper, though, racked up seven pressures, including two sacks, against the Cowboys in Week 9. He now has 13 pressures in three starts this season.
— Denver Broncos 365 (@DailyBroncos) November 7, 2021
Week 9 Rookie Snaps and PFF Grades
|Michael Carter II||Jets||CB||46||28.6|