NFL Rookies: Top 15 highest-graded players through Week 17

Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater (70) in the second half against the New York Giants at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2022 NFL Draft on the horizon, it’s about time to put a wrap on what’s been one of the best rookie draft classes in NFL history.

Guys like Creed Humphrey, Rashawn Slater, Ja’Marr Chase, Jevon Holland and Micah Parsons aren’t simply looking like NFL All-Rookie team members, but possible NFL All-Pro candidates, as well.

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1. C Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs

PFF overall grade: 91.6

All positions created equally, the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award would be Humphrey’s to lose. Even after a ho-hum Week 17 against the Bengals, Humphrey is still the highest-graded center in the NFL. He’s earned only two single-game grades below 60.0 all season.

2. LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

PFF overall grade: 88.3

Parsons showed off the entire skill set on Sunday against the Cardinals. He generated a ridiculous seven pressures on only 25 pass-rushing snaps to bring his total to 67 for the season and allowed only eight yards on three targets in coverage.

Parsons is the obvious choice for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

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3. T Rashawn Slater, Los Angeles Chargers

PFF overall grade: 83.5

Slater's Week 17 game against the Broncos was the cherry on top of a dominant rookie season. He earned an absurd 94.8 overall grade for his work, making him the highest-graded player of Week 17, regardless of position.

4. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

PFF overall grade: 82.8

Once Ja’Marr Chase starts playing with some consistency, the rest of the NFL needs to be on the lookout. Chase broke the rookie receiving record for a season (1,429) and a game (266) on Sunday against the Chiefs. His combination of physicality and YAC ability is second to none in the NFL.

5. S Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins

PFF overall grade: 82.5

It’s already pretty clear that Holland should not have fallen to where he did in the second round. He’s been one of the best playmaking safeties in the league this season, with six pass breakups and two picks in his last 10 games.

6. TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

PFF overall grade: 82.2

Even though other rookies were creating bigger and brighter fireworks, Pitts became only the second tight end in NFL history to go over 1,000 yards in a season on Sunday. If he can haul in 59 more yards this weekend, he’ll have the rookie receiving record.

7. QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots

PFF overall grade: 81.6

In a battle between the No. 1 overall pick and the No. 15 overall pick, Jones outdueled Trevor Lawrence by a landslide. Jones' 85.5 passing grade was a much-needed bounce back after earning five straight sub-70.0 passing grades.

8. CB Nate Hobbs, Las Vegas Raiders

PFF overall grade: 79.8

It’s a shame that off-field issues now overshadow Hobbs' top-notch on-field performance. The Raiders slot corner was arrested on a DUI charge earlier this week after he was found asleep in his car on the exit ramp of a parking garage.

9. WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

PFF overall grade: 79.3

Waddle didn’t have the best day in his team's Week 17 loss to the Titans. With three receptions on the day, Waddle is now only two short of Anquan Boldin’s rookie record of 101.

10. LB Pete Werner, New Orleans Saints

PFF overall grade: 79.1

Werner has hit the ground running in run defense for the Saints. He has the highest run-defense grade of any linebacker in the NFL at 91.2, although he hasn’t been a full-time player all season with only 169 snaps in that regard.

11. RB Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

PFF overall grade: 77.8

After a lights-out season, Williams has had his worst two games the past two weeks. Over that span, he’s gained only 42 yards on 21 carries, with 45 of those coming after contact.

12. T Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions

PFF overall grade: 77.3

Sunday wasn’t Sewell’s best game of the season, but you can see the improvements he’s made in pass protection from early on until now. Even with a low run-blocking grade, Sewell still didn’t allow a single pressure against the Seahawks.

13. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

PFF overall grade: 76.7

St. Brown has flown under the radar in a loaded receiver class, but the Lions have a nice little chess piece in the fourth-rounder. He had a career day against the Seahawks over the weekend, with eight catches for 111 yards with a score through the air as well as two carries for 23 yards and a score on the ground. He now has at least eight catches in each of his last five games.

14. WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

PFF overall grade: 76.4

Smith’s volume stats will never compete with the other receivers in his class, given the offense he plays in, but he’s still fairly clearly the Eagles' No. 1 receiver. He now needs 125 yards in Week 18 to go over 1,000 on the year.

15. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Cleveland Browns

PFF overall grade: 75.4

While tackling has been an issue for Owusu-Koramoah of late, with eight misses in his last three games, the rookie was still flying all over the field on Monday night. He allowed only one catch for 12 yards all game.


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