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NFL Rookies: Top 15 highest-graded players through Week 1

Sep 12, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz (10) runs against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 rookie class was placed firmly behind the eight ball because of the lack of NFL preseason, so it was nice to have a Week 1 where a good deal of rookies looked as though they belonged.

These are the 15 highest-graded first-year stars who played more than 20 snaps this past weekend.


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1. S Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins82.5

Holland still isn't technically a starter, but he did play 24 snaps for the Dolphins in Week 1. His grade is almost solely due to what could have been a game-changing forced fumble on Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith.

Outside of that, he wasn’t targeted and secured his only other tackle attempt.

2. WR Anthony Schwartz, Cleveland Browns82.2

Schwartz provided the much-needed speed element the Browns offense was missing without Odell Beckham Jr. While he was unable to haul in a crucial third-down late in the game, Schwartz still caught three of his five targets for 69 yards.

His ball skills were a work in progress at Auburn, and that issue will likely still rear its head at times with the Browns. But Schwartz will be well worth his third-round selection if he can generate one big play a game and maintain his 24.4-yard average depth of target.

3. QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots78.3

After an Aaron Brooks-esque blunder to start the game, Jones settled in better than any other rookie quarterback in Week 1. He finished with an adjusted completion percentage of 83.3%, the sixth-best of any quarterback this past week. The rookie wasn’t simply dinking and dunking, either. He registered four big-time throws against the Dolphins defense.

Considering the competition he was facing, Jones had one heck of an encouraging start, even if it didn’t result in a win.

4. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals77.9

Chase was the butt of jokes everywhere this preseason. Between four straight drops and a misconstrued answer about the NFL football being more difficult to catch than the college one, expectations for Chase were decidedly low out the gate.

Luckily, both for him and Bengals faithful, none of what happened in preseason mattered a lick. Chase looked every bit the No. 5 overall pick and WR1 he was billed as coming out. He not only brought the go-ball back into Joe Burrow’s arsenal, but he also made multiple plays underneath.

Chase finished with five catches on seven targets for 101 yards and a score.

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