By: Barry Barnes, Founder
Week Two of the NFL was exciting as defensive players from the NFL Regional Combine stole the show with huge hits and many stops. This week, the athletes on the other side of the ball will be expecting to be let loose.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1-0) VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1-1)
The Vikings return for some home cooking at U.S. Bank Stadium after losing on the road in Pittsburgh. Wide receiver Adam Thielen showed his stuff, and that led to some extra undivided attention from the Steelers. Thielen finished Week Two with 44 yards off five receptions, a 113 fewer than Week One.
Thielen normally bounces back after underperforming. If quarterback Sam Bradford is in uniform, the 2014 RC standout should have no trouble putting up similar numbers from Week One.
Full back Alan Cross does not have to worry about any quarterback questions as Jameis Winston is looking sharp and healthy for the Buccaneers. The former tight end from Memphis is being used often in the passing game.
It was not until Week Five of last season that Cross received his first pass of the campaign, and his career. In Week Two, the RC participant of the 2016 trials had a catch for nine yards.
Bucs left tackle Leonard Wester will have to counter the furious pass rushing of Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen, if the opportunity presents itself.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-0) VS. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-1)
The bright lights of Sunday Night Football will be shining down on the stars of these squads. However, some of the spotlight will especially shimmer on the likes of Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts and kicker Giorgio Tavecchio.
Roberts has been slowly commanding the respect of opponents as he is a potential scoring threat each time he touches the ball. Recognized as perhaps the game’s best third-receiver, the RC standout from the 2014 Tampa Bay-held drills crossed the goal line five times last year and already reached the endzone this campaign.
Roberts was targeted once in Week Two and almost hauled that pass in. Despite the incompletion, he is motivated and is definitely due for a couple grabs against the Redskins. He will, however, be challenged by Redskins defensive back Quinton Dunbar.
Dunbar has been a pleasant surprise for the Redskins after converting from a wide receiver. He is aggressive and has a knack for getting after the ball. He has not recorded a tackle yet this season, but it is early and it is coming.
DALLAS COWBOY (1-1) VS. ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-1)
The Cowboys may have a legitimate pass rusher in the making in defensive Benson Mayowa. The five-year veteran from Idaho and 2013 RC talent applies pressure on quarterbacks nearly each time his hand comes out of the dirt. Mayowa had four tackles against the Denver Broncos in Week Two and he will add to the total against the Cards.
So Cardinals’ NFL Regional Combine pioneers running back Elijhaa Penny and tight end Ifeanyi Momah – beware.
THE RC RUN-THROUGH
- Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis caught his first pass of the season in Week Two against the Atlanta Falcons. There is a good chance he will register more against the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Falcons defensive backs C. J. Goodwin and Kemal Ishmael are getting a slow start this season. The Falcons will need some improved productivity from these RC pioneers when they face the refreshed Detroit Lions.
- Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is looking strong this season after signing a hefty deal prior to the season. Villanueva will tango with the Chicago Bears’ front seven, including one of his RC brethren, defensive Roy Robertson-Harris.
- Linebacker Julian Stanford got off to a fast start for the New York Jets with three tackles in Week One. He should be ready to feast on the Miami Dolphins after posting no stops in Week Two.
- Jacksonville Jaguars rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole is getting into a rhythm. Against the Baltimore Ravens, the talent from the Minnesota-held RC session could be a target they do not have on their radar.