QB Baker Mayfield, CLE Browns
Weather or not this was the right pick for the Browns long term is still being decided. However, you can’t deny that Baker Mayfield has certainly given this franchise hope in it’s future. After he’s stepped in for Tyrod Taylor, he has shown natural leadership and passion that inspires the guys around him to want to play harder. He does have turnover issues, but most rookie QBs struggle with that during their first year. Especially guys who are “Gunslinger” type QBs, which is what Baker “Money Maker” Mayfield always has been.
Stats: 58.3% - 1,471 Yards - 8 TDs - 6 INT - 91 Rushing Yards - 78.9 QBR
2. RB Saquon Barkley, NY Giants
Some people think the Giants should of took a QB here, but Saquon Barkley was a fine choice. Yes, the Giants are struggling to win games, but Saquon Barkley is truly incredible. Starting all eight games of the season so far, Barkley is on pace to finish with over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards this year. He’ll be a top five running back in the NFL next year, if he isn’t already, and could someday be the best running back in the league. And no, that isn’t an over exaggeration. This guy is my pick for Rookie of the Year.
Stats: 519 Rushing Yards - 4.7 YPC - 5 TDs - 58 REC - 497 Yards - 2 TDs.
3. QB Sam Darnold, NY Jets
We all saw Sam Darnolds first NFL career pass. A throw on the run across his body right into a Detroit Lions waiting arms for a pick six. Yikes. Sam Darnold showed the ability to stay calm under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football, shake off the mistake, and come back to blow out the Lions 48-17, and throw two touchdowns. That’s what it takes to be an NFL QB in this league. The ability to move on from mistakes and focus on the next play. The Jets believe they’ve found their franchise guy, and I think they may just be right.
Stats: 55.2% - 1,705 Yards - 11 TDs - 10 INT - 61 Rushing Yards - 74.5 QBR
4. CB Denzel Ward, CLE Browns
With their second pick in the top five the Browns elected to go with Denzel Ward. This pick raised some eyebrows at first, but now Ward should be mentioned in the Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation. Ward is the only rookie to have won the “Pepsi Rookie of the Week Award” twice this year and is the best defensive back on the Browns football team. In his first start, week one, he intercepted Steelers QB Big Ben twice, and has five total takeaways this season.
Stats: 39 Tackles - 9 PDs - 3 Int
5. DE Bradley Chubb, DEN Broncos
Bradley Chubb was drafted to be the running mate, opposite of Von Miller. While he’s not an elite pass rusher yet, he is still tied for eighth in the league for sacks, and has proved to be a good run stopper. Chubb has won the “Rookie of the Month Award” and has drawn praise from All-Pro Von Miller. Chubb is currently on pace to end the year with 14 sacks, which would be a half sack shy of tying the rookie sack record. A goal he set for himself to achieve this year. We’ll see if he gets it, and if he does, it may just lock him in for DROY.
Stats: 24 Tackles - 7 Sacks - 1 PD - 1 FF
6. G Quenton Nelson, IND Colts
Believe it or not, Quenton Nelson is the first NFL Guard to ever win an “Offensive Rookie of the Month Award”. In the month of October, Nelson didn’t give up a single sack and only allowed one hit on Colts QB Andrew Luck. Nelson is often used as a puller on rushing plays, as he has nice strength, allowing the Colts to rush for 200 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 2003. Nelson has not been perfect, as he is still adjusting to the speed of NFL play, but only eight games into his NFL career and this guy looks damn good.
7. QB Josh Allen, BUF Bills
What to even say about this pick. Josh Allen has been dealing with an elbow injury for most of the season, but when he has played, he’s been less than impressive. Now, to be fair, the Bills offensive line can’t block anyone, and every QB they’ve thrown back there has been obliterated. Yet, Allen has shown questionable accuracy and poor decision making that leads me to believe he is not ready to be an NFL QB quite yet. On a good note, he does have heart and is very athletic, which can win them games. Just look at the game against the Vikings where he hurdled Anthony Barr or the play where he dove for the pylon to score. Hopefully the Bills can continue to develop this kid into something special.
Stats: 54% - 832 Yards - 2 TDs - 5 INT - 155 Rushing Yards - 3 TDs - 61.8 QBR
8. LB Roquan Smith, CHI Bears
Roquan Smith was the last rookie to sign his contract after a 29-day holdout that spanned the entire pre-season. Even with all that missed time, his first play in the NFL was a sack on Packers QB Brett Hundley. Smith has shown to be a mostly capable coverage linebacker and has nice speed to be able to play sideline to sideline. He may need to add some bulk to his frame, but otherwise he isn’t afraid to tackle. His ability to attack downfield has helped the Bears defense allow less than 85 rushing yards per game on average. He should be the Bears MLB for years to come.
Stats: 41 Tackles - 2 Sacks - 1 PD
9. OT Mike McGlinchey, SF 49ers
According to Pro Football Focus, you’re looking at the best run-blocking offensive tackle in the league! An incredible achievement, yet well deserved, as this guy is in fact, a relentless mauler who will run the length of the field pancaking guys. Mike McGlinchey is most likely the best offensive lineman in the draft and his transition from college to the NFL has gone very well. He’s got big, strong hands and once those paws get on you, you’re not going anywhere. Certainly a very nice pick for the 49ers so far.
10. QB Josh Rosen, ARI Cardinals
Tough to really get a thought on him as a pro, I was a big fan of him in college. Like fellow rookie Josh Allen, Rosen doesn't get a ton of time in the pocket as he is always got guys in his face and is constantly pressured. Not to mention the fact that his Offensive Coordinator has been fired, just like fellow rookie Baker Mayfield. Tough year for the rookie QBs, ehh? What I can say is that he does throw the ball very accurately still, even when his receivers drop the passes. He has shown some serious toughness and competitiveness, which where question marks coming out of college. Hopefully the team around him will improve a bit next year, allowing him to show what he’s capable of.
Stats: 55.6% - 1,072 Yards - 5 TDs - 6 INT - 48 Rushing Yards - 69.9 QBR
11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, MIA Dolphins
Minkah Fitzpatrick hasn’t played a whole lot of Safety for the Dolphins, as he has taken over the role of Nickel Corner for most of the season. While he has proved to be a top 3 slot cover corner, this guy is just to good to be on field for only 74 percent of the defensive snaps. He has expressed interest on playing more and frankly I agree with him. Opposing QBs have a passer rating of 50 when targeting Minkah and the largest play he’s given up was a 22-yarder to AJ Green. Weather it’s giving him some of TJ McDonalds Safety snaps, or switching him to outside corner and moving Bobby McCain to the Nickel position, playing this guy more would be a great move.
Stats: 44 Tackles - 4 PD - 1 INT
12. DT Vita Vea, TB Buccaneers
Not a whole lot to say as the 347 pound samoan has been battling a few injuries this year. Not seeing any game action until week 6, he has started the last two weeks for the Buccaneers, but he did end up getting a “Precautionary” MRI done on his knee this past Monday. Everything seemed to be okay and he should play this weekend against the Panthers. Hopefully this guy can remain healthy and help clog up the middle with Gerald McCoy for years to come.
Stats: 2 Tackles
13. DT Da’Ron Payne, WAS Redskins
Having started every game for the Washington Redskins this year, Payne is a large part to the success of that team. The defensive line, lead by the “Bama Boys” (Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen), has been dominant this year against the run. In fact they rank second in the league against the run, as teams only average 80 yards per game. The Redskins last year against the run? Dead last.
Stats: 25 Tackles - 3 Sacks - 1 PD - 1 FF
14. DE Marcus Davenport, NO Saints
Marcus Davenport hasn’t started a game for the Saints, as they have elected to use him more as a situational player for now. He started off the season a bit slow, but really started to come into his own down the stretch and as the weeks went on. Unfortunately he will now be sidelined for about a month with a pretty severe toe injury.
Stats: 11 Tackles - 4 Sacks - 2 PD - 1 FF
15. OT Kolton Miller, OAK Raiders
Tough to talk about the Raiders without saying how they’re clearly tanking for Las Vegas, but that’s a different topic. Miller has proved to be a pretty nice OT in the NFL when healthy, but that never quite seems to be the case. He has battled a knee injury for a few weeks now and has continued to play through it. Thursday night, rather early in the game, he re-injured the knee and will now miss some time before he is re-evaluated. With him out of the game, the offensive line falls apart mostly, so hopefully he can return and finish the season strong.
16. ILB Tremaine Edmunds, BUF Bills
One rookie we can definitely say the Bills got right. He’s still only 20 years old and already looks to be the captain of the stellar Bills defense. At 6’5 he truly is a presence playing MLB and makes life difficult for QBs to throw the ball over his head. He’s a nice open field tackler and is very aggressive with his instincts. It takes some time for him to recognize some plays, but other times he’s on top of things immediately. This kid should have a bright future in this league. He is currently in concussion Protocol however and is questionable for Sunday’s game.
Stats: 62 Tackles - 1 Sack - 7 PD - 2 FF
17. S Derwin James, LA Chargers
Almost wrote San Diego there…..Awkward. Anyway, this kid will most likely win DROY if he keeps up his play into the second half of the season. His versatility, weather it’s covering man-to-man, dropping back into a zone, or coming to put a body on the ball carrier in run support, has been a key to the success of the Chargers defense. It looks as though he has already established himself as a leader on the team, and when Joey Bosa returns from injury, you’ll have a couple nice young guys leading the charge. Great pick for a guy many were surprised fell this low in the draft.
Stats: 44 Tackles - 3.5 Sacks - 6 PD - 1 INT
18. CB Jaire Alexander, GB Packers
Great pick here for the Green Bay Packers. Jaire Alexander looks to be a lockdown corner in the future of this league. He’s not afraid to tackle and has nice recovery speed for when he does get beat. He seems to always be around the football when he’s on the field. He has dealt with a few injuries this season, but is tremendous when he plays. Even Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is impressed with this kid, and Bill never talks much about anything. If you haven’t seen him play yet, tune into SNF this week and see what this kid is all about.
Stats: 26 Tackles - .5 Sacks - 6 PD - 1 INT
19. ILB Leighton Vander Esch, DAL Cowboys
Another heavily criticized pick by most people, he has turned into a fine player. He’s a big boy, weighing over 255 pounds, but that also helps him in his run support game. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the best rookie LB and second best rookie defender. He’s started just three games for the Cowboys, playing behind Sean Lee, but he does play every single game. Having missed just a total of two tackles all season, LVE, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee, such be a nice trio for Dallas.
Stats: 54 Tackles - 1 PD
20. C Frank Ragnow, DET Lions
This guy has been solid upfront for the Detroit Lions so far. He’s great at pulling around the edge and being a lead blocker, as well as getting a good push up front on the goal line. He has started all seven games for the Lions thus far into his career, and should look to anchor that o-line in the future. And to think I forgot to mention that he’s playing well after they’ve decided to move him to guard. Smart, young kid to be able to handle the position change at the next level already.
21. C Billy Price, CIN Bengals
Price suffered an ankle sprain week two against the Ravens and is just returning to practice this week. He probably won’t play this Sunday either. Hopefully this kid can get healthy and we can see what he can do.
22. OLB Rashaan Evans, TEN Titans
A bit of a rough start for the rookie, as it’s apparent that he’s still adjusting to the flow of an NFL game. He’s athletic enough to handle it, at 6’2 and 233 pounds. When he played at Alabama he was used more of a pass rusher coming around the edge, so him being placed and forced to do more as an ILB (Which is what the Titans have been lining him up at) could just be new to him as he learns the position. He did miss almost all of training camp and the whole pre-season, as well as week one, with an injury. So learning a new position in the NFL during the season can definitely be difficult. Let’s hope he’ll be able to figure it out down the road.
Stats: 17 Tackles
23. T Isaiah Wynn, NE Patriots
Injuries suck, as this poor kid played just nine snaps before tearing his achilles. Hopefully he comes back at full strength for next year.
24. WR DJ Moore, CAR Panthers
DJ Moore is going to be the guy the Panthers really hope can step it up and be their number one receiver. He’s got great potential and is a great athlete, he’s just failed to live up to the first round hype so far. He’s played in all seven games and an injury to WR Torrey Smith has allowed him to start last week, and he should get the start again this week. He needs to hang onto the ball a bit tighter as he has put a few on the ground this year, but he finally has a chance to step up and be a true threat for Cam Newton on the outside.
Stats: 18 REC - 281 Yards - 1 TD - 85 Rushing Yards
25. TE Hayden Hurst, BAL Ravens
The life story of Hayden Hurst is truly amazing, and if you haven’t heard it, do a little research on the former MLB Pitcher. You can’t help but root for this guy, but he has been a bit underwhelming so far. He’s stated that he wants to be more involved in the offense and I think he will as the season goes on. He missed the first four games with a stress foot fracture and that hindered some chemistry he had with QB Joe Flacco going into the season. That along with the learning curve most TEs have jumping up to NFL level of play, and his slow start is understandable for now.
Stats: 3 REC - 36 Yards - 1 TD
26. WR Calvin Ridley, ATL Falcons
While Julio Jones doesn't score touchdowns, this kid does. I mean, he had six touchdowns in the first four games of his NFL career! While he hasn’t scored since, he has proven to be a nice receiving piece who is capable of making big plays. Playing across from Julio Jones opens things up quite a bit, I’m sure, but still he should figure to come into his own and continue to get better and better. While he doesn't technically start, he is the team's third receiver so he sees a lot of playing time.
Stats: 27 REC - 392 Yards - 6 TD
27. RB Rashaad Penny, SEA Seahawks
A pick a lot of people questioned and at this point so far, you should still question it. He came into the season looking overweight and for a first rounder RB to barely be taking any carries is a bit worrisome. He’s basically the teams third string running back and while it’s too early for any of these guys to be a bust, this is the closest player we have to being one. He didn’t even register a snap in Seattle’s week 8 win over the Lions.
Stats: 135 Yards - 3.6 AVG - 6 REC - 62 Yards
28. S Terrell Edmunds, PIT Steelers
A bit of a reach? We’ll see. Thrust into the starting lineup after Morgan Burnett's groin injury and the ultra explosive athlete seemed to be taking things a bit slow. He needs to work on recognizing plays a bit better, but he says he knows that and the game has finally started to slow down for him. A common problem for rookies as the NFL is obviously much faster than college ball. When he does recognize a play, he is there in a hurry and has been a reliable player on the Steelers back half. Morgan Burnett is now healthy again and will be splitting time with Edmunds at the safety position, as he looks to ease back into shape.
Stats: 26 Tackles - 2 PD - 1 INT
29. DT Taven Bryan, JAC Jaguars
Yes, it’s true Bryan had a terrific combine and he is indeed a freak athlete. He’s also great in a 3-technique. So the Jaguars decided to move him out of that 3-technique. Why? Because it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars, that’s why. They still have Blake Bortles as their starting QB for God’s sake. Taven Bryan doesn't have a great football IQ or instincts, that I’ve seen, and looks like he really struggles to get off blocks. Even in his pre-draft interview he says “I’ve never played anything else but the 3” and his favorite move is to bull rush the defender. The Jaguars have to put this guy back into the A-Gap and allow him stay there. Weather it’s as a rotational piece or not, he probably wasn’t a first rounder.
Stats: 9 Tackles
30. CB Mike Hughes, MIN Vikings
No question he’s made some mistakes this year, but he’s also being asked to do a lot. At 21 years old he’s already played special teams, punt returner, kick returner, nickel corner, and outside corner. Thanks to some injuries in the Vikings secondary, he’s been shuffled around a lot and when he does make a mistake, he’s making them at full speed. He’s shown great effort and improves each week, and should be a nice player for the Vikings defense. Unfortunately he did tear his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the year.
Stats: 22 Tackles - 3 PD - 1 INT - 1 FF - 1 TD
31. RB Sony Michel, NE Patriots
A guy that had a severe knee injury in college, continues to battle knee and leg injuries in the pros. When he is on the field however, he does add a nice piece to this Pats offense. He missed all of the pre-season and week one, but he’s a smart player who isn’t afraid of getting hit and keeps his feet moving after contact. Pairing him with James White and you have quite the 1-2 punch in the backfield. Still up in the air about his status this Sunday against the Packers
Stats: 422 Yards - 4.4 AVG - 4 TD - 4 REC - 31 Yards
32. QB Lamar Jackson, BAL Ravens
Not even sure if I should write about him as a QB. The Ravens like to bring him in and have him run the wildcat basically. Everytime he touches the ball it’s almost always a run and sometimes they bring him in to line up as a receiver. If they do that then they run it with the tailback. He does come in when they are getting blown out or if they’re up late in the fourth. Not ready to start as he has to work on his accuracy, mechanics, and going through his reads. Still a project type of player.
Stats: 54.5% - 75 Yards - 1 TD - 129 Rushing Yards - 1 TD - 106.2 QBR