NFL News & Analysis

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

Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) reacts after a sack in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

There is a clear Tier 1 in this draft class, and it’s the top four guys on this list — they have been healthy, consistent and already among the best at their respective positions in the NFL.

That doesn’t mean there haven’t been guys starting to play at a high level of late, but the very best players in this rookie class have delivered everything NFL teams could have hoped for.

Here are PFF's highest-graded rookies through NFL Week 13.

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1. C Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs

PFF overall grade: 91.2

As good as Humphrey has been, he’s been getting even better. His 79.4 grade against the Broncos was his third-highest of the season, and he’s allowed only two pressures over his last four games.

2. QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots

PFF overall grade: 83.9

Monday Night Football was not quite Mac Jones weather. He attempted just three passes and completed all of them. The absurd thing was the Patriots still won. While critics will use the supporting cast and situation to diminish Jones’ play this season, he’s still been hyper-accurate and efficient.

3. LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

PFF overall grade: 82.6

Off-ball or on the edge, it doesn’t matter — Parsons is a playmaker. Last Thursday night, the Penn State product played mostly linebacker and still racked up five pressures on 12 pass-rushing snaps and didn’t allow a catch on two targets.

4. T Rashawn Slater, Los Angeles Chargers

PFF overall grade: 82.5

Consistency has arguably been the most impressive thing about Slater’s rookie season. Rookie offensive tackles are almost guaranteed to have games where they have their “welcome to the NFL moment,” but that hasn’t happened with Slater. His lowest single-game grade is 58.4, and that’s his only one below 64.0.

5. S Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins

PFF overall grade: 81.6

Another game, another pass breakup for Holland. That now gives him five straight games with either a pick or a pass breakup. His seven combined picks and pass breakups this season rank eighth among all safeties in the NFL.

6. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Cleveland Browns

PFF overall grade: 80.8

For all those questioning how a 215-pound linebacker would transition to the NFL, JOK has answered the doubters. In fact, he leads all linebackers in run-stop percentage this season at 14.6%. The Browns are a different defense when JOK is healthy.

7. WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

PFF overall grade: 78.7

And just like that, Waddle is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in Miami. He’s now caught 18 of his 21 targets for 227 yards with a touchdown the past two weeks. The crazy thing is, Miami isn’t even taking advantage of his elite deep speed and Waddle is still dominating.

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8. CB Nate Hobbs, Las Vegas Raiders

PFF overall grade: 78.1

Hobbs has helped immensely with changing the personality of the Raiders defense. They now play a far more physical game than they have in the past, and Hobbs is a reason why. He’s not only racked up stops in coverage, but he’s also earned an 80.9 grade against the run.

9. TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

PFF overall grade: 76.4

It’s been a dry spell here from Pitts, but the positives still far outweigh the negatives on the season. His 709 yards this season rank third among all tight ends in the league.

10. Edge Kwity Paye, Indianapolis Colts

PFF overall grade: 76.2

After a lights-out three-game stretch, Paye has had back-to-back rough outings. He’s managed only one pressure the past two games after piling up 17 in the previous three.

11. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

PFF overall grade: 76.0

Even though there’s very little doubt that Chase is already an elite separator and big-play threat, it’s time to talk about how inconsistent he’s been. His eighth drop of the season — third-most among receivers — cost them big time on Sunday, as the perfectly placed ball that could have been a 79-yard score ended up as a Joe Burrow interception.

12. G Trey Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

PFF overall grade: 76.0

One of only two players taken on Day 3 to make this list, Smith is making every team in the league regret letting him fall so far. A whopping 226 players were taken before the Chiefs guard, but now he’s the highest-graded rookie guard in the NFL. He’s already a terror in the run game with the eighth-highest run-blocking grade of any guard in the league.

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13. WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

PFF overall grade: 75.7

There’s no doubt that Smith can get open, but he still can’t seem to get a heavy target share in that offense. He’s seen 10 targets in a game only once this season and all of four targets in each of his last two games.

14. T Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions

PFF overall grade: 75.6

Sewell has been a completely changed man of late, and the Lions' offense is the beneficiary. Since Week 6, Sewell has been the second-highest-graded offensive tackle in the entire NFL — and he’s only 21 years old.

15. RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

PFF overall grade: 73.9

The lone running back represented on this list and PFF’s RB1 from the 2021 class. He got his first shot to be the top dog in Denver with Melvin Gordon II out Sunday and didn’t disappoint. He went for 102 yards on 23 carries, with 83 coming after contact. Williams also hauled in six catches for 76 yards with a score. Despite splitting time with Gordon, Williams still ranks second in broken tackles among running backs this season.

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