Big NFL opening week for former Auburn players
It'd be hard to choose who had the best Week 1 among former Auburn players in the NFL.
Some performances were flashy, like Cam Newton's two touchdowns in his New England debut, or Daniel Carlson's career-long field goal in the Raiders' win. Others may have flown under the radar but can be judged as equally impressive, like Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis' lockdown performance against Saints star receiver Mike Thomas.
Any way you slice it, there's only one Auburn-related conclusion to draw from the NFL's opening slate of games: It was one of the best weekends for former Tigers in the league in recent years.
Let's break down who made the biggest impact for their team out of Auburn's 25 active NFL players.
Players who made little-to-no notable contributions (or who were inactive) will not be mentioned. For a full list of Auburn's representatives in the NFL, click here.
• Washington running back Peyton Barber played a huge role in the team's 17-point comeback victory over the Eagles on Sunday afternoon. Picked up in the offseason after being released by the Buccaneers, Barber scored two rushing touchdowns, both in the second half. The win marked the third game of Barber's five-year NFL career in which he scored multiple times on the ground.
• On the Eagles' offense, rookie right tackle Jack Driscoll started his NFL debut after incumbent right tackle starter Lane Johnson was unable to recover from an injury in time. A fourth-round pick by Philadelphia after starting for two seasons on Auburn's offensive line, Driscoll held his own and was considered a bright spot on an Eagles offensive line that ultimately gave up eight sacks. Driscoll left the game in the third quarter with an injury and did not return.
• Safety Johnathan Ford made three solo stops for Philadelphia.
One guy that really stood out to @BenFennell_NFL and I on film? Rookie Jack Driscoll in his first start. Model of consistency. Couple of mental busts, which is to be expected for a rookie, but consistent technique, knee bend, hand usage and effort for 50 snaps #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/y1YEqAVIWZ— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) September 14, 2020
• In the Giants' Monday Night Football loss to the Steelers, second-year receiver Darius Slayton was New York's best offensive weapon, snaring six passes for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Slayton now has 10 scores in his first 16 NFL games.
• After being picked up just last week following his release from the Texans, Cardinals defensive end Angelo Blackson made his presence felt on his new team immediately, tallying one sack in Arizona's thrilling road victory over the defending NFC champion 49ers.
• Lions tailback Kerryon Johnson rushed seven times for 14 yards. Auburn fans voiced their displeasure with Detroit's lack of involvement for Johnson at the end of the game, as D'Andre Swift was utilized instead, dropping a would-be, game-winning touchdown with less than 10 seconds remaining. Johnson has 42 NFL receptions under his belt, while Swift is a rookie.
• In a road loss to the Saints, Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis shut down New Orleans star receiver Mike Thomas, holding him to the second-worst outing of his career, with only three catches for 17 yards. Davis contributed four tackles, including a tackle for loss, as well.
• Davis' fellow Auburn product in the Tampa Bay secondary, Jamel Dean, totaled seven tackles. Overall, the Bucs' defensive backs played admirably against Saints quarterback Drew Brees, allowing only 160 yards on 30 passes.
• Panthers No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown looked like, well, Derrick Brown in his debut in Carolina's loss to Las Vegas. The monstrous defensive tackle had three combined tackles and a pass deflection, but just like at Auburn, his disruptive presence mostly didn't show up on the stat sheet.
• Former NFL MVP Cam Newton tallied two rushing touchdowns in his Patriots debut, helping his new club defeat the Dolphins. Newton completed 79% of his passes, going 15-of-19 for 155 yards. He ran the ball 15 times for 75 yards.
• On the other side of the line of scrimmage, rookie cornerback Noah Igbinoghene made history with Miami, becoming the youngest Dolphins player in franchise history to appear in a game. The 2020 first-round pick had two tackles in his NFL debut.
• Second-year fullback Chandler Cox notched his first touchdown assist of the season, helping pave the way for Miami's first TD of the season in the fourth quarter.
• SEC all-time leading scorer Daniel Carlson made both his field goals in the Raiders' win over the Panthers, including a booming 54-yarder, good for his new career long in the NFL.
• Bengals edge rusher Carl Lawson notched his first sack of the season, plus four solo tackles, in his team's loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Former Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes had four solo stops and a sack for Cincinnati, as well.
• Tight end C.J. Uzomah caught four passes from No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, totaling 45 yards.
• Playing more than two-thirds of the Jaguars' special-teams snaps, rookie safety Daniel Thomas made one tackle in his NFL debut, as Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis, 27-20.
• Colts right tackle Braden Smith notched the 30th start of his NFL career in only the first game of his third pro season.
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