2019 Rookie Busts Who Aren’t Dead Yet

by Jesse Baldwin, June 28, 2020

The 2019 season yielded plenty of rookie players who saw success on the field such as D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Miles Sanders. Then there were the rookies who, for one reason or another, couldn’t get traction on the field. Today we’re using PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats & metrics to take a gander at the rookies who busted last year that will explode this coming season. 

Jace Sternberger

After starting his rookie year on the injured reserve list, Jace Sternberger had a nonexistent regular season. Now with Jimmy Graham, out the door, Sternberger has the requisite size at 6-5, 251-pounds to take over the starting tight end role in Green Bay. He only has to compete against career blocker Marcedes Lewis and undrafted Robert Tonyan.

Sternberger had 48 catches 832 yards and 10 TDs in his breakout junior season at Texas A&M. Good for a 32.7-percent (92nd-percentile among qualified tight ends) College Dominator Rating with 17.3 (94th-percentile) yards per reception. These are the kinds of players we like to target in the mid-to-late rounds or as dynasty trade targets.

Jace Sternberger Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

With the starting position locked down, Head Coach Matt LeFleur’s new commitment to the running game and play action will lead to more two TE packages. Look for Sternberger t0 eclipse his final season stats at Texas A&M, as Aaron Rodgers‘ outlet off play action a la George Kittle

Rodney Anderson

Rodney Anderson posted monster numbers at Oklahoma when healthy, with a total of 217 touches, 1,566 all purpose yards and 21 touchdowns in his career.  At 6-0, 224-pounds, Anderson has an all-purpose skill set and the size to handle any workload. He didn’t post any Combine numbers due to an ACL injury sustained early in his final college season. His injury history is nothing to worry about, being two freak bone fractures and the lone ACL tear.

Coming off his historic Heisman season, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has this Cincinnati offense looking ready to blast off into outer space. Starting running back Joe Mixon has that role locked down. If he were to go down, Anderson and his 8.5 (98th-percentile) College Yards per Carry would pick up any slack. This makes him a good handcuff to Mixon.

Kahale Warring

Kahale Warring missed his entire rookie with a concussion. A prototypical athlete with a  6-5, 252-pound frame, Warring hit the 80th-percentile in four of the five workout metrics listed on his profile page. He recorded a 4.67 (80th-percentile) 40-yard dash, 106.8 (80th-percentile) Speed Score, 124.9 (83rd-percentile) Burst Score, and a 10.21 (84th-percentile) Catch Radius. Even his 11.46 (68th-percentile) Agility Score is impressive when size-adjusted.

Warring can push 34-year old Darren Fells to the bench. This Houston team has a bunch of slot receivers running seams all up the field, leaving Deshaun Watson a potential new favorite in-line target in Warring. He has hit all of the predictive metrics we look for in a mid-to-late round stash and immediate dynasty trade target.

Jalen Hurd

A 6-5, 226-pound behemoth at wide receiver, Jalen Hurd was receiving praise from players and coaches before sustaining a season-ending back injury. Hurd’s size and versatility, combined with a 98.5 (64th-percentile) Speed Score, make him a matchup nightmare. Now that fellow draftmate Deebo Samuel is having foot surgery, Hurd’s opportunities will increase.


Check out Jalen Hurd’s 2020 Projection on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:


 

Hurd has a versatile skill set, playing running back at Tennessee. He had a breakout sophomore season with 227 carries, 1,285 yards rushing and 12 touchdows. He switched over to wide receiver when he transferred to Baylor for his final season, recording 946 receiving yards on 69 catches with another 209 yards rushing. Kyle Shanahan loves finding versatile players to fill multiple roles in his 49ers offense. Hurd’s versatility will ensure that he records usable fantasy weeks this season.

Hakeem Butler

Hakeem Butler is a athletic specimen with a 118.9 (97th-percentile) Height-Adjusted Speed Score. With old man Larry Fitzgerald still hanging on, Butler is more of a dynasty stash/cheap trade target. He will need to beat out fellow draftmate Andy Isabella, to make much of an impact this season.

Arizona will likely explode in the second year of Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense with the development of second-year quarterback Kyler Murray, who posted a 90.7 (No. 16) True Passer Rating behind a terrible offensive line until the group began to improve late in the season. Butler can capitalize on this opportunity learning from Fitzgerald and take over when he retires.