News & Analysis

Grading all 32 first rounders after Week 9

By Mark Chichester
Nov 6, 2018

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September 16, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (69) during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Lions 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 of the NFL regular season schedule has been completed, giving us an even larger sample size to delve into just how each of the 2018 NFL Draft first-round picks has fared in their respective action so far. Some of the 32 first-rounders have not qualified for a grade either based on small snap counts or not playing altogether. On the other hand, some players have jumped out of the screen and have helped strengthen their teams.

Here is how each of the 32 first-round rookies from the 2018 NFL Draft has graded in their first nine weeks:

Pick No. 1: Baker MayfieldCleveland Browns

2018 SEASON GRADE: 74.5

After grading north of 80.0 in his first three appearances, the No. 1 overall pick has hit some rocky waters as of late. From Weeks 6-9, he’s surpassed the 70.0-grade threshold just once, and he’s coming off his two worst games as a pro so far. Week 9 against the Chiefs, Mayfield, as usual, performed well from a clean pocket, completing 24-of-33 attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 117.0 – 11th-best this week. However, Mayfield’s downfall came when he faced pressure, as he completed 5-of-9 attempts for 27 yards and an interception, good for a passer rating of just 21.3.

Pick No. 2: Saquon BarkleyNew York Giants

2018 SEASON GRADE: 77.0

Barkley too was bottled up by the opposing defense and ended his Week 8 game with the lowest single-game grade of his career. Against a stout Washington defense, Barkley was held to just 38 yards on 13 carries, with only 15 of those yards coming after contact. He forced just one missed tackle on the day and averaged just 1.15 yards after contact per attempt, his lowest single-game marks of the season.

Pick No. 3: Sam DarnoldNew York Jets

2018 SEASON GRADE: 50.9

As Darnold’s Week 6 game showed, the former USC signal-caller is more than capable of delivering exceptional performances under center, but unfortunately for Darnold, the bad performances are vastly outweighing the good ones right now. Darnold had his lowest-graded game to date against the Dolphins in Week 9, completing just 21-of-39 attempts for 229 yards, four interceptions and he threw an incredible six turnover-worthy passes on the afternoon. Darnold has thrown 17 turnover-worthy passes this season, four more than the next closest quarterback.

Pick No. 4: Denzel WardCleveland Browns

2018 SEASON GRADE: 79.0

Denzel Ward only managed eight snaps in the Browns’ Week 9 game before leaving the game with an injury. However, for the most part, Ward has shone in his previous eight games and has allowed a passer rating of just 73.3 on throws into his primary coverage, which ranks 21st among cornerback this year, and he’s done that despite being on pace to be the most targeted rookie cornerback in PFF history.

Pick No 5: Bradley ChubbDenver Broncos

2018 SEASON GRADE: 67.4

Once again, the Broncos’ first-round pick was productive in the pass-rush in his team’s Week 9 loss to the Texans, and he racked up three total quarterback pressures on his 19 pass-rush snaps. Through nine weeks of the 2018 season, Chubb has accumulated 35 quarterback pressures, which is the most among rookie edge defenders and tied for the eighth-most among all players at the position.

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