Top 10 NFL rookies entering Week 3

Falcons pass-rusher Vic Beasley and Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon top our ranking of the best NFL rookies entering Week 3.

| 1 year ago
T.J. Yeldon

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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.

Dropping out

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.

  • koda57

    Shaq Thompson missed OTAs, most of training camp and preseason so they’re working him in slowly. It’s really hard to judge if he’s worth that #1 pick but he’s showing flashes and AJ Klein is unexpectedly playing great so he may not start for several more weeks. It may be week 12 before we can tell if he’s gonna be a difference maker or not.

    I don’t like Tampa Bay but I knew Winston wasn’t as bad as his debut. His Oline can’t protect him but in time he’ll be worth that 1st pick IMO,, however I don’t believe he’ll be as good as Mariota

  • George

    uh how about Amari Cooper?

    • josh


    • Malachi

      grades, not stats, here

      • Jim Terry


      • WarBoychun24

        Reality not delusions here…Coop gonna be rookie of the year.

      • WarBoychun24

        Reality not delusions here…Coop gonna be rookie of the year.

        • Malachi

          i love the kid, was merely explaining his absence from this list. i fail to see how my realistic statement is obnoxious or delusional, but when dealing with raiders fans i guess i forgot they don’t live in reality. lol

          • WarBoychun24

            Oh puhleeze… things are absolutely trending up with the Raiders after the down years post the 2003 Super Bowl beatdown. Currently 2-1 with a possible rookie of the year in Cooper balling out over pro bowlers Jimmy Smith and Joe Haden. Carr > Bortles, Teddy B, Manziel…as Derek is showing accelerated improvement in year 2 over the rest of the 2014 QB class.

            Nothing delusional about being a Raiders fan. Best fans in the world, copy and pasted by many others with their passion (the costuming superfans), originators of the “Nation” back in the mid ’80s that every fanbase ripped off from. A rich history that formed the league you see today with Mr. Davis being a huge part of the AFL NFL merger, GLOBAL fandom, and 3 Lombardi’s on 5 SB appearances. Not delusional. Proud.

          • Malachi

            i like it… go broncos! lol 😉

  • Jaguars28

    If TJ Yeldon can keep it up, it would be huge for us. We haven’t had an 1,000 yard rusher since 2011 IIRC

    • Thatdude1994

      Would be nice to see the jaguars have a star it’s been a while.

  • EricLeggitt

    No Bud Dupree love? C’mon guys he’s looked pretty good in limited playing time early on for the Steelers!

    • Left footed pitcher

      Limited playing time limits the PFF grade.

  • WarBoychun24

    Meh. Grades schmades…Yeldon is 3 yards and a cloud of dust, easy eyeball test. He is the same thing he was in Bama, looks the part but is just a guy thats decent enough at RB, but doesn’t do anything special. Especially yards after contact.

    Matt Jones with a split backfield > Yeldon with a billion snaps all to himself.

    Coop gonna be rookie of the year anyway.

    • hoponthegusbus

      You are not very bright – Yeldon looks awesome so far – he has incredible feet and a hop/juke unlike I have ever seen that enables him to avoid contact and get the most out of what is there – He will be a solid RB for a decade.

      • Jaguars28

        Thank you- Yeldon has looked better than the stats indicate.

        • WarBoychun24

          Sorry Jags fan hopeful…he sucked at Bama and sucks now. Read above.

          • Jaguars28

            Sorry Mr. NFL scout. I was clearly wrong.

          • Jaguars28

            Sorry Mr. NFL scout. I was clearly wrong.

      • WarBoychun24

        Crow served fresh just for you. Annnnd how about now. he did NOTHING vs. the Pats terrible run defense. 2.5 yards and a cloud of nothing.

        Matt Jones > Yeldon again this week, just watch.

  • Kevin

    I said last week randall was a player to keep an eye on and surprisingly after onley receiving 14 snaps he still made it. As of now he is only in as an outside cb opposite Shields when GB plays dime but if he keeps it up he may play his way into the nickel packages and see 40+ snaps a game instead of 14. As a rookie making the switch from college FS to pro CB ive been very impressed. His athleticism doesnt hurt in that regard but with a steep learning curve he has done very well.