NFL News & Analysis

Top 15 NFL rookies: Week 2

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) breaks up a pass intended for Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) during first quarter action. The Jaguars went into the first half with a 17 to 0 lead over the Colts. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank field in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, September 18, 2022. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union] Jki 091822 Bs Jaguars Vs C 21

Jacksonville Jaguars LB Devin Lloyd: The first-rounder finished as PFF's highest-graded rookie in Week 2 after a performance during which he was all over the field making plays.

First-round WRs Reign Supreme: Garrett Wilson, Treylon Burks and Drake London each cracked the top five for highest-graded Week 2 rookies.

Tyler Smith Filling in Admirably: The first-rounder has slotted in at left tackle with Tyron Smith and Jason Peters out, and he's more than held his own.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins

After a slow start for many NFL rookies in Week 1, we saw a number of breakout performers in Week 2. That’s especially true in the linebacker group. Let’s take a look at the 15 highest-graded rookies from Week 2.

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15. DI Kurt Hinish, Houston Texans (69.6)

The Texans could use all the reasons for hope they can get. Hinish getting snaps as an undrafted free agent was impressive to begin with, but it didn’t stop there for the rookie. He notched two hurries and a run stop on 26 defensive stops. 

14. RB Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans (69.8)

Pierce was maximizing every opportunity he got against the Broncos. There weren't many rushing holes, but he still picked up 69 yards on 15 attempts to go along with six broken tackles. Of his 4.6 yards per carry, 3.7 came after contact.

13. TE Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens (70.9)

After a lights-out preseason, Likely had a rough week 1 performance that included a drop. He bounced back in a big way against the Dolphins. The rookie hauled in four of his five targets for 43 yards.

12. CB Kaiir Elam, Buffalo Bills (71.3)

Elam continues to be a value add as a rookie for the Bills' defense. He allowed two catches on three targets for just 17 yards against the Titans. Through two games, Elam has now surrendered a grand total of 40 yards into his coverage.

11. LT Tyler Smith, Dallas Cowboys (73.2)

Smith wasn’t supposed to be this good this early. He was far from perfect and had some serious lapses on tape, but boy, when he puts his technique together is it impressive. He’s already consistently taking defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage. Smith finished with only one pressure allowed on 36 pass-blocking snaps.

10. CB Martin Emerson, Cleveland Browns (72.8)

Emerson may have been put on the highlight reel of a certain Jets receiver ahead of him on this list, but that wasn’t indicative of his day overall. The third-round pick ultimately allowed only 27 yards on seven targets. That’s less than four yards per target for the rookie. 

9. CB Samuel Womack, San Francisco 49ers (73.0)

Womack impressed out of the slot in cleanup duty over the weekend. He picked up where he left off in the preseason by not allowing a single first down on any of his five targets. He’s now given up only 29 yards on 36 coverage snaps this season.

8. LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Detroit Lions (74.2)

Rodriguez isn’t simply standing out for a rookie; he’s standing out among all starting linebackers. Through two weeks, his 76.7 overall grade ranks 10th among starting linebackers. Rodriguez racked up four more defensive stops against the Commanders in Week 2.

7. EDGE Boye Mafe, Seattle Seahawks (75.4)

Mafe was one of the few on the Seahawks' defense who showed up against the 49ers over the weekend. He made three stops in the run game and added a sack. The second-rounder's athleticism was on full display as he worked up and down the line on wide runs with ease.

6. LB Quay Walker, Green Bay Packers (76.2)

Walker’s elite athletic toolbox was on full display on Sunday night. He made multiple plays in coverage, allowing two catches on three targets for just 21 yards on the day. On the season, Walker has missed only one tackle on 16 attempts. 

5. CB Damarri Mathis, Denver Broncos (77.9)

Mathis was thrust into the first action of his NFL career once Patrick Surtain II went down with an injury, and the rookie responded. Mathis finished with four defensive stops and allowed three catches on six targets for 37 yards on the day. 

4. WR Garrett Wilson, New York Jets (78.9)

Wilson is quickly becoming the Jets' No. 1 receiver. He saw 14 targets against the Browns, hauling in eight of them for 102 yards and a score. The scary thing is that his stats should have been even better had Joe Flacco not missed him badly on a few throws. You can very clearly see that Wilson has “it.”

3. WR Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans (80.3)

Burks continues to be only a part-time player, as he was on the field for only 25 of the Titans' 56 offensive snaps. However, he made the most of his opportunities. He was targeted six times and hauled in four of them for 47 yards, including three first downs.

2. WR Drake London, Atlanta Falcons (82.0)

London already looks like a grown man on an NFL field. He finished with eight catches on 11 targets for 86 yards and his first career score. He also hauled in his only contested catch opportunity and broke two tackles after the catch. Maybe most telling is that he’s already usurped Kyle Pitts as the go-to guy in the offense, with 18 targets through two weeks.

1. LB Devin Lloyd, Jacksonville Jaguars (87.1)

From the backfields to the flats to downfield, Lloyd was everywhere for the Jaguars' defense on Sunday. He fueled the kind of defensive performance that we haven’t seen from Jacksonville in a while. Lloyd allowed only three catches on five targets for 18 yards with a pick and two pass breakups. 

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