Saquon Barkley Oct 22, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) walks off of the field after their loss to the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

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 seven weeks in the books.

1. New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley: Only Todd Gurley has more scrimmage yards than the No. 2 overall pick out of Penn State. He’s also got seven touchdowns in seven games despite playing for a bad team.

2. Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson: The second-round pick out of Auburn exploded with 158 yards on 18 carries in a Week 7 victory. He ranks second in football with a 6.4 yards-per-attempt average.

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 44 tackles as a consistent force in the L.A. secondary.

4. Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard: The second-round selection out of South Carolina State is a tackle machine. He had 17 of them in a magnificent performance against the Bills, and he now leads the league with 79 despite missing a game due to injury.

5. Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward: The No. 4 overall pick out of Ohio State was again superb in coverage for the Browns on Sunday. He’s tied for the league lead with three interceptions and he’s yet to be flagged for a penalty.

6. Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay: The undrafted Colorado product had 90 more yards in a Week 7 victory over Arizona. He ranks third in the league with a 5.8 yards-per-attempt average.

7. Browns QB Baker Mayfield: The No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma has often been let down by his supporting cast, but he posted the second triple-digit passer rating of his career in a turnover-free performance in Week 7 and he’s the highest-rated rookie passer in the NFL.

8. Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert: The second-rounder out of South Dakota State has caught 85 percent of the passes thrown his way and has already found the end zone twice.

9. 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.

10. Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley: The No. 26 overall selection out of Alabama has struggled to make big plays of late and is at risk of falling off this list, but he and Barkley are still the only rookies in football with six-plus touchdowns.

Honorable mentions: Oakland Raiders DT Maurice Hurst, Giants G Will Hernandez, Dallas Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch, New York Jets QB Sam Darnold, New England Patriots RB Sony Michel, Broncos RB Royce Freeman, Browns RB Nick Chubb, Cincinnati Bengals S Jessie Bates, Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander, San Francisco 49ers LB Fred Warner, Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen, Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb, San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey, Colts RT Braden Smith

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.