The first weekend of professional football is a momentous occasion for millions of Americans. A new season gives each team a chance to pave their way towards a Lombardi Trophy, as well as giving every player the opportunity to solidify their role on an NFL roster.
Ole Miss was well represented this opening weekend, as the Ole Miss alumni showed up and stood out all across the NFL landscape.
After three consecutive 9-7 seasons, the Tennessee Titans needed more offensive firepower to become a top-tier football team, and their second-round draft pick A.J. Brown appeared to be the upgrade that offense needed.
The rookie shredded the Browns’ defense, recording three catches for 100 yards, including a 51-yard catch and run in an emphatic 43-13 victory. Keep a close eye on Brown for the rest of the season; he may breakout as the premier receiving option in an offense struggling to establish a passing attack.
Another Ole Miss rookie, D.K. Metcalf, did not disappoint the Seattle Seahawks in his debut. In a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the second-round draft pick put up 89 yards, the most from any Seahawks receiver in their first appearance.
“I’m already big enough, so just going up and trusting my technique and my work; that’s pretty much all it is,” he said.
Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ quarterback, spoke effusively about Metcalf’s performance, calling him a special player. After being knocked out in the wild-card round of last year’s playoffs, the Seahawks are hoping that Metcalf can contribute to a deep playoff run this year.
Evan Engram is quickly becoming a reputable tight end in the NFL. Against a staunch Dallas Cowboy defense, the third-year Ole Miss product recorded 116 receiving yards on 11 catches with a touchdown in the 35-17 loss.
Engram’s production is going to be key for a Giants team predicted to be in the bottom half of the league this year, especially after losing star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the offseason.
“We’ve just got to finish drives,” he said after the game. “(We) made some mistakes, got to cut those back.”
In what seems to be a troubling year for the Giants, Engram will surely be a catalyst for anything beneficial that occurs in the Giants’ offense.