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2022 NFL Season: Grading all 32 first-round picks after Week 13

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) leaps for a one-handed catch but is called out of bounds as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie (21) defends in the second quarter of a Week 13 NFL game at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

• Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson face off: The No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks battled in Week 13, with Hutchinson winning out production-wise.

• Sauce Gardner, Trent McDuffie go up against elite WRs: Gardner faced some of Justin Jefferson, while McDuffie dealt with Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.

• Kenyon Green rebounds: The struggling guard allowed no pressure from 20 pass-blocking snaps in Week 13.

Estimated Reading Time: 11 mins

We'll be checking in on the first-round rookies throughout the 2022 NFL season, grading their performances and highlighting their principal individual opponents in each game.

Here’s how the group fared in Week 13, as well as their overall PFF grades for the season.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

Overall Rookie Grade: 57.0 (Rank: 14/32)
Principal Opponent: Taylor Decker
Week 13 Snaps: 55

Walker and Aidan Hutchinson played in the same game for the first time, just months after they were direct competitors in the quest to be drafted No. 1 overall. Walker recorded four pressures in the game from 31 pass-rushing snaps. His run defense wasn’t up to its usual standard, but this was one of the most productive pass-rushing games of his season.

2. Detroit Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Overall Rookie Grade: 70.1 (Rank: 3/32)
Principal Opponent: Jawaan Taylor
Week 13 Snaps: 48

Hutchinson tallied four pressures from his 35 rushes, with one of them being a sack. Hutchinson’s play was better than Walker's in other facets of the game, and he avoided the missed tackle that Walker had on his ledger. Hutchinson has been the better of the two players so far this season, but neither has set the league alight. 

3. Houston Texans: CB Derek Stingley Jr. LSU

Overall Rookie Grade: 49.1 (Rank: 28/39)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 13 Snaps: 0

Stingley missed this week’s game against Cleveland with a hamstring injury. Stingley has allowed 67.3% of passes thrown his way to be caught this season for an 84.9 passer rating. He has yet to surrender a touchdown.

4. New York Jets: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati

Overall Rookie Grade: 84.2 (Rank: 1/39)
Principal Opponent: Justin Jefferson
Week 13 Snaps: 68

Gardner against Justin Jefferson was billed as one of the biggest one-on-one matchups of the week, and while there were some fireworks between the two, Jefferson saw plenty of the rest of the Jets' defense, as well. Overall, Gardner gave up two catches for 17 yards, both of which moved the chains for a first down. He also had a coverage penalty in there against Jefferson when he got too physical in the first quarter.

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5. New York Giants: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

Overall Rookie Grade: 68.8 (Rank: 10/32)
Principal Opponent: Cornelius Lucas
Week 13 Snaps: 74

Thibodeaux posted four hurries, including a sack, and three defensive stops against Washington. His production was solid, but the star of the show was Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, whose blitzes were repeatedly leaving Thibodeaux completely unblocked. His performances have improved in recent weeks, and he has been the most consistent of the top-rookie pass rushers.

6. Carolina Panthers: OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.8 (Rank: 5/13)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 13 Snaps: BYE

Ikem Ekwonu and the Panthers were on a bye this week. After a rough start, Ekwonu has dramatically improved, particularly in pass protection. His biggest issues this season have been penalties, with his 11 calls leading the league among tackles.


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