The offensive domination of the 2021 NFL rookie class continues. Those who got off to hot starts were generally offensive players, and they have progressed the most to this point as well. Let’s take a look at some standouts ahead of Week 9.
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Kansas City Chiefs‘ Interior Combo
The Chiefs' offensive line has been much maligned in its overhaul, but it’s been their tackles that have struggled — not the rookies on the interior. In fact, the first-year players have both been nothing short of outstanding of late. Creed Humphrey is now the highest-graded center in the NFL after a monster performance against the Giants on Monday night. Trey Smith isn’t too far behind as the sixth-highest-graded guard. To get two players of that quality in the second and sixth rounds, respectively, is quite the feat for general manager Brett Veach.
More and More Rookies Coming on Strong
Everyone adjusts to the NFL game at their own pace. That is abundantly clear when watching this rookie class. New York Jets left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth, Detroit Lions left tackle Penei Sewell, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton and Buffalo Bills defensive end Gregory Rousseau were all high draft picks who have flashed in recent weeks. Here’s a look at what they did in the first quarter of this season vs. the second quarter.
|Player||Grade Week 1-4||Grade Week 5-8|
Deep RB Class
Running back is decidedly a young man’s position. Of the 24 backs who saw more than 10 carries in Week 8, seven of them were rookies. This wasn’t even billed as a particularly special running back class, yet a number of late-rounders are making their presence felt.
Najee Harris (26), Chuba Hubbard (24), Khalil Herbert (23), Elijah Mitchell (18), Michael Carter (15), Kenneth Gainwell (13) and Jaret Patterson (11) all got major run over the weekend. Carter was probably the biggest standout of the bunch, with nine catches for 95 yards and five broken tackles through the air along with 15 carries for 77 yards and five broken tackles on the ground.
Rookie Snaps and PFF Grades