The offensive weapons this draft class was billed for are finally starting to show out.
Of the 15 players below, four are receivers/tight ends who were drafted within the first 50 picks. And that doesn’t even include the first-round Alabama duo of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, who have both seen their fair share of quarterback struggles.
Here are PFF's highest-graded rookies through NFL Week 5.
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PFF overall grade: 87.1
Humphrey quickly went from “he looks good for a rookie” to “he looks good for an NFL player, period” over the past couple of weeks. The former Oklahoma star is now the highest-graded center in the league and has allowed only two pressures on 240 pass-blocking snaps all season.
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PFF overall grade: 85.3
JOK’s play speed is still breathtaking. His ability to close to ball carriers with no fear is special for a linebacker this early on. He finally took over as the full-time starter this past week against the Chargers and allowed only two catches on two targets for 11 yards.
once #28 JOK can track the ball he is shot straight out of a cannon pic.twitter.com/DN0ZyvtFO1
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) October 11, 2021
PFF overall grade: 80.1
Gainwell has certainly lived up to his pre-draft billing as the best receiving back in this rookie class. He’s caught 14-of-18 targets for 122 yards through five games. He’s even been flexed wide or in the slot on 16 of his 63 pass routes.
Kenneth Gainwell is currently 10th amongst all rookies in all-purpose yards.
149 players were drafted ahead of him. pic.twitter.com/R2DYX9LznP
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 7, 2021
4. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
PFF overall grade: 79.9
While the drop issues from preseason haven’t completely subsided — Chase has two drops on 25 catchable targets — no one in the Bengals organization cares about them because of how much of a playmaker he’s been.
Chase currently sits seventh in the NFL with 456 receiving yards, while his five touchdowns rank second. He’s been just what the doctor ordered for Joe Burrow’s deep ball, too, as Chase leads the NFL with six deep receptions.
Every Ja’Marr Chase preseason tweet should be deleted if not done so already. He’s going OFF.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 10, 2021
5. WR Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals
PFF overall grade: 79.1
Moore continues to make jaw-dropping plays on a weekly basis. This week's installment wasn't of the after-the-catch variety that we’re used to, either.
This catch by Rondale Moore ????
— ESPN (@espn) October 10, 2021
Of course, Moore is still a monster with the ball in his hands. He has already broken nine tackles on 21 catches this year — the second-most forced missed tackles of any receiver in the NFL.
PFF overall grade: 77.0
Cosmi continues to be a bright spot for one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. After allowing four pressures to Joey Bosa in Week 1, Cosmi has allowed only five pressures since.
Watch the rookie Cosmi here. Slaps the defenders arm down which causes his to lose leverage and balance, then he just buried him! pic.twitter.com/Qyc6lL8d0j
— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) October 12, 2021
Unfortunately, he left Sunday’s game against the Saints with an ankle injury that could hamper his hot start.
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7. LB Pete Werner, New Orleans Saints
PFF overall grade: 76.5
Werner didn’t see the field until Week 3 but has been making up for lost time ever since. He’s racked up 10 stops over the past two weeks and only allowed 35 yards on 12 targets all season. He’s also started his career with a ridiculous 24 tackles without a single miss.
8. TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
PFF overall grade: 76.3
If you slept in on Sunday morning, you missed the Kyle Pitts show we knew and loved at Florida. The star tight end caught 9-of-10 targets for 119 yards with a score in the Falcons' win over the Jets in London. He’s now on pace to go for 1,047 yards as a rookie, which would put him right in the range of Mike Ditka’s rookie tight end record of 1,076.
THIS CATCH ????
Kyle Pitts is showing out!
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 10, 2021
PFF overall grade: 76.1
There may be no more impactful rookie for any team in the NFL this season. The Chargers' ability to consistently leave Slater on an island without having to worry about him has been invaluable. He’s taken his run blocking to another level of late, as well, with three straight games over 80.0 in that regard.
— Duke Manyweather (@BigDuke50) October 11, 2021
10. CB Nate Hobbs, Las Vegas Raiders
PFF overall grade: 75.8
The Raiders slot cornerback has rarely been caught out of place so far. While he’s allowed 16 catches on 19 targets, that’s often par for the course in the slot against screens and dump-offs. It’s the fact that those 19 targets have resulted in only 113 yards and seven first downs that’s impressive.
11. WR Kadarius Toney, New York Giants
PFF overall grade: 74.2
There’s no more electric receiver in football right now. Whether it’s with the ball in his hands or simply running what would be impossible routes for mere mortals to replicate, Toney does things no one else can.
Throw Kadarius Toney the football and good things happen pic.twitter.com/SgrsmKfhpc
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 11, 2021
Over the past two weeks, he’s caught 16-of-20 targets for 267 yards with eight broken tackles. This is a truly sensational breakout for the rookie.
12. QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots
PFF overall grade: 73.5
Jones has shown the best accuracy of any rookie quarterback, completing 71.1% of his pass attempts so far. He’s shown impressive command of the Patriots' offense and has been able to keep them on schedule consistently. While we still need to see more from him downfield, it’s a job well done so far for the rookie.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) October 10, 2021
13. G Trey Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
PFF overall grade: 73.4
The fact that Smith — a sixth-rounder — ranks ahead of the top-15 pick at guard who’s next on this list should tell you everything about the kind of steal Kansas City got. He’s allowed multiple pressures in only one game this season and earned a 76.3 run-blocking grade.
14. G Alijah Vera-Tucker, New York Jets
PFF overall grade: 73.1
After a slow start, Vera-Tucker turned it on against the Falcons this past week. He earned a 92.4 overall grade in what was one of the best guard performances we’ve seen all season. After allowing 12 pressures through the first three games, AVT hasn’t allowed any the past two weeks.
15. EDGE Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
PFF overall grade: 72.8
Parsons has registered a ridiculous 21 pressures on 104 pass-rushing snaps so far. That’s the third-highest pass-rushing win rate of any player in the NFL. While he’s been exposed a bit in coverage — he's earned a 44.0 grade in that regard — his ability to affect the passer far outweighs that.
That Micah Parsons ???????????? vs Carolina Panthers pic.twitter.com/96wnVHKuEn
— Law Thomas (@LawsNation) October 4, 2021