NFL Gamecocks To Watch For In Week One

Football is finally back, and South Carolina has plenty of NFL talent to watch in week one.

Two rookies will start for their respective teams while the veterans like Stephon Gilmore will look to build upon their careers.

Here are a few names to look out for on opening weekend:

Javon Kinlaw

Everyone knows Kinlaw is a beast, but he has a really tough matchup in his first career game with the 49ers.

San Francisco takes on the Arizona Cardinals, who have a new offense featuring second year quarterback Kyler Murray and new addition DeAndre Hopkins.

Kinlaw can easily get off the line of scrimmage, but chasing down Murray will prove to be a bigger challenge.

Kinlaw’s ability to chase down the quarterback should result in a sack or more, especially with Nick Bosa likely being double teamed. 

Bryan Edwards

Edwards was already impressive in training camp for the Las Vegas Raiders, but now he’s snagged a starting role after Tyrell Williams’ injury.

Edwards will start alongside fellow rookie Henry Ruggs III and second year receiver Hunter Renfrow.

Edwards will return home to the Carolinas as the Raiders play the Panthers on Sunday. The Panthers aren’t known for their pass defense, so I expect Edwards to make some noise in his first NFL game. 

Stephon Gilmore

The reigning NFL Defensive Player of The Year will look to continue his dominant career against the Miami Dolphins.

This is such an interesting game, because the one touchdown Stephon Gilmore gave up last year was to DeVante Parker, and Gilmore will look to get his revenge.

The Dolphins will start Ryan Fitzpatrick over Tua Tagovailoa, but that won’t change the fact that Gilmore will have to carry the Patriots’ defense, who lost some key players to the COVID opt out. 

Deebo Samuel

Deebo begins his second year in the NFL as the number one receiver for the 49ers after the loss of Emmanuel Sanders.

He may be in a run heavy offense, but Samuel will still provide a lot of use as an all-purpose receiver.

He had a very impressive rookie year, and a challenge against Patrick Peterson will be a fun matchup to watch on Sunday. 

Hayden Hurst

Hurst has found himself a new home in Atlanta after having a solid first two years in Baltimore.

He will fit in so much better in Atlanta than he did with the Ravens. The Ravens used their tight ends a lot in the passing game, but Hurst was splitting receptions with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle.

Hurst is replacing Austin Hooper, who made a name for himself with Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Hurst will join a loaded receiving core with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

I think Hurst will have an impressive first performance against a below average pass defense in the Seahawks. 


There are many more Gamecocks on NFL rosters who will start or get playing time week one, but these are the players I’m most excited to see this weekend.

It feels so good to have the NFL and football back, and I know South Carolina will be well represented in the league. 

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