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 10 weeks in the books.
1. New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley: The No. 2 overall pick out of Penn State has recorded 100-plus scrimmage yards in eight of his first nine NFL games, adding seven touchdowns for a team with a 2-7 record. He still has a chance to hit 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air.
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 96 total tackles.
3. Los Angeles Chargers S Derwin James: The No. 17 overall pick out of Florida State has 3.5 sacks, a pick, seven passes defensed, and 64 tackles as a consistent force in the L.A. secondary. He brought plenty of pressure and made plays left and right in a Week 10 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
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 rookie of the month honors. He was solid again in a Week 10 victory over the Jaguars, while also giving us this viral awesomeness:
SCREAMING HELPS. pic.twitter.com/hYkcDAcXJ0
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) November 12, 2018
5. Detroit Lions DT Da’Shawn Hand: The fourth-round pick out of Alabama is becoming a terror inside for the Lions. After another sack Sunday in Chicago, he’s got the highest rookie Pro Football Focus grade in the NFL.
6. Denver Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb: The No. 5 overall pick out of North Carolina State has sacks in four consecutive games, moving him just 3.5 back of the rookie record of 11.5.
7. Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb: The second-rounder out of Georgia is finally getting more work in the post-Hue Jackson era, and he now leads all rookie backs with a yards-per-attempt average of 6.2. It helps that he had the longest run in team history Sunday against Atlanta.
8. Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley: The N0. 26 overall pick out of Alabama has lacked consistency during his rookie season, but he still ranks in the top five in football with seven touchdown catches.
9. Browns QB Baker Mayfield: The No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma just might be taking off. He’s been lights-out the last two weeks, and suddenly his numbers (61.8 percent, 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions, 87.5 passer rating) aren’t too shabby.
10. Dallas Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch: The No. 19 overall selection out of Boise State has been killing it in relief of the injured Sean Lee. He ranks in the top in the NFL with 77 tackles despite the fact he’s been out there less than 70 percent of the time.
WHAT A GAME. #eaglesvscowboys lived up to the hype with Dallas pulling out the 27-20 victory. Leighton Vander Esch was the story of the night, as Sean Lee’s replacement had his first career Pick and made this unbelievable game saving tackle 🔥 #SNF pic.twitter.com/l4D2ntIOKH
— Second Deck Sports (@2nddecksports) November 12, 2018
Honorable mentions: Browns CB Denzel Ward, Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander, Cincinnati Bengals S Jessie Bates III, Lions RB Kerryon Johnson, Giants G Will Hernandez, Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay, Broncos RB Royce Freeman, San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey, Colts RT Braden Smith, Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore