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Rookie Report: Steelers vs Browns

Throughout the season following each game I will be taking a look at the rookies and how they fared each week. This will consist of thoughts such as the positive and negatives from that game, areas to watch or work on and clips to support what I’m sharing. Hopefully, this will shed some insight on some things you may or may not have seen.

Week 3 – Cleveland Browns

Active Players

#8 Kenny Pickett (Round 1)

Did not see any action but was the number two quarterback for the third consecutive week.

2022 Regular Season Totals – None

#14 George Pickens (Round 2)

45 offensive snaps, 1 special team snap, 7 targets, 3 receptions, 39 yards

Week three saw more targets and more production for Pickens. There was a little more diversity in his route tree rather than running him deep on every route as well. His first reception for -2 yards came on his first target on a wide receiver Screen. The result may have had better results if Chase Claypool knew who he was supposed to block. The second target and reception was on a Sluggo route that saw him make his ridiculous, acrobatic catch for a 36 yard gain. His third reception came on his final target a curl late in the game. He fought for more yards but did not gain any to add to a 5 yard gain.

Now that his targets have increased it’s time to get him some passes in space. According to Pro Football Reference he has just 2 total yards after the catch this season.

His other targets included a corner route that was thrown out of bounds on his third target and a one handed attempt on a go route late in the game that looked catchable. His fourth and fifth targets had plays that probably should have been caught. One came on a late second quarter scramble. A throw along the side line that bounced off his hands while leaning out of bounds. His fifth target was a low throw on a comeback route that he should have caught. He looked to have gestured to his chest after the play as if to say “that’s on me”.

His special team snap came on the hands team and for the onside kick and he was offside on the play.

2022 Regular Season Totals – 12 targets, 5 receptions, 65 yards, 13.0 ypr, 1 tackle

#98 DeMarvin Leal (Round 3)

13 defensive snaps, 2 special team snaps, 1 solo tackle

After spending most of his time on his feet last week, Leal was used more often with his hand on the ground this week. He moved around the formation from the 1 technique in the A gap out to the 6 technique over the tight end. He a saw action on three drives in the second and third quarter.

His pass rush snaps were not very active and that may be by design to contain the rush. He displayed a solid cross chop on one rush but was relatively inactive getting after the quarterback. He needs to improve his transition from play recognition to pass rusher a little quicker and show more activity with his hands.

Against the run, he was solid on the front side of plays able to remain square to the line of scrimmage while engaged to string out the run or force a cut back. He showed a good motor to pursue the play across and down the field.

His two special team snaps came on the field goal block team. He learned on the second kick that jumpers get punished as the offensive lineman flipped him over on to his back.

2022 Regular Season Totals – 46 defensive snaps, 4 special teams snaps, 4 tackles, 2 solo, 1 pass break up

#83 Connor Heyward (Round 6)

6 offensive snaps, 19 special teams snaps

Heyward saw his offensive snaps increase by two and he ran his first pass route as well. His first four snaps came in 12 personnel. The first three of those plays were essentially the same exact play. His role was to slide block across the formation to kick out the end man on the line of scrimmage to set up a cut back lane.

The results were mixed. The first play he did enough to slow the defender and the run finished as a 10 yard gain. The second play, an additional defender came from that side. He focused on him instead of the inside defender and his missed the block. The third time he was more under control but must improve on staying between the defender and the ball and sustaining the block. His fifth play he was slow at the snap and allowed the defender inside of him to make the tackle.

The results overall were not great but these are all things he can fix. I expect him to improve as a blocker the more comfortable he gets. His lone pass route came late in the fourth quarter giving Pat Freiermuth a breather for a play running a deep In route.

On special teams, he executed his punt protection well and hustled down the field in coverage. He was not involve in any tackles opportunities on punt or kick coverage.

On this play, Heyward from the left wing will cross the formation to the right. He is supposed to block the defensive end (#94) but sees the other defender (#43) and gets confused a blocks no one.

Here his is lined up on the offensive right wing (across from defender #42) and needs to get inside quickly to cut of the defender. He’s just a tick slow allowing his man inside to make the tackle.

2022 Regular Season Totals – 11 offensive snaps, 57 special team’s snaps, 2 assist tackles

#30 Jaylen Warren (UDFA)

12 offensive snaps, 9 special team snaps, 4 carries, 30 yards, 1 target, 1 receptions for 3 yards, 1 fumble

Warren saw his rushing yards double for the second consecutive week (7 to 15 to 30). Each carry gained between 6 and 10 yards. His first carry was a run over left guard where he patiently let the play develop before finding a small crease or a 7 yard gain. Run number two was the same play and he kept his feet churning finishing forward for 6 yards. His third carry was a bit of a weird looking play. Everyone was blocking to the left but he was given the ball to the right where there were no blockers. The defensive end got too far inside giving him a big space to accelerate forward for 7 yards. The final carry was off the right end. It started really well using the space blocking of Freiermuth to get the edge but he fumble after a gain of 10.

His first play was a screen. He waited to use his lineman’s block but was tackled from behind gaining just three. Another target came on a shovel pass where he was lined up on the left wing. He displayed his vision and quickness to use blocks and find daylight but the big gain was negated by an illegal man downfield penalty.

He had a few reps in pass protection including helping a lineman on the Pickens catch. Also, he showed another good example of blitz recognition to pick up a blitzing linebacker.

2022 Regular Season Totals – 52 offensive snaps, 28 special teams snaps, 11 carries, 52 yards, 4.7 ypc, 3 targets, 2 receptions, 3 yards, 1 fumble, 1 assist tackle


Inactive for Week 3 – #93 Mark Robinson (Round 7), #96 David Anenih (UDFA TEN)

Practice Squad – #68 William Dunkle (UDFA PHI), #87 Rodney Williams (UDFA DEN), #80 Jaquarii Roberson (UDFA DAL)

Reserve/Injured – #19 Calvin Austin (Round 4), #30 Carlins Platel (UDFA)

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