We are all so happy to be back to football that I feel it's appropriate to grade first-round rookies after their first preseason game. Now, of course, don't read into these scores too much. We are only one exhibition outing into these players' professional careers -- or in the case of the Browns and Jets, two contests in.
But now that there's legitimate NFL film to watch, grades are to be handed out, meaningless game or not. Yes, I was pumped to watch these prospects, who I studied for months, on a professional field.
These are preseason grades for first-round rookies. Before I begin, if a rookie isn't listed, it's either because he did not play in his respective team's opening game or, due to a variety of reasons, wasn't able to make much of an impact at all, bad or good.
1. Bryce Young, QB, Panthers
Young took a couple shots early against the Jets defensive line and mostly worked quick throws into the flat. He missed on a longer throw near the sideline. While his quick release was impressive, Young didn't do anything to stand out and wasn't able to elude rushers in the preseason debut.
2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Texans
After the first completion of the game, it was tough sledding for Stroud. He didn't notice a lurking safety in the middle of the field on his interception, and he took a bad, 15-yard sack, although it came on a play with a strange, two-man vertical route that was very long developing.
3. Will Anderson, EDGE, Texans
On just nine snaps, Anderson made an impact against the Patriots. He had an outside speed rush -- from one of the widest edge-rusher alignments you'll ever see -- nearly got to Bailey Zappe on a stunt and quickly dispatched a blocker for his only tackle of the game for a stop on a two-yard run. Alabama Will Anderson all over again.
4. Anthony Richardson, QB, Colts
While he probably shouldn't have forced the ball, Richardson's interception was more of a totally blown play all around that a bad read or inaccurate toss. Other than that, he flashed. A few quality completions over the middle, and a perfectly thrown ball to Alec Pierce in the front corner of the end zone that was broken up as the second-year receiver went to the ground. We even got a glimpse of Richardson's twitch and running power.
6. Paris Johnson, OT, Cardinals
There were some fascinating reps from Johnson in pass pro against Randy Gregory in the preseason opener. While Johnson did get a touch of chip help, he moved explosively and under control with violent hand work against one of the more naturally gifted, bendy outside rushers in football.
9. Jalen Carter, DT, Eagles
Two snaps, one phenomenal club move from Carter that freed him to get upfield to the quarterback against the Ravens.
10. Darnell Wright, OT, Bears
Only seven snaps from Wright in the preseason opener, and he was one of the few Bears offensive linemen to not unload on a Titans defender on D.J. Moore's long touchdown. However, he didn't allow a pressure and got out to his assignment in a hurry on a successful outside run by Khalil Herbert.
11. Peter Skoronski, OG, Titans
I'll start with this -- Skoronski is playing in the correct spot for him, inside at guard. He demonstrated awesome snap off the ball and balance getting to second-level blocks and moved linebackers, despite his second-to-last snap of the afternoon, when T.J. Edwards knocked him to the ground. Held his own in pass protection yet wasn't tested much in that regard.
12. Jahmyr Gribbs, RB, Lions
From a stat-book angle, nothing spectacular from Gibbs, outside of an 18-yard reception. He did have nice eight-yard scamper up the middle. From a traits perspective, Gibbs looked as effortlessly dynamic as at Georgia Tech and Alabama.
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13. Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Packers
Van Ness got 15 pass-rush opportunities against the Bengals and his only pressure came on a stunt in which the quarterback held the ball for a while.
14. Broderick Jones, OT, Steelers
Better run blocking than pass protection from Jones in this one, although he wasn't a disaster on pass plays. His anchor was maxed out on a handful of occasions, including a play that ended in a sack fumble.
15. Will McDonald, EDGE, Jets
McDonald now has five pressures through two preseason games, and we got a glimpse of his nasty spin move in the drubbing of the Panthers. He's looked the part of a top-half-of-the-first-round pass-rush specialist thus far.
16. Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Commanders
The impossibly spindly, play-making Forbes wasn't tested in coverage and had an assisted tackle near the end zone in his first preseason game. Not much to take from this outing.
17. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Patriots
Three tackles and two receptions allowed on both of the targets in his coverage area for Gonzalez, although on the second completion he allowed there was a forced fumble near the sideline. Altogether a good albeit unspectacular effort from the man-coverage corner.
18. Jack Campbell, LB, Lions
Campbell got plenty of burn in his preseason debut and looked the part of a linebacker who deserved to be selected in the first round. Four tackles, and he had a pass hit him in the back when walling off a pass target in coverage.
20. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seahawks
Three snags for the first receiver off the board in April. All three were on easy pitch and catches, and on his 24-yard reception, JSN was able to demonstrate his silky smooth YAC talent.
21. Quentin Johnston, WR, Chargers
Given that many had concerns with Johnston's hands, his drops in the preseason opener will stoke that fire. He was able to make amends with a touchdown on a catch in tight quarters later in the game.
22. Zay Flowers, WR, Ravens
Flowers drew a flag on one of his targets and made a defender whiff at air on a quick screen attempt. Flowers showed a glimmer of his capabilities.
23. Jordan Addison, WR, Vikings
Addison displayed his jagged route-running skills on a deep over he caught for 22 yards and made a fine sideline catch that probably would've been overturned during the regular season if Kevin O'Connell challenged the ruled incompletion.
24. Deonte Banks, CB, Giants
Wink Martindale was probably smiling ear to ear in the film room watching Banks in coverage in the preseason opener. He ran with Jameson Williams deep downfield before defending the pass and had another pass breakup on a back-shoulder attempt.
26. Mazi Smith, DT, Cowboys
Smith's one tackle was spectacular. Stacked then threw an offensive lineman to the ground. He didn't register much of an impact other than that.
27. Anton Harrison, OT, Jaguars
Lights-out performance from Harrison. Zero pressures surrendered on 11 pass-blocking snaps. He looked sudden and balanced at right tackle against the Cowboys.
28. Myles Murphy, EDGE, Bengals
Murphy did have two pressures against the Packers. They just came on 22 pass-rush attempts. The pressures were impressive, and he did look noticeably more nimble than at Clemson, which is a good sign.
29. Bryan Bresee, DL/EDGE, Saints
Bresee failed to make a serious impact as a rusher on 19 attempts to get to the quarterback. I didn't see major impact against the run either. Bresee is a young player, it could take time.
30. Nolan Smith, EDGE, Eagles
There were some clear losses for Smith on film, facing the likes of behemoths Daniel Faalele and David Sharpe. However, he put a ridiculous ghost rush on film that was a clear win and held his own as an edge-setting run defender.
31. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Chiefs
FAU played fast and bendy as a rusher in his NFL preseason debut against the Saints. He had a win a pure outside rush, was quick to flash an inside counter to beat a blocker and demonstrated his patented hustle on his third pressure. It really looked like he was playing at Kansas State again.