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2022 NFL Season: Grading all 32 first-round rookies after Week 1

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) catches the ball during warmups before a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, August 28, 2022. Nfl Giants Vs Jets Preseason Game Giants At Jets

Philadelphia Eagles interior defender Jordan Davis earned one of the highest grades of the first-rounders, with a 74.3 overall mark on 22 snaps in Week 1.

New York Jets cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner also earned a 70.0-plus overall grade after breaking up a potential touchdown pass and allowing just one catch for eight yards.

It was a quiet debut for Detroit Lions No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who tallied three hurries on 36 pass-rushing snaps.

Estimated Reading Time: 13 mins

The 2022 NFL regular season is underway, and we will be checking in weekly on the first-round rookies, grading their performances as well as highlighting who their principal individual opponent was in each game.

Here’s how the group fared in Week 1.

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PICK NO. 1: Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

Overall Rookie Grade: 66.2 (Rank: 3/9)
Principal opponent: Charles Leno Jr.
Week 1 SNAPS: 64

Walker made a couple of spectacular plays against Washington that highlighted his potential. His sack was the kind of elite, athletic speed rush around the corner that was largely absent from his tape in college, while his interception of Carson Wentz on a screen was fantastic diagnosis and reaction skills. The reason his grade isn’t higher is that the sack was his lone pressure on 32 pass-rushing snaps. The flashes were spectacular, but the Jaguars need more volume.

PICK NO. 2: Detroit Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.3 (Rank: 8/9)
Principal opponent: Jordan Mailata
Week 1 SNAPS: 67

Hutchinson failed to make much of an impact for the Lions against Philadelphia in his debut, but he was going up against a pair of elite tackles. He notched three hurries, but it took him 36 rushes to get them and he failed to bring down Jalen Hurts on two of the three. The Lions moved him around the defensive line — largely from one side to the other — but he also lined up on the interior for a handful of snaps. The assignments won’t get much tougher than this, but it was a rough debut for the rookie.

PICK NO. 3: Houston Texans: CB Derek Stingley Jr. LSU

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.2 (Rank: 10/12)
Principal opponent: Michael Pittman Jr.
Week 1 SNAPS: 92

It’s very hard to maintain good coverage stats over 92 overall snaps and 54 plays in coverage, so it’s not a huge surprise to see Stingley’s PFF grade settle around average. He showed on one pass breakup the kind of impact he can have, saving a touchdown in the process. Overall, Stingley gave up six catches for 81 yards while working largely against the Colts' best receiver.

PICK NO. 4: New York Jets: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati

Overall Rookie Grade: 72.9 (Rank: 3/12)
Principal opponent: Rashod Bateman
Week 1 SNAPS: 56

Gardner continued his fine preseason play into his regular season debut. He saw his first NFL targets but allowed only one catch for eight yards while also recording an outstanding pass breakup to deny Mark Andrews a touchdown catch. Gardner already shows an outstanding feel and understanding for zone coverage and is one of the early standouts from this rookie class.


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