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Grading all 32 first-round picks after Week 11 of the 2021 NFL season

Trevor Lawrence had one of his better games of the season, but the Jacksonville Jaguars are such a mess around him that it just didn’t matter. Justin Fields suffered a ribs injury against the Baltimore Ravens, with Andy Dalton almost snatching a win and reigniting the Chicago Bears‘ quarterback controversy.

Rookie receivers remain dangerous weapons, and tackle Penei Sewell is fighting to restart the debate that he would have been the best pick possible for the Cincinnati Bengals at the top of the draft, as he now impresses on the right side of the line.

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PICK NO. 1: QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Overall Rookie Grade: 58.8 (Rank: 6/7)
Week 11 Grade: 71.4

Lawrence didn’t have a bad game this week against the San Francisco 49ers, but his receiving help is getting thinner and thinner as the season progresses. The Jaguars lost Jamal Agnew for the year due to injury, and Lawrence ended the game with just 6.3 yards per attempt. He made one big-time throw and went without a turnover-worthy play for the third time this season, but the overall results show just how much help the Jaguars' offense needs independent of Lawrence.

The first overall pick now has one more big-time throw than he does turnover-worthy plays on the season to go with a 71.1% adjusted completion rate.

PICK NO. 2: QB Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.5 (Rank: 4/7)
Week 11 Grade: DNP

Wilson remains sidelined due to injury, and it was veteran Joe Flacco who led the Jets against the Miami Dolphins this week. Wilson’s rookie year thus far has been a struggle. He has the second-highest turnover-worthy play rate in the league (5.0%) and is averaging 3.1 seconds to throw an eternity by modern standards. Nothing has been in rhythm for Wilson, and he hasn’t even been able to get by with the spectacular plays that his college game was founded on.

PICK NO. 3: QB Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.0 (Rank: 3/7)
Week 11 Grade: 69.5

Lance saw just five snaps against the Jaguars — all of which were on the 49ers' final drive to chew up clock and see out the game. After two handoffs, Lance rushed up the middle on a quarterback draw to pick up the first down and allow the team to assume victory formation. Lance has barely played so far this season, and Jimmy Garoppolo is currently in the midst of his best play in a long time. Lance is waiting in the wings, but he may not get a shot at leading this team until next season unless Garoppolo collapses down the stretch or gets injured.

PICK NO. 4: TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Overall Rookie Grade: 78.2 (Rank: 1/11)
Week 11 Grade: 59.9

With no Cordarrelle Patterson on Thursday night against the Patriots, it seemed likely that Pitts was going to have a tough time, given New England's propensity to remove an offense’s primary threat as its fundamental gameplan. The Falcons didn’t score in the game, and Pitts made just three catches for 29 yards, but the Patriots didn’t actually do anything dramatic to take him out of the game. Atlanta's offense was just that inept in the face of New England’s defense. Pitts has still been a dynamic playmaker this season, playing 72.2% of his snaps either in the slot or out wide.

PICK NO. 5: WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Overall Rookie Grade: 76.9 (Rank: 3/24)
Week 11 Grade: 68.2

Chase was kept relatively quiet by the Raiders this week despite the Bengals racking up points and excelling on offense. Chase did get a touchdown on a perfectly thrown pass from Joe Burrow in the red zone, and all three of his catches went for either a first down or a score, but he caught just half of his targets and totaled 32 yards.

Overall, Chase has been one of the leading candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but his hot start has cooled over recent weeks. He is still averaging 2.5 yards per route run on the season.

PICK NO. 6: WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

Overall Rookie Grade: 75.1 (Rank: 6/24)
Week 11 Grade: 72.8

Waddle’s influence on the Miami offense continues to grow, and the team is ever-expanding his usage. Against the Jets, he caught eight of the nine passes thrown his way for 65 yards, but he also lined up in the backfield and ran around two defenders for a rushing touchdown. Waddle’s playmaking abilities are self-evident, but the Dolphins' offense still has a lot of work to do before we have any gauge on where his ceiling lies. 

PICK NO. 7: OT Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions

Overall Rookie Grade: 71.9 (Rank: 3/16)
Week 11 Grade: 81.1

The Lions weren’t able to build on last week’s tie and notch their first win of the season, but they were far closer to it than many would have expected. Sewell put together his second straight impressive performance at right tackle after moving back across the line following Taylor Decker‘s return from injury.

Sewell had been disastrous at right tackle in the preseason but has yet to allow any pressure there in two games since moving back to the position. He finished the game against the Browns with an 81.1 overall PFF grade, tied for his best mark of the season.

PICK NO. 8: CB Jaycee Horn, Carolina Panthers

Overall Rookie Grade: 67.8 (Rank: 7/36)
Week 11 Grade: DNP

Horn broke his foot on Thursday night in Week 3 of the NFL season after an encouraging start to the campaign. He is expected to miss the rest of his rookie year.


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