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Grading all 32 first-round picks after Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season

The New York Jets saw some signs of life from Zach Wilson this week albeit in a comprehensive defeat to the Eagles. Jaylen Waddle continues to be the key piece within the Miami Dolphins offense while Ja’Marr Chase had a disastrous drop that turned a likely touchdown into an interception.

The two best-graded players on offense this week were tackles Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, but on the defensive side of the ball Micah Parsons is elevating himself into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation for the Dallas Cowboys.

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PICK NO. 1: QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.8 (Rank: 4/7)
Week 13 Grade: 56.7

It’s impossible to be too optimistic about anything that Lawrence did against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13 — with no big-time throws, just a 3.9-yard average depth of target and a subpar 63.0% adjusted completion rate.

The Jaguars need to give Lawrence some serious help in the offseason. He ranks 33rd among 38 qualifying passers in overall PFF grade this season and 35th in adjusted completion rate, but the offense and playmakers around him are rarely offering much help.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.3 (Rank: 5/7)
Week 13 Grade: 67.0

It says something about Wilson's debut season that a game in which he earned an average passing grade of 65.8 and made no big-time throws and two turnover-worthy plays is deemed a step in the right direction, but that’s where we are.

Wilson completed 60% of his passes, with his receivers dropping five passes. He passed for two scores, one of which was a second chance after he missed a wide-open receiver initially. Wilson’s rookie year has been a struggle, but this was one of his better performances, showing some of the poise and confidence he flashed in preseason.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.0 (Rank: 3/7)
Week 13 Grade: DNP

Lance did not play against the Seattle Seahawks. Despite a couple of calamitous turnover-worthy plays, Jimmy Garoppolo ended the game with another solid overall PFF grade and was close to bringing the 49ers back for a win. There is scant sign of Lance getting on the field, even on plays where head coach Kyle Shanahan is calling for quarterback runs.

PICK NO. 4: TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Overall Rookie Grade: 77.5 (Rank: 1/13)
Week 13 Grade: 61.3

Pitts was thrown at six times against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week — half of Russell Gage‘s team-leading total but more than any other Falcons receiver. Pitts flashed his incredible talent on one play, in particular, stiff-arming a Bucs defender before almost being able to toe-tap down the sideline for a huge play.

The expectations for Pitts were off the charts heading into his rookie season, and while he has more than twice as many receiving yards as any other rookie tight end, he seems to have inherited the Julio Jones role of missing out on touchdowns.

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

Overall Rookie Grade: 76.7 (Rank: 3/25)
Week 13 Grade: 63.9

The Bengals have tended to go as Chase has gone this season, and that left them in a bad spot in Week 13. Though Chase caught five of the eight passes thrown his way, he dropped two of them — one of which was a game-changer. Joe Burrow tossed a perfect pass into his hands deep downfield on what could have been a 71-yard touchdown, but Chase somehow not only dropped it, but did so in such a way that the trailing defender was able to intercept it.

PICK NO. 6: WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

Overall Rookie Grade: 78.0 (Rank: 2/25)
Week 13 Grade: 71.8

The Dolphins' offense is running through Waddle at the moment. Miami fields the worst offensive line in the game, so the ball needs to come out quickly most of the time — and that means a lot of short targets to Waddle, whose quickness can get into gaps and move the chains. He does get the occasional deeper target, but his production on those passes has been much more inconsistent. This week, he caught nine of 12 targets for 90 yards, with a 25-yard catch making up a significant chunk of that. Waddle dropped two passes to prevent an even bigger day.

PICK NO. 7: OT Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions

Overall Rookie Grade: 73.9 (Rank: 2/17)
Week 13 Grade: 76.7

With the Minnesota Vikings missing much of their defensive front seven, the Detroit Lions' offensive line was able to collectively have a very good day en route to the team’s first win of the season. Sewell allowed just one pressure on 46 pass-blocking snaps and had another good game run blocking. He has put together seven straight performances that earned an above-average PFF game grade while giving up just one sack since Week 5 across two different positions.

PICK NO. 8: CB Jaycee Horn, Carolina Panthers

Overall Rookie Grade: 67.8 (Rank: 5/36)
Week 13 Grade: DNP

Horn broke his foot on Thursday night in Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season after an encouraging start to the campaign. He is expected to miss the rest of his rookie year.


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