NFL News & Analysis

Top 15 NFL rookies: Week 6

Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson (19) throws a pass against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

• QB Skylar Thompson‘s Week 6 lasted only 24 snaps before a thumb injury sent him to the locker room, but he went 7-of-13 for 89 yards with two drops, and his best play of the day was called back because of a penalty.

• QB Bailey Zappe quite clearly does not look like a rookie. He went 7-of-8 for 165 yards off play action to lead all players at the position.

• CB Sauce Gardner is playing like a seasoned vet only six games into his NFL career. On six targets against the Packers, he allowed only one catch for eight yards with three pass breakups.

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The 2022 NFL Draft class is revving up, and you can see that in the grades, as five different rookies earned PFF grades of 80.0 or higher in Week 6.

Here are the guys who made their mark over the weekend.

15. CB Martin Emerson, Cleveland Browns (71.7)

Emerson has arguably been the Browns' best corner this season, and he showed that in his first career start against the Patriots. While he still allowed five catches from eight targets for 81 yards, the first-year corner also broke up two passes. 

14. S Jaquan Brisker, Chicago Bears  (72.5)

Brisker makes his second appearance on this list because of his terrific all-around performance last Thursday night. His single target in coverage fell incomplete, he didn’t miss one of his five tackle attempts, and he collected the second sack of his career.

13. RB Breece Hall, New York Jets (72.9)

The keys to the Jets offense have officially been handed to the rookie running back, and he’s not disappointing. He broke five tackles for a second straight game and picked up 116 yards on 20 carries with a score.

12. WR Drake London, Atlanta Falcons (73.1)

London’s volume stats will never tell the whole story when the Falcons offense attempted just 14 passes over the entire game. London saw four of those targets, hauling in three of them for 40 yards. 

11. QB Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots (73.2)

Zappe quite clearly does not look like a rookie. He went 24-of-34 for 309 yards and two scores against a talented Browns secondary. He was especially effective off play action, as he went 7-of-8 for 165 yards off a run fake to lead all players at the position.

10. CB Jack Jones, New England Patriots (75.5)

Jones continues to live around where the football is being thrown. He notched his third straight game with a play on the ball, adding a pass breakup against the Browns in Week 6. He finished the game with only two catches allowed for 27 yards on six targets.

9. CB Kaiir Elam, Buffalo Bills  (75.5)

It wasn’t the most “lockdown” game we’ve seen from Elam in the early going of this season, but he still made a game-changing play when he stole the ball away from Marquez Valdes-Scantling with one hand to mark his second straight game with an interception. 

8. TE Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants (76.0)

Bellinger continues to be everything the Giants could have hoped for from a fourth-round tight end. He set a career-high with five receptions against Baltimore for 38 yards and a score. For the season, he has caught 15 of his 16 targets for 139 yards with two touchdowns.

7. CB Kyler Gordon, Chicago Bears (77.8)

What a bounce-back game for Gordon after he’s been picked on repeatedly during the first five weeks of the season. He’d allowed 397 yards the first five weeks, but Bryant allowed just three catches from four targets for 13 yards with a pass-breakup in Week 6. 

6. CB Coby Bryant, Seattle Seahawks (79.3)

Bryant got picked on early this season, but he’s been stingy out of the slot for the past two weeks. Against the Cardinals, he allowed only three catches from seven targets for -1 yard — and he added a pass breakup. No, that’s not a typo. Bryant’s targets resulted in negative yardage on the day. 

5. CB Sauce Gardner, New York Jets (80.0)

Gardner is the single biggest storyline in the rookie class, as he’s playing like a seasoned vet only six games into his NFL career. On six targets against the Packers, Sauce allowed only one catch for eight yards with three pass breakups. His seven pass breakups on the season now lead the NFL. 

4. EDGE Arnold Ebiketie, Atlanta Falcons (81.2)

After a slow start to the season, Ebiketie had himself a breakout performance in a win over the 49ers. After only nine pressures in his first five games, he racked up five over the weekend, including two QB hits. 

3. CB Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks (83.6)

Woolen has been a revelation. He’s legitimately dominating NFL competition better than he ever did college competition. Against the Cardinals, Woolen hauled in an interception for his fourth straight game, and he’s now tied for the NFL lead with those four picks.  

2. TE Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys (85.3)

Cooper Rush could not stop throwing the ball Ferguson’s way. The rookie tight end was on the field for all of 15 receiving snaps yet still saw six targets, hauling in four of them for 40 yards and his first career score. With Dalton Schultz out, Ferguson has picked up the slack in the offense. 

1. QB Skylar Thompson, Miami Dolphins 89.3

Thompson continues to be a revelation for a seventh-round rookie quarterback. Unfortunately, it lasted only 24 snaps this week before a thumb injury sent him to the locker room. His stat line may not have looked great — 7-of-13 for 89 yards — but if you factor in two drops and his best play of the day getting called back, the stat line looks a lot different from the performance. 

Thompson getting the nod over Teddy Bridgewater in the first place should tell you how the coaching staff in Miami feels about the rookie. 


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