Throughout the 2018 NFL season, we’re monitoring the progress made by the league’s rookie class by power ranking them based on their play, their circumstances, or both.
Here’s how the rookie crop shakes out with nine weeks in the books.
1. New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley: Only Todd Gurley and James Conner have more scrimmage yards than the No. 2 overall pick out of Penn State. He’s also got seven touchdowns in eight games despite playing for a bad team, and there’s a chance he winds up with 1,000 yards as both a rusher and a receiver.
2. Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard: Despite the fact he’s had his bye and has missed a game due to injury, the second-round selection out of South Carolina State leads the NFL with 88 total tackles.
3. Los Angeles Chargers S Derwin James: The No. 17 overall pick out of Florida State has 3.5 sacks, a pick, six passes defensed, and 55 tackles as a consistent force in the L.A. secondary. He had a career-high 11 tackles in a big Week 9 road victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
4. Colts G Quenton Nelson: After a slow September, the No. 6 overall pick out of Notre Dame was so dominant in October that he became the first-ever guard to win offensive player of the month honors.
5. Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley: Only Antonio Brown has caught more touchdown passes than the N0. 26 overall pick out of Alabama. After a few quiet weeks, he caught six for 71 yards and a score in a victory over the Washington Redskins in Week 10.
6. Detroit Lions DT Da’Shawn Hand: A pair of sacks and some eye-popping Pro Football Focus numbers already for the fourth-round Alabama product. He was strong in a losing effort against the Minnesota Vikings.
7. Cincinnati Bengals S Jessie Bates III: The second-round Wake Forest product recorded six tackles and a huge pick-six against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, giving him three interceptions on the season. He was an honorable mention on PFF’s midseason All-Pro team before the bye.
8. Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay: The undrafted Colorado product had 84 more scrimmage yards in a Week 9 victory over Arizona. He ranks seventh in the league with a 5.4 yards-per-attempt average.
9. Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander: The first-round pick out of Louisville has shined in the Green Bay secondary and is coming off the best game of his career.
10. Browns CB Denzel Ward: The No. 4 overall pick out of Ohio State is tied for the AFC lead with three interceptions.
Honorable mentions: Lions RB Kerryon Johnson, Giants G Will Hernandez, Browns RB Nick Chubb, Broncos RB Royce Freeman, Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb, San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey, Colts RT Braden Smith