Here are the 33rd Team’s standout rookie performances in the NFL from Week 15:
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (1st round, Oregon)
Another week, another Justin Herbert appearance on the 33rd Team’s Top 5 Rookies list. In what turned out to be a battle of legendary Oregon Duck QBs on Thursday night, Herbert carried his team to an unexpected overtime win against Las Vegas. Herbert completed 68.7% of his passes for 314 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for the overtime score that ended the game on a goal-line sneak. Herbert continues to look impressive in his rookie campaign, as his eight passes of 50-plus yards are the most in the NFL and he’s already tied Baker Mayfield’s rookie record with 27 TD passes.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (2nd round, Oklahoma)
Hurts is making it VERY difficult to relegate him back to holding a clipboard. Hurts started his second consecutive game this week and picked up right where he left off after a big win against New Orleans last week. In Sunday’s game against Arizona, Hurts had 401 total yards and 4 touchdowns with a QB rating of 102.3, but still fell short of the win. As Jalen did throughout his collegiate career at Alabama and Oklahoma, he downplayed his successes in the post-game interviews and instead focused on the team’s goals. “I could care less to hear any of the young stuff, second start stuff, rookie stuff,” he said. “We have a standard we want to play to.” Obviously, Hurts still has room for growth on the field, but he is continuing to show the maturity and ability that you want out of your franchise QB.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys (1st round, Oklahoma)
A newcomer on the 33rd Team’s ROTW list, Lamb was a huge contributor in Dallas’ shootout win against San Francisco. Lamb had a respectable day catching the ball with 5 receptions for 85 yards, but his biggest impact came on special teams. San Francisco had pulled within one score in the final quarter and was looking to recover an onside kick. A member of Dallas’ “hands team” for onside recovery, Lamb plucked the ball out of the air on a hop and found enough of a gap to run the recovery back for a score.
Lamb has struggled to put up big numbers since the Cowboys lost Dak Prescott for the season, but he looks to be exactly the type of player that Dallas hoped he would be when they picked him this spring.
Derrick Brown, DT, Carolina Panthers (1st round, Auburn)
Derrick Brown had his coming-out party against the Packers this weekend. After struggling all season to replicate the dominance he showed at Auburn and in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Brown caused problems for the Green Bay offense all day. Brown ended up tallying 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, and 3 tackles all while playing a season-high 92% of defensive snaps. With Brown coming on at the end of the year, the Panthers seem to have found two defensive foundational pieces in this rookie class when Brown is paired with their do-it-all defender Jeremy Chinn.
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Miami Dolphins (undrafted, Washington)
You may have come here expecting to find Tua Tagovailoa on this list, but he isn’t the Dolphin we’re covering this week. Ahmed, playing in only his fourth career game, racked up 122 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the vaunted Patriots defense. The undrafted Huskie, on his second professional team, lit up New England and averaged 5.3 yards per rush en route to eliminating the 11-time AFC East champions from playoff contention. Ahmed filled in admirably for missing starter Myles Gaskin, but he may have carved himself a foothold in the Miami backfield with this weekend’s performance.