Thursday, October 15, 2015

Week 5 Rookie Report: Rawls, Strong take advantage of extra playing time

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As is generally the case when the NFL calendar flips to October, injuries are beginning to dominate the league landscape. Continuing a theme from last week’s report, another rookie running back stole the show in Week 5, this time while filling in for his team’s injured starter. An AFC South wide receiver made the most of his opportunities after being activated for the first time this season, and a couple first-year defensive backs made big plays in the secondary. Chris Tripodi breaks down this week’s impressive rookie performances. 

Thomas Rawls (RB-Sea)

With Marshawn Lynch hobbled ever since Seattle’s Week 2 game in Green Bay, Thomas Rawls has taken the reigns in the Seahawks backfield over the past three weeks. An undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, Rawls impressed enough in training camp to convince Seattle he was ready to be their primary backup, and they shipped 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael to Dallas and waived Robert Turbin before signing Fred Jackson to work on passing downs. Despite a rough outing in Week 4, Rawls has made the Seahawks look smart for entrusting him behind their 29-year-old workhorse, especially after his 23-carry, 169-yard performance in a loss to the Bengals on Sunday.

The 5-9, 215-pound rookie made his presence felt on Seattle’s initial touchdown drive in the first quarter Sunday, showing both patience and vision as a runner. His first run went for seven yards, as he beat backfield penetration to turn the corner before being shoved out of bounds. After a couple two-yard runs, Rawls took a second-and-six handoff out of the shotgun for 23 yards, doing an excellent job of patiently waiting for tiny openings and quickly darting through them. Once at the second level, Rawls ran right through a Pacman Jones tackle attempt for an extra 10 yards, and the Seahawks scored three plays later.

Read the rest at Draft Insider

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