NFL News & Analysis

Every NFL team's highest-graded rookie ahead of Week 12

Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) celebrates following a play during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

• CBs Sauce Gardner, Jack Jones lead the way for their teams: Both rookies have been lockdown players at the cornerback position thus far, sporting 85.0-plus overall grades.

• James Cook, Kenneth Walker, Dameon Pierce among top rookie RBs: A handful of teams have running backs as their highest-graded rookies thus far.

Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins


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Highest-Graded Rookie: EDGE Cameron Thomas (67.3)

Thomas has been in a rotational pass-rushing role, playing just 120 snaps thus far. The third-round pick has accumulated at least one pressure in each of the past seven games and currently holds a 70.7 pass-rushing grade that ranks third among rookie edge rushers with at least 80 pass-rushing snaps.


Highest-Graded Rookie: WR Drake London (76.8)

Atlanta's top-10 pick in 2022 has made the most of his limited pass-catching reps. The USC product leads the team in targets (64), catches (39), contested catches (10), yards (409) and touchdown grabs (4) so far this season.


Highest-Graded Rookie: S Kyle Hamilton (86.9)

Hamilton has picked up speed over the past few weeks to earn the highest grade among all qualifying defensive backs this season. He hasn't allowed a touchdown in coverage since Week 2 and has missed only three tackles on the year.


Highest-Graded Rookie: RB James Cook (82.7)

With more consistent playing time over the past few weeks, Cook now boasts a 77.0 rushing grade on 44 attempts and is averaging 3.68 yards after contact per carry. Against the Browns last week, Cook racked up a career-high 86 yards rushing and four first-down runs on just 11 carries.


Highest-Graded Rookie: T Ikem Ekwonu (64.3)

Ekwonu's 693 snaps have been filled with gradual improvement along the Panthers' offensive line. The top-five pick has surrendered only three sacks across 379 pass-blocking snaps — and all three came in Weeks 1 and 2. He has allowed just five pressures in his past six games.


Highest-Graded Rookie: T Braxton Jones (71.1)

Jones hasn't had the greatest season as a pass-protector, but his 74.3 run-blocking grade across 350 snaps highlights his upside. He's thrived the most as a gap blocker, where his 83.5 grade across 121 such snaps ranks third-highest in the league.


Highest-Graded Rookie: S Daxton Hill (66.1)

Hill has played less than 200 snaps in nine games, including just 30 coverage reps overall. With the limited reps, Hill has forced an incompletion and held his opponent to 10 yards on just two targets.


Highest-Graded Rookie: CB Martin Emerson (73.3)

Emerson currently holds a 75.7 coverage grade that paces the Browns' secondary room. The third-round selection has forced eight incompletions while surrendering just 360 receiving yards and 37 receptions on 57 targets.


Highest-Graded Rookie: EDGE Sam Williams (77.4)

Williams is still somewhat buried on the Cowboys' loaded edge rusher depth chart, but he has put up solid numbers when given the chance. Williams has secured his first three NFL sacks over the past three weeks and has the highest pass-rushing grade (79.3) of any rookie edge defender.


Highest-Graded Rookie: TE Greg Dulcich (62.9)

Dulcich has registered a 70.2 receiving grade on 173 receiving snaps in five games. He's had multiple first-down receptions in four of those contests and has six explosive receptions, as well.


Highest-Graded Rookie: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (71.0)

Detroit's prized No. 2 pick leads all rookies in total pressures (31) and sacks (6). In four of his past five games, Hutchinson hasn't posted a pass-rush win rate under 12.0%.


Highest-Graded Rookie: EDGE Kingsley Enagbare (70.2)

The Packers' 2022 draft class has been a mixed bag, but it's Enagbare so far who has the team's best rookie grade. On 138 pass-rushing snaps, the fifth-round selection has totaled two sacks, 11 total pressures and an 18.4% pass-rush win rate.


Highest-Graded Rookie: RB Dameon Pierce (83.0)

Pierce has made waves as Houston's feature back since being given the reigns in Week 3. The fourth-round selection has the third-most first-down runs in football (47) with 53 missed tackles forced, also third-most.


Highest-Graded Rookie: WR Alec Pierce (62.0)

Pierce has been an underrated revelation as the Colts' WR2.  The second-round pick has hauled in 10 explosive receptions while accumulating 15.1 yards per reception on 28 catches.


Highest-Graded Rookie: EDGE Travon Walker (61.2)

Walker has flashed upside and raw athleticism throughout his rookie season. The 2022 top overall pick has 24 pressures — 18 hurries, three hits and three sacks — through his first 10 games.


Highest-Graded Rookie: CB Trent McDuffie (72.0)

McDuffie has played in only four games this season due to injury but has still flashed his first-round talent across 129 coverage snaps. The Washington Huskies' standout has allowed 75 yards on 13 targets sent his way and holds a 78.2 coverage grade.


Highest-Graded Rookie: T Thayer Munford (61.9)

Munford has chipped in significant snaps at right tackle since the Raiders released former first-round selection Alex Leatherwood after the preseason. He's surrendered only 11 total pressures across 203 pass-blocking snaps and holds a 69.6 pass-blocking grade.


Highest-Graded Rookie: T Jamaree Salyer (67.0)

Salyer has been the Chargers' starting left tackle since Rashawn Slater suffered a significant injury in Week 3, and he's done a decent job considering the circumstances. He's allowed just one sack across 335 pass-blocking snaps and holds a 74.3 pass-blocking grade.


Highest-Graded Rookie: RB Kyren Williams (69.8)

Williams was hampered by injury before finally breaking into the lineup the past two weeks. His recent performance against the Saints featured a season-best 79.6 rushing grade, highlighted by 26 yards after contact and two rushing first downs.


Highest-Graded Rookie: QB Skylar Thompson (71.5)

Thompson has taken 57 dropbacks on the year, playing time he was afforded while Tua Tagovailoa was out with injury. He made two big-time throws in that short stint and finished with an 89.6 overall grade in Week 6.


Highest-Graded Rookie: LB Brian Asamoah (64.8)

The reps haven't been there for Asamoah this season, but he does have one promising grade going for him. On 13 run-defense snaps, the former Sooner boasts an 83.1 such grade.


Highest-Graded Rookie: CB Jack Jones (85.7)

The Patriots have become a cornerback factory over the years, and Jones is the latest draft prospect to thrive in Foxborough. The fourth-round selection has a 90.1 coverage grade across 209 coverage snaps with three pass breakups and two interceptions so far this year. He's allowed just 17 catches on 31 targets.


Highest-Graded Rookie: WR Chris Olave (83.2)

Olave has been a solid WR1 for the Saints right out of the gate. His 16 explosive pass catches are a team high, and he leads all rookies in receiving grade (84.2). He has dropped just one pass this season on 79 targets.


Highest-Graded Rookie: TE Daniel Bellinger (74.8)

Bellinger has caught all but one of his 17 targets for 10 first downs and two touchdowns, and 103 of his 152 yards have come after the catch. He holds a team-high 75.7 receiving grade as a result.


Highest-Graded Rookie: CB Sauce Gardner (85.9)

Gardner has lived up to his CB1 draft projections with a stellar 88.5 coverage grade. His 11 pass breakups leads the position — rookie or not — and he's surrendered just 22 catches on 50 targets into his coverage.


Highest-Graded Rookie: DI Jordan Davis (78.4)

Davis has played only seven games due to injury but has showcased his dominance as a stout run-defender. His PFF stat sheet includes seven run stops and four tackles for losses en route to a 77.7 run-defense grade — ninth-best among all interior defenders.


Highest-Graded Rookie: WR George Pickens (64.3)

Pickens is nearly at the halfway mark of a 1,000-yard receiving season and has 22 first-down receptions so far this year. He's brought in 11 of his 18 contested targets.


Highest-Graded Rookie: CB Samuel Womack (72.6)

Womack has played only 72 coverage snaps, but the fifth-round selection's impact is clear. He holds a 73.7 coverage grade, aided by an interception and a forced incompletion, on 16 targets. He hasn't missed a tackle, either.


Highest-Graded Rookie: RB Kenneth Walker III (71.1)

Walker has taken off since Week 6 as the team's RB1. The second-round selection has forced 31 missed tackles, run for 29 first downs and scored seven touchdowns on 121 rush attempts.


Highest-Graded Rookie: RB Rachaad White (69.2)

White has slowly been given the reigns as the team's RB1 in recent matchups. The third-round selection just recently rushed for over 100 yards on 22 carries versus Seattle, including a season-high seven rushing first downs.


Highest-Graded Rookie: TE Chigoziem Okonkwo (75.9)

Okonkwo has played just 70 receiving snaps so far but has thrived within his role. he's had seven of his eight catches go for first downs and possesses a 75.4 receiving grade.


Highest-Graded Rookie: RB Brian Robinson Jr. (78.4)

Robinson, who missed the first four games of the season after being shot in an armed robbery, has racked up 282 of his 363 rushing yards after contact. He holds a 78.7 rushing grade on 108 carries.

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