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 eight 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 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: On paper, the second-round selection out of South Carolina State had one of his quietest games of the season Sunday in Oakland, but he still leads the league by a margin of 12 with 88 tackles and he drew another strong grade from Pro Football Focus.
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. Can’t fault him for having a bye in Week 8.
4. 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.
5. Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson: It was tough sledding for the second-round pick out of Auburn in a Week 8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but he still ranks first in the NFC with a 6.1 yards-per-attempt average.
6. Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb: The second-round Georgia product was decent despite trailing much of the day against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he continues to lead the AFC with a 6.1 yards-per-attempt average.
7. Browns CB Denzel Ward: The No. 4 overall pick out of Ohio State had an so-so Week 8 showing against the Steelers. Still, he’s tied for the AFC lead with three interceptions and was just flagged for his first penalty of the season in Pittsburgh.
8. 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’s an honorable mention on PFF’s midseason All-Pro team.
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. He broke up five passes and generally rocked in coverage against the mighty Los Angeles Rams offense in Week 8.
10. 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 Seattle.
Honorable mentions: Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley, Browns QB Baker Mayfield, 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, 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