Two full weeks of the NFL preseason schedule have been completed, giving us a larger sample size to delve into just how each of the 2018 NFL Draft first-round picks have fared in their respective action so far.
Through two weeks, here are how each of the 32 first-round rookies from the 2018 NFL Draft have graded in their first professional action:
Pick No. 1: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
2018 PRESEASON GRADE: 86.3
Mayfield has gone from being our highest-graded college quarterback in 2017 to the No. 1 player on our big board, to first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, to the highest-graded rookie quarterback through two weeks of the preseason. In two outings, the former Heisman Trophy winner has been clinical when operating from a clean pocket and has completed 14-of-23 pass attempts for 217 yards and two touchdowns, all good for a passer rating of 121.1 – the third-highest rating we’ve ever recorded by a rookie quarterback with at least 20 attempts. In addition to his success from a clean pocket, Mayfield has also done a great job of protecting the football and is still yet to throw a turnover-worthy pass. Through two weeks of preseason action, his offensive grade of 86.3 is good for third among quarterbacks with at least 20 dropbacks and is more than 10.0 points higher from the next-closest quarterback from his class.
Pick No. 2: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
2018 PRESEASON GRADE: 75.8
A hamstring injury has limited Barkley to just six preseason snaps so far, but he still performed well enough on those limited snaps to earn a top-20 grade. His first and only game of the preseason came Week 1 against the Browns, where he carried the ball four times and racked up 43 rushing yards, with 39 of those yards coming after contact. Barkley’s highest-graded play of his young career came on his first professional touch, where he turned what looked like a near-certain rush for a loss into a 39-yard gain with a lightning-fast cut and an explosion past the line of scrimmage.
Pick No. 3: Sam Darnold, New York Jets
2018 PRESEASON GRADE: 75.6
Two games in, the former USC quarterback is well on his way to claiming his place as the new face of the New York Jets. Through two preseason contests, Darnold has played 63 of his team’s 115 offensive snaps and has accumulated a passer rating of 99.6 on his throws from a clean pocket, which is second to only Mayfield this year and the ninth-best mark ever recorded by a rookie with at least 20 attempts through two games. As we saw at USC, Darnold was also sharp on his throws outside the pocket and has completed 3-of-4 attempts for 36 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 141.7 on such throws, which is second to only Colt McCoy this preseason. Darnold’s offensive grade is good for 13th among quarterbacks with at least 20 dropbacks.