Previously we broke down both team’s offense and defense for the upcoming game between the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. Now we dive back into the position battleground, this time looking at how each team’s rookie class stacks up against each other.
NT Mazi Smith (First Round)
Smith made one tackle against Miami but was pretty much quiet for the rest of the game. Some would say that’s a disappointment, and in some ways it is. But his job was to slow the Dolphins rushing attack, and that was exactly what he did. He helped keep one of the top-five rushing teams to just 91 yards. Miami actually only made one rush attempt to the inside, all the rest went off tackle or bounced to the edge. That’s usually a good sign your one-tech or inside run stoppers did their job of clogging the holes in the middle.
TE Luke Schoonmaker (Second Round)
Schoonmaker made one catch for four yards last week and wasn’t involved much in the passing game. But he was one of the better run blockers on the team. His efforts helping clear the edge could be extremely important this week to help establish the running game.
FB Hunter Luepke (UDFA)
We saw Luepke get involved in the run game on two rush attempts last week. He also caught one pass in the game. Of course, everyone remembers Luepke for the fumble of the exchange with Dak Prescott at the goal line that changed the trajectory of the game.
K Brandon Aubrey (UDFA)
Two-for-two on extra points, two-for-two on field goal last week. It was a close contest and those games usually hinge on the kickers. Aubrey passed his mission doing exactly what was needed, just a shame the win didn’t come.
RB Jahmyr Gibbs (First Round)
Gibbs is 18th in the NFL in all-purpose yards and his 872 rush yards is 12th most among running backs. He’s also scored nine rushing touchdowns this year which is fifth-most. Due to Gibbs size he was never an ideal guy to have on a roster as the bell cow running back, but as a complementary back he had the potential to take any NFL offense to the next level. With the Lions having David Montgomery to lead the way, this put Gibbs in an ideal position. End result, the Lions are third in rush yards and second in rushing touchdowns this year.
LB Jack Campbell (First Round)
Campbell was one of the most talented inside linebackers in last year’s draft and with his brand of physical football, he’s helped massively in stopping the run. Thanks to his contributions along with others, the Lions are allowing the fourth-fewest rush yards to opponents and Campbell is fifth on the team in tackles, missing very few tackles this year. He lacks the short area quickness, but he’s able to scrape and plug holes quickly due to his high-level instincts. A solid and tough run defender.
TE Sam LaPorta (Second Round)
The Iowa product has taken the tight end position to the next level just as expected. LaPorta is leading all tight ends this year in touchdowns, is fifth in receiving yards and fourth in first downs. He’s a pure move tight end that has insanely fast get off with elite footwork, which he uses well to get him open on complicated route moves. Where he lacks is as a blocker.
CB Brian Branch (Second Round)
Branch is the team’s nickel corner playing primarily from the slot. He’s been a solid run defender when he’s been asked to come down and help. He’s played pretty decently and ranks second on the team in interceptions. But he also ranks second in touchdowns allowed. He has quick feet and is able to match up well against big slot receivers (like CeeDee Lamb). But he can be slow off the mark at times, like he’s stuck momentarily in neutral. He can also second guess himself at the last moment, as though he sees it and reacts but then hesitates.
Which team has the better draft class?
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