Saints QB Ian Book shined in Week 1
By: Jeremy Trottier
With the first week of the NFL preseason in the rearview mirror, we got the opportunity to see some of the phenomenal rookies we expected to perform such as Trevor Lawrence. With that, we also saw some breakouts from the later rounds of the draft, trying to gain a spot on their respective rosters either as a backup or even potential starter. In this article, I will be going over the three best performances from 2021 preseason week 1 of rookies drafted in day three, that being rounds four through seven, and projecting where they could land on their depth charts.
Rhamondre Stevenson – RB – New England Patriots – Round 4 Pick 120
First up we have the power back from Oklahoma University in Rhamondre Stevenson, a player I was extremely impressed with entering the draft and proved he can be a commodity to the Patriots this season. The main focus is Stevenson’s 91-yard rushing touchdown, which I have linked below, but aside from that play he also had 9 rushes for 36 yards and a touchdown, which alone would have made him the lead rusher on the Patriots that night.
Including the 91 yarder, he had 10 rushes for 127 yards (12.7 YPC) and 2 touchdowns, which in your first NFL game is a very strong performance, even if you were expected to be an elite player. Stevenson will definitely have a role carved out for him on the Pats 53 man roster this season if he continues this success, and likely would be utilized as the power and RedZone back for them with Damien Harris, James White, and Sony Michel taking the other spots on the depth chart.
Ian Book – QB – New Orleans Saints – Round 4 Pick 133
Next up we have one of the more controversial picks the Saints made in this draft class, that being Ian Book, former Notre Dame quarterback. Many believed he would take a long time to develop and would primarily be used as the QB3 on the roster and letting Taysom Hill take over his swiss army knife role again. But with that said, Ian Book actually looked solid on Saturday, and it seemed like he had a lot of good traits to work with.
Book went 9/16 for 126 yards and an interception Vs the Ravens, however, the interception was more of a prayer pass late in the game and was not something he would normally throw seemingly. He had the most yards, completions, attempts, and yards/completion of all three Saints QBs on Saturday, and a higher QBR than Taysom Hill did, which shows he can be a productive player when utilized, and has potential for the future to tap into.
Rashad Weaver – OLB – Tennessee Titans – Round 4 Pick 135
Finally, we look two picks after Ian Book to find the Pittsburgh University outside linebacker, Rashad Weaver. At 6’4” and 259 pounds, he has a very good build as an outside linebacker, and has shown some true versatility at the position to play both in pass rush and coverage with strong capabilities. When up against the Atlanta Falcons this Friday, he had a strong showing in his first NFL game, putting up the following statline:
- 2 tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 2 TFL
- 1.5 sacks, 1 pass deflected
For a new player coming out of the 4th round of the draft, he was able to show off that he can utilize pass rush moves to get to and bring down the QB, as well as making plays on the ballcarriers to force loss of yards. If he can continue to put up complete stat lines like this, he could find his way into the starting linebacker rotation at some point this season.