NFL News & Analysis

Highest graded NFL rookies at every position: Offense

Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) hands off to running back Dameon Pierce (31) in the third quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

  • Highest-graded rookie on offense: Houston Texans rookie RB Dameon Pierce has been PFF's highest-graded rookie on offense thus far, posting an impressive 82.6 overall grade.
  • Jamaree Salyer leads rookie offensive linemen: The Los Angeles Chargers rookie tackle has fared well filling in for an injured Rashawn Slater, notching a notable 71.6 overall grade to lead all rookie offensive linemen.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In the NFL, rookies come in and make an instant impact every season, and this year is no different. After eight weeks of the regular season, we’re dipping into PFF's premium stats database to identify the young stars at each position (min. 100 snaps). Here’s a look at the rookies on offense.


Quarterback: Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots

PFF Grade: 67.1

Zappe is one of just two rookie quarterbacks who played 100-plus snaps through eight weeks of the season, grading a little better than Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett (60.6). Zappe has earned his solid grade by largely avoiding mistakes as a passer, posting just two turnover-worthy plays from 99 dropbacks.


Running Back: Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans

PFF Grade: 82.6

One of the positions with the fiercest competition to be the top-graded rookie, running back is led by Pierce due to his ability to break tackles and make defenders miss. He has already forced 41 missed tackles on carries so far this season, trailing only Cleveland BrownsNick Chubb among all running backs.


Wide Receiver: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

PFF Grade: 80.3

Wide receiver is another closely fought position, and both the New Orleans SaintsChris Olave and New York JetsGarrett Wilson could catch London with a big game. London's sure hands have stood out, as he has dropped zero passes from 30 catchable targets — tied for the third-most catchable targets without a drop this season.


Tight End: Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants

PFF Grade: 74.8

A fourth-round draft pick out of San Diego State, Bellinger has been the NFL's top rookie tight end through eight weeks. As a receiver, he has caught all 16 catchable targets thrown his way for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, he has been solid as a blocker, producing a 62.3 run-blocking grade.


Tackle: Jamaree Salyer, Los Angeles Chargers

PFF Grade: 71.6

Twelve rookie offensive tackles have played 100 snaps so far this season, but Salyer, a sixth-round draft pick out of George, has the highest grade. He has been solid in the run game, with a 68.7 run-blocking grade, but has really stood out as a pass-blocker. From 207 pass-blocking snaps, he has allowed just 11 hurries — six of which came against the Browns in just his second start.


Guard: Dylan Parham, Las Vegas Raiders

PFF Grade: 66.1

While he hasn’t dominated, Parnham has looked more than capable of being a multi-year starter in the NFL so far in his rookie season. Run blocking has been his strength, as he has posted a 70.0-plus PFF run-blocking in three games.


Center: Tyler Linderbaum, Baltimore Ravens

PFF Grade: 64.5

Linderbaum’s 71.1 run-blocking grade ranks ninth among centers with at least 100 run-blocking snaps, highlighted by a dominant performance at the second level against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. His athleticism is already proving to be an asset for the Ravens, allowing them to call more outside-zone running plays than before. 

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