– We start this week’s Recapping the Rookies with the first running back taken in April’s draft, the 54th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans, Bishop Sankey, who scored his first career touchdown in the Titans blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Sankey has been buried on the depth chart behind Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster for carries, but with the score 34-10 in favor of the Colts by the third quarter, Ken Whisenhunt decided to go with the rookie, and he hit pay dirt just before the start of the fourth quarter. Though Greene is still the starter, Sankey has actually started to produce in his limited opportunities, as in week three, he had 10 carries for 61 yards in what was another lopsided game. As the season progresses, look for Sankey to become the lead back, as Greene is still nothing special, and in his limited chances Sunday, he only managed 10 yards on three carries. If you’re in fantasy leagues, the window to buy on the Bishop is closing.

mck– Sankey wasn’t the only rookie back to get in on the action, as Vikings’ third round pick Jerick McKinnon exploded against the Atlanta Falcons for 135 yards on 18 carries, and could be positioning himself to be Minnesota’s future if Adrian Peterson doesn’t return. While hybrid fullback Matt Asiata is firmly entrenched as the short-yardage and goal-line back, if McKinnon can consistently display the explosiveness he showed on Sunday, it will be hard to keep him off the field….Two names to keep an eye on for the rest of the season both went undrafted in April– Darrin Reeves of the Carolina Panthers (possibly the starter with DeAngelo Williams joining Mike Tolbert and Jon Stewart on the sidelines) and Brandon Oliver of the San Diego Chargers (who split carries with Donald Brown and actually out-produced him against the Jaguars)….Lorenzo Taliaferro couldn’t duplicate his big week three, but he still put up 58 yards and a touchdown on his 15 carries against the Panthers. With Bernard Pierce still out, the fourth round pick is forming an effective tandem with veteran Justin Forsett.

– Kelvin Benjamin keeps on rolling, as he was the only Panther player who really seemed to thrive against the Ravens, tallying 76 yards and the lone Carolina touchdown on five catches, and is arguably becoming one of the top 20 receivers in the league, and the early favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also made headway Sunday, as he caught his first touchdown pass of the season from Mike Glennon, in addition to 65 total yards on four catches, but unfortunately that will be the last the Bucs see of him until their bye week possibly, as he pulled a groin muscle and is expected to miss two to three weeks.

– We end with the rookie signal-callers:

bbbTeddy Bridgewater looked more than up to the task of leading the Vikings’ offense against the Falcons, and while he didn’t have his first touchdown pass, he did run for a touchdown, but was otherwise content to let his goal-line back get the glory. He completed 19 of 30 passes for an impressive 317 yards, a two-point conversion, and ran five times for 27 yards. All of sudden things look a lot brighter in Minnesota.

While in Jacksonville, Blake Bortles did a decent job in his first starter……but things still don’t really look bright for the Jaguars. Bortles put up a decent line himself, completing 29 of 37 passes for 253 yards, he did get intercepted twice while throwing his first touchdown, and he did run five times for 24 yards. He was also sacked three times behind a brutal offensive line that probably isn’t getting much better this year.

Lastly, while both Bridgewater and Bortles had to wait to take their current positions, Derek Carr was named opening day starter for the Oakland Raiders, and each week we’ve seen him look more and more overmatched, and the experiment is now on hiatus after Carr left the Raiders’ British demolition with a sprained MCL and high-ankle sprain, which will cause him to miss at least the Raiders first three games after their week five bye week. While Matt McGloin will not be an upgrade for Oakland, Carr’s numbers and overall performance were getting worse each week, so this absence could be a good thing for him in the long run, as it will give him a chance to re-evaluate his play, and possibly improve on past mistakes. The problem is– he will still be on the Raiders.

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