NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 2 Rookie Report: Grades, snaps, game takeaways and more

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) drops back to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The second week of the 2021 NFL preseason is in the books. As always, the rookies captivated onlookers, and PFF is here to shed light on how they fared in Week 2. 

Below is a list of the big takeaways from the most notable performances, followed by snap counts and PFF grades from those who played at least 15 snaps.

THE BIG STORYLINES

Mac Jones and Zach Wilson are separating themselves: Second overall pick Zach Wilson and 15th overall pick Mac Jones are the two highest-graded rookie quarterbacks in the NFL — by a comfortable margin.

Wilson is coming off an 80.5-graded performance against the Green Bay Packers. he popped off a couple of big-time throws, one coming courtesy of a stellar off-platform throw that flashed us back to his time at BYU.

Jones is fresh off a 93.4-graded outing against the Philadelphia Eagles, which continued his streak of the same clean, efficient play that helped Alabama to a National Championship. The Pats' rookie signal-caller ranks first among all quarterbacks in uncatchable and negatively graded throw rate so far this preseason.

Ja’Marr Chase camp woes carrying over: The No. 5 overall pick has reportedly been suffering from the yips, with Chase himself publicly acknowledging that he needs to regain his mental strength. Those struggles were further verified in his preseason outing on Friday when he ran seven routes, saw three targets and dropped every single one. He ended the game with a 27.0 PFF grade.

Still, we're a long way off from smashing the Ja'Marr Chase panic button. Yes, the Bengals would have rather seen him get off to a hot start, but patience is key.

Elijah Molden shows his value: Molden, PFF's 35th-ranked prospect in the 2021 last draft class, slipped all the way to Pick 101. It was one of the draft's major steals.

The former Washington Husky earned a 90.3 PFF grade covering the slot in Week 2 of the 2021 preseason. The short-area quickness, physical tackling and instinctive play were put on full display.

Penei Sewell is struggling to get acclimated: Sewell underwhelmed in his preseason debut at right tackle, and things got even worse this past weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Melvin Ingram III gave him the business, and the No. 7 overall pick finished with a 13.5 pass-block grade for the game across 13 pass-blocking snaps.

Similar to the Ja’Marr Chase situation, it’s not even close to panic time. Just don’t expect the Lions tackle to put the clamps on every pass-rusher early in his rookie campaign.

Justin Fields under fire: Many expected Fields to be a quarterback who endures a high-pressure rate because of his tendency to hold onto the ball, but that’s something the Chicago Bears can live with, given the rest of his skill set.

Through two weeks of the preseason, Fields has been pressured at a higher rate than any other quarterback (49%). And the blame isn't squarely on the rookie's shoulders, as his offensive line has done little to protect him so far.

Chicago has been left with a mix of Lachavious Simmons, Elijah Wilkinson, Larry Borom and a 39-year-old Jason Peters to man the two starting tackle spots after losing rookie Teven Jenkins to injury. Simmons, Wilkinson and Borom played this past weekend when Fields was moved off his spot by the opposing pass rush on 16 of his 25 dropbacks.

The three linemen were responsible for 20 total pass-block losses and a couple of sacks allowed. At this point, letting the rookie quarterback sit until the offensive line can find its footing isn’t such a bad idea.

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (35) AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (0)

Patriots Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
QB Mac Jones 93.4 42
HB Rhamondre Stevenson 66.8 25
Edge Ronnie Perkins 66.3 27
G William Sherman 58.5 20
DI Christian Barmore 53.9 23

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): None

Eagles Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
HB Kenneth Gainwell 74.7 15
TE Jack Stoll 72.6 31
Edge Milton Williams 62.0 38
WR DeVonta Smith 53.2 26
Edge JaQuan Bailey 52.7 39
Edge Tarron Jackson 52.5 45
LB Patrick Johnson 33.9 27
CB Zech McPhearson 30.5 51
DI Marlon Tuipulotu 29.7 42

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): C Harry Crider (12), WR Jhamon Ausbon (1)


CINCINNATI BENGALS (13) AT WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (17)

Bengals Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
G Jackson Carman 75.0 28
Edge Cameron Sample 70.8 42
HB Chris Evans 65.0 27
C Trey Hill 56.8 45
T Gunnar Vogel 53.3 17
Edge Darius Hodge 51.5 32
DI Tyler Shelvin 31.3 33

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): WR Ja’Marr Chase (9), TE Cheyenne O’Grady (3), RB Pooka Williams Jr. (1)

Football Team Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
LB Jamin Davis 75.3 17
HB Jaret Patterson 73.9 35
T Samuel Cosmi 70.3 23
S Darrick Forrest 68.7 22
TE John Bates 64.5 38
CB Benjamin St-Juste 58.8 22
WR Dyami Brown 57.4 32
WR Dax Milne 51.2 23
Edge Shaka Toney 48.3 16

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): Edge William Bradley-King (14), Edge Justus Reed (10)


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (17) AT ARIZONA CARDINALS (10)

Chiefs Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
QB Shane Buechele 76.7 19
G Trey Smith 72.6 41
C Creed Humphrey 72.0 41
CB Dicaprio Bootle 65.7 30
LB Nick Bolton 63.5 21
TE Noah Gray 62.6 35
S Zayne Anderson 59.5 32
WR Cornell Powell 55.6 19
Edge Joshua Kaindoh 55.4 20

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): S Devon Key (10)

Cardinals Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
WR Rondale Moore 59.3 24
CB Tay Gowan 54.6 43
LB Zaven Collins 43.2 42
Edge Victor Dimukeje 34.0 58

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): CB Marco Wilson (10), DI Cameron Murray (7)


BUFFALO BILLS (41) AT CHICAGO BEARS (15)

Bills Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
G Jack Anderson 82.6 29
Edge Boogie Basham 79.3 44
CB Nick McCloud 76.9 53
S Damar Hamlin 75.8 55
CB Rachad Wildgoose 72.1 34
CB Olaijah Griffin 67.0 29
T Spencer Brown 61.8 33
S Tariq Thompson 55.1 38
T Tommy Doyle 50.0 39

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): TE Quinton Morris (11), WR Marquez Stevenson (9), Edge Gregory Rousseau (9)

Bears Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
Edge Sam Kamara 80.3 16
DI Khyiris Tonga 72.8 30
CB Thomas Graham Jr. 70.3 20
LB Caleb Johnson 65.5 33
QB Justin Fields 64.8 38
DI Daniel Archibong 58.8 20
TE Scooter Harrington 58 18
WR Dazz Newsome 55.4 18
Edge Charles Snowden 55.2 23
HB Khalil Herbert 54.8 22
T Larry Borom 48.8 38

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): RB CJ Marable (5)


NEW YORK JETS (23) AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (14)

Jets Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
CB Brandin Echols 82.5 25
QB Zach Wilson 80.5 22
HB Michael Carter 73.6 20
TE Kenny Yeboah 71.7 23
CB Michael Carter II 69.4 18
LB Hamsah Nasirildeen 69.2 27
T Grant Hermanns 60.7 32
LB Jamien Sherwood 60.5 28
G Tristen Hoge 49.3 22
LB Milo Eifler 47.2 16
CB Isaiah Dunn 46.0 40
Edge Hamilcar Rashed Jr. 30.6 38
DI Jonathan Marshall 29.3 34

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): G David Moore (6)

Packers Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
HB Kylin Hill 91.8 15
G Jacob Capra 90.6 16
DI Jack Heflin 79.7 34
G Royce Newman 78.0 35
T Cole Van Lanen 71.5 27
LB Isaiah McDuffie 69.6 19
CB Shemar Jean-Charles 68.7 23
WR Amari Rodgers 65.7 43
S Christian Uphoff 65.4 15
TE Daniel Crawford 59.6 24
DI Tedarrell Slaton 59.4 37
WR Damon Hazelton 55.5 20
T Coy Cronk 48.4 16
S Innis Gaines 40.8 45

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): DI Carlo Kemp (13), CB Eric Stokes (12), C Josh Myers (11)


BALTIMORE RAVENS (20) AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (3)

Ravens Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
HB Nate McCrary 73.3 27
CB Brandon Stephens 67.6 19
WR Tylan Wallace 64.9 38
TE Ben Mason 63.1 23
Edge Odafe Oweh 38.2 18
T Foster Sarell 34.5 42

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): Edge Daelin Hayes (14), TE Tony Poljan (12), DI Jovan Swann (12), OT Adrian Ealy (11), S Ar’Darius Washington (10), CB Shaun Wade (9), QB Kenji Bahar (3)

Panthers Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
WR Terrace Marshall Jr. 75.4 21
T Brady Christensen 73.3 30
WR Shi Smith 72.9 20
TE Tommy Tremble 60.7 17
DI Daviyon Nixon 55.0 42
HB Spencer Brown 52.5 17
LB Paddy Fisher 51.9 35
DI Phil Hoskins 46.2 37
G Deonte Brown 37.0 27
HB Chuba Hubbard 34.0 21

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): CB Keith Taylor (13), CB Jaycee Horn (7), WR C.J. Saunders (6), RB Darius Clark (6)


ATLANTA FALCONS (17) AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (37)

Falcons Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
WR Frank Darby 87.7 21
S JR Pace 69.4 43
Edge Kobe Jones 69.2 34
CB Richie Grant 65.0 37
CB Darren Hall 64.7 18
S Dwayne Johnson Jr. 60.8 37
Edge Adetokunbo Ogundeji 60.5 37
C Drew Dalman 56.6 45
DI Ta'Quon Graham 55.0 47
TE John Raine 50.3 27
T Kion Smith 49.9 22
T Jalen Mayfield 48.4 45
DI Zac Dawe 43.5 29
QB Feleipe Franks 43.2 38
LB Dorian Etheridge 28.3 30
LB Erroll Thompson 25.9 39

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): RB Caleb Huntley (13), CB Avery Williams (12), WR Antonio Nunn (9), RB Javian Hawkins (7), G Ryan Neuzil (6), C Joe Sculthorpe (6), WR Austin Trammell (6)

Dolphins Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
G Robert Jones 89.6 22
T Liam Eichenberg 78.3 46
TE Hunter Long 76.8 20
Edge Jaelan Phillips 68.5 27
WR Jaylen Waddle 56.1 17

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): RB Gerrid Doaks (13), OT Larnel Coleman (10), CB Trill Williams (10), TE Carl Tucker (9), WR Kai Locksley (5), WR Khalil McClain (2)


TENNESSEE TITANS (34) AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3)

Titans Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
S Elijah Molden 90.3 48
WR Dez Fitzpatrick 76.1 28
T Dillon Radunz 70.3 62
LB Monty Rice 69.9 37
HB Mekhi Sargent 67.7 31
C Cole Banwart 64.9 41
Edge Rashad Weaver 59.3 56
CB Caleb Farley 50.4 16
G Chandon Herring 49.4 28
DI Naquan Jones 46.0 31

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): TE Miller Forristall (13), FB Tory Carter (7)

Buccaneers Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
LB Grant Stuard 77.1 28
Edge Elijah Ponder 75.8 23
Edge Joe Tryon 65.4 34
CB Chris Wilcox 53.1 28
WR Jaelon Darden 52.7 32
QB Kyle Trask 50.8 34
LB K.J. Britt 49.1 34
WR T.J. Simmons 44.7 21
S Lawrence White 29.6 28

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): None


DETROIT LIONS (20) AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (26)

Lions Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
CB AJ Parker 90.8 30
DI Levi Onwuzurike 90.5 17
CB Jerry Jacobs 68.0 20
LB Derrick Barnes 66.9 25
CB Ifeatu Melifonwu 63.2 21
TE Brock Wright 62.7 22
G Tommy Kraemer 49.8 50
T Penei Sewell 35.7 21

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): DI Alim McNeill (14), RB Dedrick Mills (13), RB Jermar Jefferson (11), WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (11), WR Javon McKinley (9), LB Tavante Beckett (5), WR Sage Surratt (3)

Steelers Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
TE Pat Freiermuth 93.1 17
Edge Quincy Roche 69.0 27
S Tre Norwood 66.8 33
HB Najee Harris 66.6 15
DI Isaiahh Loudermilk 62.5 28
Edge Jamar Watson 61.5 15
T Dan Moore Jr. 61.2 47
C Kendrick Green 58.3 48
CB Shakur Brown 32.1 21

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): S Donovan Stiner (7), S Lamont Wade (7), CB Mark Gilbert (7), WR Rico Bussey Jr. (1)


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (12) AT MINNESOTA VIKINGS (10)

Colts Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
LB Isaiah Kaufusi 89.3 23
Edge Kwity Paye 82.9 15
G Will Fries 81.7 52
S Shawn Davis 76.0 19
WR Michael Strachan 58.4 39
QB Sam Ehlinger 56.0 29
TE Kylen Granson 31.0 18

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): RB Deon Jackson (13), WR Tarik Black (12), WR Tyler Vaughns (11)

Vikings Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
G Wyatt Davis 76.2 22
HB Asim Rose 62.7 21
WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette 60.4 25
S Camryn Bynum 58.1 54
DI Jordon Scott 55.4 28
DI Zeandae Johnson 45.2 26
Edge Janarius Robinson 44.6 19
TE Zach Davidson 39 25
LB Chazz Surratt 38.4 46
QB Kellen Mond 38.1 22

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): WR Whop Philyor (14), LB Tuf Borland (8), WR Myron Mitchell (8), WR Warren Jackson (7), LB Christian Elliss (6), TE Shane Zylstra (5)


HOUSTON TEXANS (20) AT DALLAS COWBOYS (14)

Texans Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
LB Garret Wallow 79.0 26
QB Davis Mills 69.6 30
TE Brevin Jordan 67.5 17
T Carson Green 59.6 26
C Ryan McCollum 53.3 17
DI Roy Lopez 53.2 29

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): C Drake Jackson (7)

Cowboys Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
LB Micah Parsons 90.8 18
LB Jabril Cox 82.2 24
WR Osirus Mitchell 73.3 17
C Matt Farniok 67.4 34
HB JaQuan Hardy 61.7 24
CB Kelvin Joseph 61.6 26
HB Brenden Knox 60.1 17
DI Austin Faoliu 58.5 23
G Braylon Jones 54.2 18
WR Simi Fehoko 54.1 29
DI Quinton Bohanna 51 17
TE Nick Eubanks 48.9 43
CB Nahshon Wright 47.3 26
DI Osa Odighizuwa 31.8 21

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): WR Brandon Smith (14), S Tyler Coyle (10), S Israel Mukuamu (10), FB Nick Ralston (6), TE Artayvious Lynn (5)


LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (17) AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (16)

Raiders Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
CB Nate Hobbs 88.9 45
Edge Malcolm Koonce 77.4 45
T Alex Leatherwood 74.6 16
LB Max Richardson 68.6 39
HB Trey Ragas 67.8 24
HB BJ Emmons 65.5 15
S Trevon Moehrig 64.2 22
WR DJ Turner 62.8 32
S Tyree Gillespie 61.6 21
FB Garrett Groshek 61.3 19
TE Matt Bushman 54.5 16
WR Dillon Stoner 52.4 40
C Jimmy Morrissey 46.3 23
DI Darius Stills 42.2 33

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): None

Rams Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
Edge Chris Garrett 89.7 30
LB Ernest Jones 81.2 18
T Alaric Jackson 66.1 76
S Troy Warner 65.3 23
HB Jake Funk 64.8 24
WR Tutu Atwell 59.9 70
WR Landen Akers 59.0 65
Edge Earnest Brown IV 54.9 26
DI Bobby Brown III 53.5 19
CB Brontae Harris 52.2 39
TE Jacob Harris 49.2 25
G Jordan Meredith 43.5 36

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): WR Jeremiah Haydel (12), CB Robert Rochell (11), S Paris Ford (8)


DENVER BRONCOS (30) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (3)

Broncos Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
Edge Jonathon Cooper 91.3 29
CB Kary Vincent Jr. 74.6 24
S Caden Sterns 73.2 29
C Quinn Meinerz 69.3 38
S Jamar Johnson 68.0 36
TE Shaun Beyer 67.7 16
HB Javonte Williams 62.5 15
ED Marquiss Spencer 59.4 20
CB Patrick Surtain II 58.1 18
LB Barrington Wade 53.5 22
LB Curtis Robinson 52.3 36

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): WR Seth Williams (12), FB Adam Prentice (12), LB Baron Browning (10), OT Drew Himelan (4), WR Branden Mack (4), G Nolan Laufenberg (4)

Seahawks Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
T Jake Curhan 85.0 26
HB Josh Johnson 73.8 20
LB Lakiem Williams 73.7 22
WR Connor Wedington 69.1 28
WR Travis Toivonen 66.2 29
T Stone Forsythe 65.8 44
DI Jarrod Hewitt 65.8 23
CB Tre Brown 64.9 35
Edge Alex Tchangam 62.3 21
WR Cade Johnson 61.2 35
G Jared Hocker 60.7 26
S Aashari Crosswell 56.5 37
WR Darece Roberson 55.3 15
G Greg Eiland 49.3 20
G Pier-Olivier Lestage 46.9 20

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): LB Aaron Donkor (5)


NEW YORK GIANTS (13) AT CLEVELAND BROWNS (17)

Giants Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
TE Jake Hausmann 74.6 19
DI Raymond Johnson III 67.9 41
CB Rodarius Williams 64.4 53
HB Gary Brightwell 52.4 23

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): C Brett Heggie (11), G Jake Burton (7)

Browns Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
CB Greg Newsome II 70.7 26
CB Emmanuel Rugamba 68.8 21
Edge Romeo McKnight 66.6 26
HB Demetric Felton 60.8 16
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 48.6 15
DI Tommy Togiai 46.9 28
S Richard LeCounte 44.4 53
T James Hudson 31.9 58
DI Marvin Wilson 30.2 18

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): None


SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (15) AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (10)

49ers Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
LB Justin Hilliard 77.2 31
LB Elijah Sullivan 73.8 22
CB Deommodore Lenoir 72.6 53
S Talanoa Hufanga 70.3 36
T Jaylon Moore 55.9 68
CB Ambry Thomas 55.8 61
QB Trey Lance 55.6 34

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): None

Chargers Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
DI Forrest Merrill 73.1 20
G Brenden Jaimes 69.2 36
CB K.J. Sails 65.2 15
DI Willie Yarbary 63.2 24
HB Larry Rountree III 63.0 25
S Ben DeLuca 62.8 34
WR Josh Palmer 62.5 22
CB Mark Webb 61.6 34
LB Nick Niemann 59.5 44
TE Tre' McKitty 53.4 19
CB Asante Samuel Jr. 53.3 16
T Darius Harper 51.3 31
TE Hunter Kampmoyer 50.7 16
T Kyle Spalding 28.7 15

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): WR Michael Bandy (13), LB Amen Ogbonbemiga (3)


JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (21) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (23)

JAGUARS Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
ED Jordan Smith 85.8 25
TE Luke Farrell 73.3 24
S Andre Cisco 66.9 23
QB Trevor Lawrence 65.1 34
CB Tyson Campbell 53.1 36
OT Walker Little 50.4 49

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): DI Jay Tufele (13), WR Jalen Camp (10), DI Kenny Randall (9), CB Corey Straughter (9), CB Lorenzo Burns (7), RB Travis Etienne (3)

SAINTS Rookies
Player PFF Grade Off/Def Snaps
CB Paulson Adebo 72.4 37
LB Shaq Smith 61.2 28
S Bryce Thompson 61.2 27
DI Josiah Bronson 55.3 39
WR Kawaan Baker 51.5 36
CB Bryan Mills 45.6 43
S Deuce Wallace 38.7 33

Other rookies to play (w/ snap total): OT Landon Young (14), S Eric Burrell (6)

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