NFL News & Analysis

Top 15 NFL rookies: Week 4

New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones (13) tries to intercept an overthrown pass to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs (87) during their football game Sunday, October 2, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apc Packvspatriots 1002221895djp

• CB Jack Jones comes in at No. 1: The New England Patriots cornerback returned an interception for a touchdown and forced a fumble in Week 4.

• OT Ikem Ekwonu rebounds: The Carolina Panthers tackle earned a 74.9 overall grade after allowing just one pressure across 40 pass-blocking snaps.

• LB Malcolm Rodriguez continues to star: The Detroit Lions linebacker earned his third 70.0-plus overall game grade through four weeks of NFL action.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins

There are a lot of new names on the list after Week 4, with more rookies being thrust into playing time. Numerous players made their very first appearance on this weekly top 15, including a brand new name taking the top spot in his first career start.

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15. RB Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (71.8)

White makes this for what he did as a receiver, not a runner (or a returner). He caught all five of his targets for 50 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. He was one of the best pure receiving backs in the class, and it would be a massive value add to the Bucs' offense to get him up to speed as a weekly impact contributor.

14. WR Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders (72.1)

He may not be putting up the gaudy numbers of others in the rookie class, but Dotson has been consistently producing every week. He hauled in his fourth touchdown pass of the season against the Dallas Cowboys and caught three of his four targets for 43 yards.

13. TE Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants (73.0)

Bellinger continues to be a steady presence in the passing game. He caught all three of his targets for 23 yards against the Chicago Bears. He’s now hauled in eight of his nine targets for 79 yards with a score on the year. 

12. OT Ikem Ekwonu, Carolina Panthers (74.9)

After taking his lumps the first three weeks of the season, Ekwonu showed the promise that made him the No. 6 overall pick. He allowed only one pressure on 40 pass-blocking snaps against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. He’s now seen his pressure total decrease every week of the season so far.

11. S Bryan Cook, Kansas City Chiefs (76.4)

After getting hurt early on last week, Cook came back with a vengeance. He allowed two catches on three targets for 13 yards, making a key pass breakup in the end zone. His 47 snaps were more than double his previous career high of 22.

10. RB Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans (76.8)

Pierce is the first back from the 2022 class to reach certified bell-cow status. He took all 14 of the Texans' handoffs in Week 4 and picked up 131 yards along with a score. One hundred of those yards came after contact, and Pierce added six broken tackles. He now ranks ninth in the NFL in rushing yards (314).

9. WR Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints (76.8)

Even without Jameis Winston heaving it up to Olave for grabs, the rookie still makes the list. He caught four of seven targets for 67 yards and his first career score. And that was all despite him being on the field for just 25 pass plays. He now ranks eighth in the NFL in receiving yards (335).

8. RG Dylan Parham, Las Vegas Raiders (77.2)

Four weeks in, and the data is clear: Parham looks much more comfortable at right guard than center. He earned an 82.3 overall grade in Week 1 and a 77.2 mark this past week at right guard. In Weeks 2 and 3, he earned overall grades of 53.2 and 56.7, respectively, at center. It makes sense, given that Parham played right guard last season at Memphis, and will be something to monitor if he’s jostled around going forward.

7. RB Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons (77.4)

Allgeier has made it so that Cordarrelle Patterson doesn’t have to shoulder a massive workload in the Falcons' offense. The rookie is perfect for their wide-zone scheme, which he ran often at BYU. Allgeier finished with 84 yards on 10 carries with two broken tackles in a win over the Cleveland Browns.

6. OT Jamaree Salyer, Los Angeles Chargers (78.6)

This was nothing short of a “wow” performance from Salyer. While the Chargers didn’t leave him on an island the same way they did with the now-injured Rashawn Slater, Salyer had his fair share of one-on-ones in pass protection. And he didn’t allow a single pressure on 41 such snaps. His 90.4 pass-blocking grade was the highest of any offensive lineman in Week 4. The Chargers may have just found their fill-in left tackle. 

5. DI Prince Emili, Buffalo Bills (79.0)

For an undrafted free agent to see 20 snaps along this loaded Bills defensive line is a story in its own right. On the field, it was easy to see why. Emili has some pop behind his long mitts and was controlling Ravens linemen in the run game with regularity. He even held up to double teams well, which is rare for a rookie. The former Penn defensive lineman is worth keeping an eye on.

4. EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, New York Jets (80.0)

This comes with the small caveat that Johnson’s performance came on limited snaps (22), but the grade is still formulated to show rate of play rather than a sum. Johnson collected a sack and a run stop against the Steelers in what was his best all-around outing of the season. 

3. LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Detroit Lions (83.8)

Rodriguez was once again one of the few Lions defenders to show up on Sunday. He racked up 10 tackles without a miss, including three stops, while allowing only five yards in coverage all day. The performance is even more impressive when you consider his grade doesn’t include his forced fumble in punt coverage. 

2. WR George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers (87.5)

The preseason darling is finally making good on that promise, posting six catches on eight targets for 102 yards. Some even came with the typical George Pickens flare.

The good news going forward is that Kenny Pickett already showed more willingness to take chances Pickens way than Mitchell Trubisky ever did. This may only be the beginning for Steelers faithful. 

1. CB Jack Jones, New England Patriots (93.5)

Do you think Jones has a knack for making plays? He joined the small list of players to have done the almost unthinkable: take an interception from future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers to the end zone. He also went out and forced a fumble on Romeo Doubs that he also recovered. These weren’t “gimmes,” either. This was a cornerback making high-level football plays, ones you rarely see from a rookie. He finished the day having allowed five catches on seven targets for 60 yards.


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