We’re all attracted to guys like us. Whether it’s fellow nerds, musicians, etc., we just gravitate towards similar people. Well, one thing that’s always interested me is the noobs. Or, more specifically, the incoming draftees and those yet to be drafted. Noobs Like Me will focus on those players. These are (hopefully) up-and-comers that will take the league by storm. Hopefully they are an important part of winning it all for you! In this column, I’m going to be looking at one offensive and one defensive player in their rookie or sophomore year in the NFL, or maybe, if I’m feeling really ambitious, looking at guys that are in their junior or senior college seasons. So, without further ado, let’s get into our inaugural Noobs Like Me!
Offensive Noob: Stefon Diggs, MIN, WR
If you haven’t heard of Stefon Diggs, then you must be living under a rock. Diggs was an incredibly exciting player coming into the draft (that I had a 4th round grade on. Boy was I wrong.). Out of Maryland, Diggs had speed, route running, hands. Pretty much everything you wanted in a receiver. Except… Well, unfortunately he only really had those his freshman year. His sophomore and junior seasons, Diggs was constantly hampered by injury. Two season-enders. A broken leg and a lacerated kidney.
In his first few NFL games, Diggs has looked exactly what scouts thought that he would be. He’s a natural hands-catcher that has a knack for gaining separation through his speed and shiftiness. After being given a limited shot after Charles Johnson was injured, Diggs proved that he was a viable NFL starter, and potentially a career WR1 if he can stay healthy. In his two games played, Diggs has averaged 103 yards on 6.5 targets. And that’s without any touchdowns scored. With his suddenness in space, they’re sure to come, though.
After his promising debuts, there were questions on whether or not he would keep the starting role after Charles Johnson returned from injury. Well, with reports that Diggs was still getting first team reps despite Johnson’s recovery, we should feel confident about Diggs’ future.
While he may not be the stud we think he can be immediately, look for Diggs to fill the majority of the role that the Vikings expected Cordarrelle Patterson to fill. The only worry we should have is injury.
I’ll start with this. Owa Odighizuwa was severely underdrafted. Yes, he has an injury history. Yes, he is more of a run-stuffer than a pass-rusher. But dammit, Owa was one of my favorite players coming out of the 2015 draft. One of my favorite things to watch with upcoming defensive line players is hands. Owa has some of the best in the business despite being incredibly young. His hands shoot out violently and never stop moving. Offensive linemen have trouble getting a good grip on him, and it shows in particular with how effective he was in college against the run.
On top of that, there are few players with a higher motor. Owa is always looking to make the play. Whenever I was watching UCLA film last year, it was hard not to spot Owa, even with Myles Jack on the field. For those that know of Jack’s talent, it’s impressive that anyone would draw attention away from him. Owa is an underrated beast of a player.
For those of you that need to be sold more, I highly recommend you check out Justis Mosqueda’s “Force Players”. Owa is one of the few athletes that is metrically insane enough to fall under this category athletically. As long as he can improve his pass rush, Owa should be on the field often. It even provides the Giants insurance in case JPP never plays again.
The one worry about Owa is that he has had two significant hip surgeries. According to reports from the combine, he came in clean, but the risk is always there.
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