This Is the Greatest N.F.L. Rookie Class Since …

Which Hunt will no doubt surpass in Week 13.

Here’s a look at the top rookies from N.F.L. Week 1:


Optimism, that rarest of commodities among the football-loving denizens of northeast Ohio, abounded on Sunday, even with Cleveland losing by 21-18 to the hated Steelers. Unlike many of his predecessors, the starting quarterback, DeShone Kizer, demonstrated a remarkable capacity for not offering fans reason to cry, drink or both.


DeShone Kizer completed 20 of 30 attempts for 222 yards,

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Against what should be one of the N.F.L.’s best defenses, Kizer completed 20 of 30 attempts for 222 yards, throwing for one touchdown and an interception, while also running for a score. He made some sharp throws but also some ill-advised ones, looked downfield often but also holding onto the ball too long, getting sacked seven times.

The Browns’ quest for a savior, loaded with failed draft picks and deep into its third decade, brought them to Kizer, strong-armed and mobile, whom they took in the second round out of Notre Dame after bypassing the consensus top three quarterbacks — Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Only Drew Bledsoe, Matthew Stafford and Jameis Winston were younger than or as young as Kizer, 21, when they debuted. All three were chosen first overall, but all three had also inspired enough confidence to earn the starting job at that age. So far, if nothing else, Kizer has done that, too.

Another team with entrenched quarterback problems, the Texans, have long managed to obscure them with their outstanding defense. But let the record show that for the fifth consecutive season they opened with a new starter, and this one, Tom Savage, after Jacksonville sacked him six times, lasted all of one half. In came Deshaun Watson, who capped a 14-play drive, extended by penalties, with a touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins.

Though Watson did show a knack for extending plays, that touchdown was his highlight. He finished 12 of 23 for 102 yards, averaging a meager 4.4 yards per attempt, and lost a fumble. His potential compelled Houston to trade up to select him in April, with the 12th pick, and the Texans hoped to ease him in this season and start him next. Right, well, anyway.

Their coach, Bill O’Brien, has a sordid history of changing quarterbacks — Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Brock Osweiler, et al….

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