This week, we are checking back in on the rookies who are really starting to find their feet at the NFL level.
Obviously, PFF overall grade is a valuable tool when it comes to evaluating established players, but oftentimes the learning curve can be steep for rookies in-season. And that means they may be vastly different players now than they were early on in the year, which makes their overall grade not 100% indicative of who they are.
Let’s look at the first-year players who have started to shine over the past few weeks.
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Highest Graded Rookies Since Week 12
1. WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins: 88.9
2. CB Tyson Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars: 85.9
3. LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys: 84.7
4. C Creed Humphrey, Kansas City Chiefs: 83.8
5. LT Christian Darrisaw, Minnesota Vikings: 82.9
6. CB Thomas Graham Jr., Chicago Bears: 82.0
7. RT Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions: 81.4
8. LB Nick Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs: 81.2
9. S Jevon Holland, Miami Dolphins: 80.8
10. TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons: 79.6
Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell jumps off the page with the second-highest PFF grade over the last five weeks. Since Week 12, he’s allowed only 12 receptions on 23 targets for 101 yards, recording two picks and three pass breakups in the process. That stretch of play is already more impressive than anything former top-10 pick C.J. Henderson offered last season.
On the flip side of the ball, Christian Darrisaw has planted his flag firmly as a legit starter at left tackle for the Vikings. Since Week 12, he’s allowed only four pressures on 101 pass-blocking snaps — much-needed competency for an offensive line that’s been a problem in recent years.
The final player who deserves some love for turning things around is linebacker Nick Bolton, who has fueled the Chiefs' nearly improbable turnaround from defensive doormat to dominant outfit. You won’t find many linebackers quicker to diagnose than Bolton. While that showed in the run game early on, it’s been evident in coverage down the stretch, as well. He’s allowed only seven of nine targets to be completed for 45 yards, with two pass breakups in his last four games.
Rookie Grades and Snaps
San Francisco 49ers (17) at Tennessee Titans (20)
Cleveland Browns (22) at Green Bay Packers (24)
Indianapolis Colts (22) at Arizona Cardinals (16)
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