Top 10 NFL rookies entering Week 3
We kicked off our race for Rookie of the Year last week after a near-flawless Marcus Mariota set the pace with a strong effort. While things started off well for him, he struggled in defeat to the Cleveland Browns, which poses the question: Could he hold onto the top spot?
We’re answering that question now, and Titans fans may want to look away.
Here are the top 10 rookies in the NFL, heading into Week 3:
1. Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Falcons (+3.4 grade through two games)
It feels like a big game with a monster stat line is brewing for Beasley, who has turned the corner on tackles only for quick-hitting passing attacks to prevent the big plays. He is playing well and looks explosive off the edge.
2. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars (+2.7)
Only six running backs in the NFL have played more snaps than Yeldon, and none of them have earned as high a grade. He’s becoming a guy who is taking pressure off of QB Blake Bortles well.
3. Marcus Peters, CB, Chiefs (+2.3)
He leads the league with his six passes defended through two games, and while there is an element of boom-or-bust to his game, he’s made a positive impact overall.
4. Henry Anderson, DT, Colts (+2.5)
He will need to do a lot more rushing the passer to move up (or stay this high), but when you have the most defensive stops in the run game of any interior defender, you’re doing something right.
5. Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB, Saints (+2.1)
Many were concerned how Kikaha would handle the adjustment to the NFL, but he has fit in seamlessly for the Saints. He is making a far bigger contribution in run defense than anticipated.
6. Ronald Darby, CB, Bills (+1.1)
He is certainly being tested, but so far he is standing up to it. He has been thrown at 18 times already but has allowed just half of those to be complete, while picking off one pass and breaking up another two.
7. Carl Davis, DL, Ravens (+1.9)
He had a tough day against the Raiders after a great Week 1 performance. If he has one more game like he did versus Oakland, then he is not long for this list.
8. David Parry, NT, Colts (+1.4)
The new Kelly Gregg really caught the eye with how he handled the Jets’ Nick Mangold in Week 2. Not many players can do that. His early downs role will likely ensure he can’t get to the front of this race, but there’s no reason why performances like the ones against the Jets can’t keep him on it prominently.
9. Mitch Morse, C, Chiefs (+1.2)
Unable to replicate his stellar opening week against Denver in Week 2, Morse can still be considered an early-season success for how well he has adjusted to a new position, and to the NFL.
10. Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans (-4.4)
Mariota’s Week 2 performance against the Browns was not pretty. His accuracy went down, his negative throws went up and he now ranks near the bottom of our QB grades. He’s hanging onto the back of this race and will need a bounce back to make a better impression going forward.
Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Cowboys: He was a force off the edge in Week 1, but is currently out with an ankle injury.
Jeremiah Poutasi, RT, Titans: He was beaten for four sacks. That will see you drop down these rankings.
Bradley Pinion, P, 49ers: He had a bad week while others didn’t. It takes a lot of leg and consistency for a punter to crack the top 10.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: His situation is similar to Pinion’s. If you made the list with big plays on special teams, you need to keep making those big plays to stay on it.
Adrian Amos, S, Bears: He had another solid outing, but stood still while others moved forward.
T.J. Clemmings, RT, Vikings: He has yet to miss a snap, but his run-blocking was exposed against a fierce Lions front.
Five to watch
Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: He still has some work to do to eliminate his horrible debut from our minds, but was much better against the Saints. Another one of those and he’s on the main list.
Damarious Randall, CB, Packers: He needs to play more to stand a chance, but he did look good in his 14 snaps this week.
Kevin Johnson, CB, Texans: The first-rounder looked the part against Carolina, but how will he fare when targeted more?
Shaq Thompson, LB, Panthers: He saw more playing time this week and logged his first three stops.
Leonard Williams, DE, Jets: The numbers look better than his actual performance, but there are signs of it all coming together, particularly in the run game.