Four former Ole Miss Rebels took the NFL by storm, if not by surprise, during their respective inaugural pro campaigns this year, and two of them stand out as legitimate candidates for rookie-of-the-year honors.
Setting the pace for all Rebels in the NFL this season were first-year wide receivers A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. Both departed Ole Miss following the 2018 season, declaring early entry into the NFL Draft. Brown, a second-round pick of the Tennessee Titans, set the pace for rookie receivers this season with 52 catches for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns.
Metcalf, who was selected by Seattle with the final pick of the second round, finished the regular season with 58 receptions for 900 yards and seven scores.
Brown, to this point, has made 11 starts for the playoff-bound Titans. Metcalf started 14 games for the Seahawks, who also qualified for the playoffs.
Tight end Dawson Knox recorded 11 starts for the Buffalo Bills in his first NFL season. Knox made 11 starts for the Bills, catching 28 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns. The two touchdowns Knox scored this season were his first since he was a high school quarterback at Nashville suburban power Brentwood Academy, as he never saw the end zone during his Ole Miss career. Like Brown and Metcalf, Knox will get his first taste of postseason football since his high school days this weekend.
Perhaps the most surprising rookie Rebel this season was cornerback Ken Webster, a free-agent signee of the Miami Dolphins. Despite dealing with injuries, Webster made five starts for the Miami Dolphins, making 19 tackles in eight game appearances.
Here is a glance at all 27 Ole Miss Rebels who played in the NFL this season. This following information was compiled by Ole Miss Sports Information.
After spending most of the season as a free agent, Adeboyejo was signed to the Patriots' practice squad in November. He did not make any appearances this season.
Bolden enjoyed a renaissance season in his return to the Patriots. He scored a career-high four touchdowns while recording 111 receiving yards, 68 rushing yards, and 515 return yards.
Brown had a fantastic rookie season and is a candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The 2019 second round pick played in all 16 games for the Titans while earning 11 starts. He led all rookies with 1,052 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns, while also rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
Brown played in four games for the Packers before being signed to the Bears' practice squad. He was later placed on injured reserve.
Core played in all 16 games in his first season with the Giants. He played primarily on special teams, but tallied three receptions for 28 yards this season.
Though his season was limited by injury, Engram was extremely productive for the Giants this season. He played in eight games and recorded 44 receptions for 467 yards and three touchdowns.
Haynes played 11 games in his second NFL season. In total, he recorded 10 tackles, in addition to his first-career sack and his first-career fumble recovery.
Hilton played in 16 games this season, making a career-high eight starts. Throughout the season, Hilton recorded 63 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one forced fumble.
Hooks was placed on injured reserve at the start of the season after being signed to the Steelers' practice squad.
After missing the 2018 season, Jerry played in 11 games and earned five starts in his debut season with the Bengals.
Jones started all 11 games that he played in for the 49ers, but was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury in December. Jones set career-highs across the board in his third NFL season, recording 23 tackles, two sacks, and four tackles for loss.
Kelly was signed to the Colts' practice squad at the beginning of the season, before being promoted to the active roster as the third string quarterback. He did not play in any games this season.
Knox played in 15 games during his rookie campaign, earning 11 starts for the Bills. In total, Knox recorded 28 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns.
Little's rookie season was cut short due to injury, but in total he played in four games for Carolina while earning three starts at tackle.
After being a free agent for most of the season, Lodge was signed to the Bengals' practice squad in December. He did not play in any games this season.
Manning played in four games this season, throwing for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns. His NFL future is uncertain, but right now Manning ranks seventh all-time in passing yards (57,023) and passing touchdowns (366).
Massie started all 10 games that he played in this season. An ankle injury kept him sidelined after week 12.
Metcalf had an exceptional rookie season for the playoff-bound Seahawks. The 2019 second round pick played in all 16 games, earning 14 starts. He totaled 58 receptions for 900 yards and seven touchdowns.
Moore played in all 16 games for the Lions during his rookie season, primarily on special teams. He recorded one tackle during the season.
Moore played in all 16 games for the Texans, primarily on special teams. He made two tackles during his second NFL season.
Patterson missed his entire rookie season with an ACL injury.
Sowell converted to a tight end this season and played in six games for the Bears, earning one start.
Speaks missed his second season after a knee injury caused him to be placed on injured reserve before the season started.
Treadwell played in all 13 games after he was signed back to the Vikings after week three. He earned one start, while recording nine receptions for 184 yards and one touchdown in his fourth NFL season.
Tunsil was traded to the Texans before the season and started all 14 games that he played in this season.
Wilkins played in 14 games during his second NFL season. He ran for 307 yards and two touchdowns on 51 carries (6.0 YPC) while also hauling in seven receptions for 43 yards.
Webster was productive during his rookie season, playing in only eight games because he was hampered by injury. In total, he made five starts and recorded 19 tackles.