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2022 NFL Season: Grading all 32 first-round picks after Week 16

East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks to pass while being pursued by New York Jets defensive end Jermaine Johnson (52) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Jermaine Johnson II produces on season-high snap total: The New York Jets edge defender recorded two pressures on 17 rushes and tied for his best game with three defensive stops.

Kenny Pickett puts together another promising performance: It wasn't always pretty, but Pickett did enough to will the Steelers to victory on Sunday Night Football and earned a 78.7 PFF grade for his efforts.

Sauce Gardner is unbeatable: While the rookie did give up a 23-yard reception this week, he continued to solidify his Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign.

Estimated Reading Time: 12 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 16, as well as their overall PFF grade for the season.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.2 (Rank: 16/36)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 16 Snaps: 0

Walker did not play this week due to an ankle injury. His rookie season has been one of flashes of potential but inconsistency and long stretches of anonymity. He has a below-average PFF pass-rushing grade, racking up 31 pressures across 372 rushing snaps.

2. Detroit Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Overall Rookie Grade: 77.0 (Rank: 3/36)
Principal Opponent: Taylor Moton
Week 16 Snaps: 52

Hutchinson was part of a Lions defense that embarrassed itself in run defense against Carolina in a game they needed to win to keep playoff momentum alive. The Lions gave up 320 rushing yards, and Hutchinson was out of position multiple times, earning a 46.7 PFF run-defense grade for the game. He recorded two pressures, but it didn’t matter because Carolina racked up 7.4 yards per carry.

3. Houston Texans: CB Derek Stingley Jr. LSU

Overall Rookie Grade: 49.1 (Rank: 36/46)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 16 Snaps: 0

Stingley missed this week’s game against Tennessee with a hamstring injury. He has allowed a catch on 67.3% of targets into his coverage 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: 88.0 (Rank: 1/46)
Principal Opponent: Evan Engram
Week 16 Snaps: 72

Gardner gave up one catch this week, a 23-yard drag route to tight end Evan Engram, and it was notable simply because of how rarely he gives anything up in coverage. It was the only reception he allowed against Jacksonville and the largest yardage total he has allowed in a month of football. Gardner isn’t just the best rookie cornerback in the NFL this season; he's arguably the best cornerback in all of football.

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