Now that we're one-third of the way through the 2021 NFL season, any rookie “jitters” should be in the past. At this point, rookie mistakes are worrisome — not expected. As such, here’s what we saw from this rookie class in Week 6.
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Offense Taking Over
The first seven picks in the 2021 NFL Draft were all offensive players, and 19 of the 32 first-rounders were on that side of the ball. So far, it appears NFL teams knew what they were doing. Of the 15 highest-graded rookies in the NFL, only two are defenders. And only four full-time starters on defense have earned PFF grades over 70.0. Impact defenders are few and far between early on for this draft class.
QB Class Taking Shape
The transitional period is over for the first-round quarterbacks, and a couple of them ceased to look like rookies in Week 6. Both Trevor Lawrence (79.4 overall grade) and Mac Jones (92.5) put together the highest-graded games of their NFL careers over the weekend. Lawrence did so while being under pressure on a ridiculous 43.2% of his dropbacks in a winning effort against the Miami Dolphins. Jones wasn’t pressured quite as often but was superb when he did have defenders bearing down on him. He went 5-of-6 for 63 yards in those situations en route to a 93.1 grade.
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Minnesota Finally Starts a Rookie
With a rookie class that had played the fewest snaps of any team's group across the first five weeks of the season, the Minnesota Vikings finally got first-round left tackle Christian Darrisaw back healthy. His presence was a gift for quarterback Kirk Cousins in a tight overtime victory against the Panthers. On 53 pass-blocking snaps, Darrisaw allowed only one pressure in a difficult matchup with Brian Burns and Haason Reddick.