Unafraidshow’s Best Pac-12 NFL Players
With Week 1 of the NFL season officially done, it’s time to examine which Pac-12 alumni stood out. Each week, the Unafraid Show will review the stats, games and plays to determine the best Pac-12 NFL players. Without further adieu, here are the best Pac-12 NFL Players Week 1.
The Best Pac-12 NFL Players Week 1 List, Team by Team
Will Parks – Denver Broncos
For Arizona alumni, Will Parks stood out the most. The strong safety played 29 defensive snaps, 17 special teams snaps and recorded 2 tackles. Additionally, he earned a 69.2 PFF grade. While not incredible, he is on a short list of Arizona alumni to make it in the NFL.
Terrell Suggs – Arizona Cardinals
No one knows how, but Terrell Suggs still has it. The 36 (soon to be 37) year-old was a big reason for the Cardinals comeback. Even though his Pac-12 days are long behind him, Suggs continues to dominate the NFL. On a defense that has few playmakers, Suggs lifted the team. He recorded 5 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. The Ravens all-time sack leader had a great debut for the Arizona Cardinals.
DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia Eagles
DeSean Jackson was born to play in Philly. Returning to his former team, Jackson torched the opposing defense. On 9 targets, he recorded 8 receptions for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. He couldn’t be caught. His 19.3 yards per reception may seem impressive, but what’s more impressive is Jackson’s 2 50-plus yard touchdowns. He now has 31 touchdowns of 50-plus yards in his NFL career. The Pac-12, NFL rocket from Cal is too fast to handle.
Ahkello Witherspoon – San Francisco 49ers
Facing the Buccaneers, Ahkello Witherspoon and the 49ers held Jameis Winston to just 194 yards, including 3 interceptions. Witherspoon was a major part of this defensive shutdown. When targeting players covered by Witherspoon, Winston had a 4.9 passer rating. On those 6 targets, Witherspoon allowed just 2 receptions, while recording 4 tackles, 3 passes defended, and 1 interception for a touchdown. It was a near-perfect game for Witherspoon.
Patrick Chung – New England Patriots
On Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers could not move the ball. New England’s held them to just 3 points and completely stifled Ben Roethlisberger and company. Against Pittsburgh, Patrick Chung racked up 6 tackles, broke-up one pass and earned an 82.1 PFF grade. For those watching, his speed and instincts were the key to his excellence. Chung consistently closed down Pittsburgh players and didn’t allow yards after the catch. He’s been one of the best Pac-12 NFL Players for years and remains such in 2019.
Isaac Seumalo – Philadelphia Eagles
At last, Isaac Seumalo claimed his position on the Eagles offensive line. Against the Washington Redskins, he played all 75 offensive snaps. During Week 1, Seumalo allowed zero sacks and was not penalized. He consistently made plays and helped push Philadelphia’s offense into successful positions. It was a strong game for him and he cemented his role on the league’s best and deepest offensive line.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers
It is impossible to leave Christian McCaffrey off of this list. He lit up the Los Angeles Rams defense:
- 19 carries for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns
- 10 receptions for 81 yards
- 48 yards after the catch
His production accounted for 61-percent of Carolina’s net offense. McCaffrey is a special talent and his versatility is astonishing. It’s why he plays every offensive snap and is difficult to stop. If McCaffrey continues to do this, his name will be retired from this Pac-12 NFL Players list.
Eric Kendricks – Minnesota Vikings
Eric Kendricks and the Minnesota Vikings were a force. They held the Atlanta Falcons to just 12 points. In that game, Kendricks was a regular contributor to their defensive wins. He had 6 solo tackles, 1 quarterback hit and defended 2 passes. Kendricks is a great linebacker and makes name known to the opposing offense.
Rasheem Green – Seattle Seahawks
Somehow, there is a bright star on the Seattle Seahawks defense. After a solid preseason and an excellent Week 1, Rasheem Green should earn consistent reps. Even though he only made one big play in the game, it was the most important play for the Seahawks. His strip-sack of Andy Dalton stopped the Cincinnati Bengals from reaching field goal range. He sealed Seattle’s win.
Josh Gordon – New England Patriots
Please let Josh Gordon stay mentally strong. Lovers of the Pac-12, NFL and the New England Patriots need his talent and raw athleticism. Few players are as naturally gifted as Gordon. He makes difficult catches seem effortless and he bounces off defenders. In 2019, the Patriots needed a Rob Gronkowski replacement. Josh Gordon is that man. His size, power, speed and receiving ability will terrorize defenses. The way he played against the Steelers was definitely worthy of him being one of the top Pac-12 NFL Players Week 1.
Cory Littleton – Los Angeles Rams
Per PFF, Cory Littleton was their highest graded player in Week 1. Littleton made a show for Pac-12, NFL and sports fans alike. He certainly earned that title with his versatility and instincts. Littleton was everywhere and racked up 14 tackle against the Carolina Panthers. Of those, 4 were defensive stops. Additionally, he made big play after big play. Littleton defended 2 passes, forced and recovered a fumble against D.J. Moore and intercepted Cam Newton in the fourth quarter. He played out of his mind.
Gardner Minshew – Jacksonville Jaguars
After losing Nick Foles to a broken clavicle, the Jacksonville Jaguars turned to rookie Gardner Minshew. And he didn’t disappoint. Playing three quarters, he completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. No, he didn’t lead the Jaguars to a win. Not even Nick Foles could do that against the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs. However, he played exceptionally well and displayed the marks of an NFL quarterback. Hopefully Minshew continues to earn starts and long-term dedication from the Jaguars. He could become a regular addition on this Pac-12 NFL list.
Pac-12 NFL Players Need to Perform Well
As many already know, the Pac-12 lacks praise and respect. Much of this is due to it’s commissioner, Larry Scott. Nonetheless, if the Pac-12 can account for a larger percentage of NFL talent, it will earn that respect. So, even though these players aren’t on collegiate programs anymore, it is important to root for their success.