Younger players are often secret weapons for teams on offense and defense. Unlikely to draw attention from opposing coordinators, these guys make a big difference for their teams before they become full-blown stars at the NFL level.
Offense: Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
We haven’t seen a lot of offensive buzz out of New York, with both the Giants and Jets mired in 2-win seasons, but it looks like the Giants rookie QB might have found another rookie to help bolster their attack. Rookie WR Darius Slayton, a fifth-round selection out of Auburn has been gradually gaining his quarterback’s confidence and had his breakout game in week ten. Against the Jets, Slayton caught ten passes for 121 yards and two TDs. Despite being seldom targeted earlier this year, the rookie trails Odell Beckham Jr. by only a few dozen yards and has four more TD catches than the former Giants superstar.
Defense: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders made waves when they took Clelin Ferrell fourth overall in this year’s draft. Not because the Clemson product wasn’t a good fit for the Raiders, but because there were several higher graded players at his position still available. Early in the season, his contributions have been less impactful than Nick Bosa, or Brian Burns, but Ferrell has been working his way into the Raiders defense. He came up huge against the division rival Chargers on Sunday, totaling 8 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pass deflection. If he can keep up that type of production, no one will be laughing at the Raiders for trading away Khalil Mack.
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Image Source: USA Today