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Highest-graded rookies of the 2022 NFL season

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) looks on before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Sauce Gardner delights: The New York Jets’ rookie CB leads all cornerbacks with 90.2 PFF coverage grade.

Kyle Hamilton causes problems: The Baltimore Ravens’ rookie leads all rookie DBs with 84.8 PFF run defense grade.

Garrett Wilson establishes star credentials: Jets’ second first-round pick led all rookies with 22 missed tackles forced as a receiver.

Estimated reading time: 7 mintues

With the regular season now complete, it’s time to take a look at which rookies made an immediate impact at the NFL level. From solid contributors to players who are already among the best in the league at their positions, it was an impressive season for first-year players.

1. CB Sauce Gardner, New York Jets

PFF Grade: 88.5

Not just one of the best rookies in the NFL, the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft already has a claim to being the best cornerback in football, as Gardner’s 90.2 PFF coverage grade is the highest at the position this season while his 14 pass breakups are tied for the most in the league. From 642 coverage snaps, he was targeted 73 times, allowing just 33 receptions for 344 yards.

2. RB Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons

PFF Grade: 86.7

Allgeier didn’t get the attention that Kenneth Walker and Dameon Pierce received throughout the year, but he quietly produced for much of the season before finishing strong with 431 rushing yards over the final four games of the season. He froced 51 missed tackles on carries — second among all rookies — while his 3.58 yards after contact per carry were the most among rookies who accumulated 100 or more rushing attempts.

3. WR Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

PFF Grade: 83.2

In terms of their PFF grade, the top three rookie wide receivers were incredibly close, but London just edged Garrett Wilson thanks to committing fewer penalties. The former USC Trojan finished his rookie year strong, racking up 70 or more receiving yards in four of the Falcons' final five games. On the year, he registered just two drops from 74 catchable targets.


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