NFL Rookies: Top 15 highest-graded players in Week 13

Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland (26) and safety Malik Hooker (28) celebrate an interception against the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The familiar names are nowhere to be found this week, as nine different rookies make their very first appearance on this list after what was a big breakout week for many.

15. G Cordell Volson, Cincinnati Bengals (76.6)

Volson had his highest-graded game of the season on Sunday in a massive win over the Chiefs. He didn’t allow a single pressure on 42 pass-blocking snaps and finished with a 77.2 run-blocking grade.

14. LB Damone Clark, Dallas Cowboys (76.7)

As if the Cowboys needed more speed in their front seven, Clark has come in and been a rangey force. Against the Colts, he allowed only two catches from three targets for 17 yards.

13. T Braxton Jones, Chicago Bears (78.3)

Jones looks nothing short of the Bears' long-term starter at left tackle at this point. After allowing only one pressure against the Packers, Jones has now allowed only five pressures over his previous four games.

12. HB Zonovan Knight, New York Jets (78.7)

When Breece Hall is back next season, the Jets will have an embarrassment of riches at the running back position. Knight makes the list for the second straight week, as he’s been stellar in his only two games. He racked up 90 yards on 15 carries with four broken tackles this past week.

11. EDGE Alex Wright, Cleveland Browns (78.0)

Wright has been a non-factor for much of his rookie season, but that changed against the Texans. He was in on five tackles in the run game and added a batted pass for good measure. His five batted passes on the season are tied for the most in the NFL.

10. HB Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders (79.4)

Robinson’s emergence has taken a back seat to QB Taylor Heinicke’s, but the rookie has been a similar upgrade. He’s been exceptional at keeping the offense on schedule and tallied 96 yards on 21 carries against the Giants.

9. WR Drake London, Atlanta Falcons (80.2)

After a couple of down weeks, London racked up a career-high 95 yards against the Steelers over the weekend. His target share was out of this world, as he saw 12 passes from Marcus Mariota on only 22 routes.

8. LB Jack Sanborn, Chicago Bears (80.9)

How Sanborn went undrafted is anyone’s guess because he already looks like a veteran with his play over the past five weeks. Against the Packers, he led all players with 14 tackles — including five stops — and didn’t have a single miss on the day.

7. WR Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts (81.5)

Pierce continues to be a big-play threat for the Colts. The second-rounder caught four of his eight targets for 86 yards and a score against the Cowboys on Sunday night. He’s been a tad feast-or-famine this season but looks like a perfect complementary deep threat.

6. WR Garrett Wilson, New York Jets (81.6)

Wilson will be going over the 1,000-yard mark here shortly, as he’s been nothing short of electric as a rookie. Against the Vikings, he caught eight passes for 162 yards with three broken tackles. He could have gone well over 200 were it not for Mike White barely overthrowing him a double-move where the rookie cooked CB Patrick Peterson.

5. TE Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos (83.8)

Dulcich has quite comfortably been the best rookie receiving tight end this year, and Sunday was his best game as a pro. He hauled in six of his seven targets for 85 yards on only 21 routes.  He leads all rookie tight ends with 319 yards this season despite not playing until Week 6.

4. S Rodney Thomas II, Indianapolis Colts (84.7)

Seventh-rounders from Yale aren’t supposed to be making the kind of impact Thomas has this season on 468 snaps. Against the Cowboys, he didn’t allow a catch on either of his two targets for an 89.6 coverage grade.

3. S Reed Blankenship, Philadelphia Eagles (85.9)

The Eagles look like they may have found something in the UDFA from Middle Tennessee State. After picking off Aaron Rodgers last week, Blankenship had a pass breakup and two stops this week. His four targets netted the Titans offense all of 10 yards in the win.

2. S Jalen Pitre, Houston Texans (88.9)

Pitre had quite easily his best performance of the season. The second-rounder set a career-high with 14 tackles, and he also stepped in front of a Deshaun Watson pass in the end zone for an interception. Maybe more importantly, with his missed tackle issues on the season, Pitre only whiffed on one of his tackle attempts against the Browns.

1. CB DaRon Bland, Dallas Cowboys 94.3

What a day for the fifth-rounder from Fresno State. Bland was targeted five times and allowed only two catches for 9 yards. He fueled the Cowboys' outlandish 33-point fourth quarter with two picks to put them into scoring position, as well. Not bad for a player making only his third start of the season.


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