News & Analysis

Ranking the NFL leaders in rookie snap counts

Aug 19, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the second half at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft can be a game-changer for a franchise, and while it takes time to understand the full impact of a draft class, early returns are promising for a number of teams around the league. The New Orleans Saints appear to have a franchise-changing draft while the San Francisco 49ers appear to have pieces in place for their rebuilding process. Rookie contributions will vary across the league depending on roster strength and position depth, but one quick way to see immediate impact is by looking at how many snaps rookies have played around the league.

Here’s a list of the rookie snaps by team.

NFL Rookie snap counts - through Week 10

1. 

Snap Counts: 2,874
Snap Leader: TE George Kittle, 420

We were big fans of the 49ers’ draft back in April and it’s showed in the early returns. First-round defensive lineman Solomon Thomas has been as-advertised against the run, but still has room to improve upon his 16 pressures on 228 rushes. LB Reuben Foster has been excellent when healthy and his 205 snaps have showed his three-down ability on his way to an 89.0 overall grade that ranks fifth in the NFL. Third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon has been excellent since taking over as a starter in Week 8 while fifth-round tight end George Kittle ranks second among rookie tight ends with 27 receptions and 277 yards.

2.

Snap Counts: 2,213
Snap Leader: OT Ryan Ramczyk, 604

First-round cornerback Marshon Lattimore leads all corners with a 93.9 grade and he already looks the part of an elite player. Ramczyk has the top grade among rookie offensive tackles at 80.1 overall while playing both left and right tackle and he’s allowed only 12 pressures on 327 attempts. Running back Alvin Kamara 84.0 overall grade ranks fourth in the league, averaging 6.5 yards per carry and ranking second among rookie running backs with 373 receiving yards. Second-round safety Marcus Williams has the fourth-most snaps among rookie safeties and he’s been productive with a 79.9 grade.

3.

Snap Counts: 1,858
Snap Leader: S Marcus Maye, 702

The Jets invested their first two picks at safety in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye and they make up 75 percent of their rookie snaps this season. Adams leads rookie safeties with 19 stops while Maye has the second-best coverage grade among rookies at 81.7. Sixth-round running back Elijah McGuire has forced 15 missed tackles as a rusher, third-most among rookies.

4.

Snap Counts: 1,842
Snap Leader: S Malik Hooker, 410

Hooker leads with 410 snaps, but unfortunately that’s where he’ll finish the season due to a knee injury. He showed off his playmaking ability with three interceptions which leads all rookies regardless of positions. Fifth-round cornerback Nate Hairston ranks second on the team with 386 snaps, while fourth-rounder Marlon Mack has the No. 31 overall grade among running backs at 73.5.

5.

Snap Counts: 1,620
Snap Leader: QB DeShone Kizer, 455

Kizer has taken the bulk of the snaps at quarterback this season, and he’s coming off his best game of the year as he graded at 86.1. First overall pick Myles Garrett has battled injury, but his talent has been on display on his 147 snaps as he’s notched four sacks, three QB hits, and eight hurries on only 88 rushes. Safety Jabrill Peppers has the sixth-most snaps among rookie safeties while TE David Njoku ranks third with 19 receptions. Fifth-round defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi has played only 114 snaps but has showed promise as a run-stopper with an 80.6 grade.

6.

Snap Counts: 1,597
Snap Leader: CB Tre’Davious White, 614

White is off to a great start as his 88.1 overall grade ranks eighth in the NFL and he’s tied for the league lead with 10 pass breakups. WR Zay Jones has been a starter since Week 1 and leads all rookies with his 429 snaps. OT Dion Dawkins has filled in admirably at left tackle with a 70.6 overall grade on 315 snaps.

7.

Snap Counts: 1,549
Snap Leader: CB Adoree' Jackson, 563

CB Adoree' Jackson has been a starter since Week 1 and he ranks second among rookies with eight pass breakups. Fellow first rounder, WR Corey Davis, has been limited to 182 snaps due to injuries and his 13 receptions are tied for seventh among rookie wide receivers with teammate Taywan Taylor. Fifth-round linebacker Jayon Brown has added value on his 285 snaps as his 77.5 coverage grade ranks second among rookie linebackers.

8.

Snap Counts: 1,547
Snap Leader: LB Kendell Beckwith, 524

It’s a small class in Tampa Bay but they’re getting a lot out of it to this point. O.J. Howard ranks third among rookie tight ends with 227 yards, while WR Chris Godwin has the No. 3 grade among rookie wide outs at 75.1 overall and he’s coming off a career-high 69 snaps last week against the New York Jets. Second-rounder Justin Evans ranks fifth among rookie safeties with 435 snaps, while third-rounder Kendell Beckwith leads rookie linebackers with 30 stops.

9.

Snap Counts: 1,519
Snap Leader: OT Cam Robinson, 558

First-rounder Leonard Fournette has battled injuries, but he ranks second among rookie running backs with 629 yards and 27 missed tackles forced on the ground. OT Cam Robinson has started since Day 1 and he’s shown the same boom or bust potential that he showed at Alabama. Undrafted free agent Keelan Cole is the surprise of the class and his 373 snaps rank fourth among rookie wide receivers.

10.

Snap Counts: 1,412
Snap Leader: S Eddie Jackson, 589

The Bears had a small draft class, but QB Mitchell Trubisky has shown his starter potential while Eddie Jackson leads all rookie safeties with an 82.3 overall grade. RB Tarik Cohen has been used all over the field on his 195 snaps.

11.

Snap Counts: 1,405
Snap Leader: QB Deshaun Watson, 464

Prior to his season-ending injury, QB Deshaun Watson’s playmaking was the talk of the NFL, even with his throw-for-throw inconsistency that was prevalent during his time at Clemson. Zach Cunningham has the top grade against the run among rookie linebackers and No. 9 mark in the NFL at 85.7. Third-round running back D’Onta Foreman has a solid 67.6 grade while DI Carlos Watkins has contributed 118 snaps as part of the defensive line rotation.

12.

Snap Counts: 1,388
Snap Leader: WR Cooper Kupp, 412

WR Cooper Kupp leads all rookies with 32 receptions and his 417 yards and three touchdowns rank second. Third-rounder John Johnson III ranks second among rookie safeties with a 79.9 overall grade, while second-round tight end Gerald Everett has 198 yards on only eight catches (24.8 yards per reception).

13.

Snap Counts: 1,380
Snap Leader: TE Evan Engram, 465

First-rounder Evan Engram is pacing all rookie tight ends with 465 snaps, 40 catches, 443 yards, and five touchdowns. Second round defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson has the top run-stopping grade in the class at 81.9. Fifth-round edge defender Avery Moss has eight pressures on his 197 snaps and undrafted free agent linebacker Calvin Munson has contributed 169 snaps.

14.

Snap Counts: 1,289
Snap Leader: CB Shaquill Griffin, 521

CB Shaquill Griffin has been locked in at right corner for most of the season and he ranks third among rookie cornerbacks with seven pass breakups. Second-rounder Ethan Pocic has the second-most snaps with 249 and he’s started at left guard the last three weeks. Third-round defensive tackle Nazair Jones has contributed 215 snaps up front and his 74.4 pass-rush grade ranks second among rookie interior defensive linemen.

15.

Snap Counts: 1,226
Snap Leader: LB Jarrad Davis, 457

Jarrad Davis ranks second among rookie linebackers with 457 snaps and he’s tied for third with 15 stops. Sixth-round defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter has the second-most snaps with 221 and he’s contributed seven pressures on his 130 rushes.

16.

Snap Counts: 1,218
Snap Leader: CB Cordrea Tankersley, 435

CB Cordrea Tankersley has only missed a handful of plays since his Week 4 debut and his 435 snaps rank fifth among rookie corners. First-rounder Charles Harris ranks fifth among rookie edge defenders with 16 total pressures while fifth-rounder Davon Godchaux is tied for the lead among rookie interior defensive linemen with 13 stops.

17.

Snap Counts: 1,189
Snap Leader: Edge Carl Lawson, 275

The Bengals have boosted their pass rush with edge defender Carl Lawson (leads all rookie edge defenders with 40 pressures) and Jordan Willis whose 216 snaps rank eighth among rookie edges. RB Joe Mixon has averaged only 3.0 yards per carry behind poor run blocking despite a solid 72.2 rushing grade. Fourth-rounder Ryan Glasgow’s 223 snaps rank sixth among rookie interior defensive linemen.

18.

Snap Counts: 1,176
Snap Leader: S Montae Nicholson, 301

Top two picks, DI Jonathan Allen and edge Ryan Anderson, have been limited to 159 and 130 snaps respectively though Allen still leads all rookie interior defensive linemen with 16 pressures. Fourth-round safety Montae Nicholson has a solid 77.3 coverage grade on his 301 snaps while sixth-rounder Chase Roullier has 213 snaps and he’s started the last three games at center.

19.

Snap Counts: 1,155
Snap Leader: S Josh Jones, 389

Josh Jones ranks second among rookie safeties with 17 stops, while fellow second-rounder CB Kevin King ranks ninth among rookie corners with 342 snaps. RB Aaron Jones ranks fourth among rookie with 370 rushing yards and his 83.7 rushing grade ranks sixth in the NFL.

20.

Snap Counts: 1,078
Snap Leader: DI Eddie Vanderdoes, 277

A big chunk of Oakland’s rookie contributions have come along the defensive line between defensive tackles Eddie Vanderdoes (277 snaps) and Treyvon Hester (233 snaps). Undrafted free agent linebacker Nicholas Morrow has seen the field for 240 snaps. Top two picks, CB Gareon Conley and S Obi Melifonwu, have combined for 99 snaps so far this season.

21.

Snap Counts: 1,061
Snap Leader: C Pat Elflein, 619

Center Pat Elflein makes up 58 percent of Minnesota’s rookie snaps as he’s yet to come off the field this season and he’s coming off his best game as a pro last week against the Washington Redskins. RB Dalvin Cook was off to a great start before being lost for the season due to injury and his 86.4 rushing grade ranks third in the league. Fifth-round guard Danny Isidora has played 114 snaps, including one start in Week 8.

22.

Snap Counts: 1,025
Snap Leader: CB Jourdan Lewis, 408

Over 82 percent of Dallas’ rookie snaps have come from three players: CB Jourdan Lewis, S Xavier Woods, and edge Taco Charlton. Lewis has the No. 6 overall grade among rookie corners at 77.6, while Woods has a solid 73.9 grade. Charlton has 210 snaps as part of the defensive line rotation, but he’s off to a slow start with only eight pressures on 125 rushes.

23.

Snap Counts: 885
Snap Leader: CB Rasul Douglas, 339

First-rounder Derek Barnett ranks third among rookie edge defenders with 22 pressures (three sacks, six QB hits, 16 hurries) on his 201 rushes. Rasul Douglas’ 78.6 coverage grade ranks fifth among rookie corners, while fourth-round wide receiver Mack Hollins has showed off his big-play potential with 19.1 yards per reception on his nine catches.

24.

Snap Counts: 853
Snap Leader: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, 412

Only three rookies have seen the field for the Steelers: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, edge T.J. Watt, and RB James Conner. Smith-Schuster has broken out in recent weeks and his five touchdowns lead all rookie wide receivers. Watt’s four sacks rank second among rookie edge defenders and he’s nearly dropped into coverage as often as he’s rushed the passer (144 rushes, 106 coverage snaps).

25.

Snap Counts: 833
Snap Leader: RB Christian McCaffrey, 464

Christian McCaffrey and WR Curtis Samuel make up 83 percent of Carolina’s rookie snaps, with McCaffrey leading all rookie running backs with 57 receptions and a 92.0 receiving grade. Samuel is now out for the season after catching 15 passes for 115 yards (7.7 yards per reception).

26.

Snap Counts: 813
Snap Leader: CB Marlon Humphrey, 208

First-rounder Marlon Humphrey has the No. 4 coverage grade among rookie corners at 81.0 and he has four pass breakups on only 27 targets. Second-round edge defender Tim Williams has only played 61 snaps fellow second-rounder Tyus Bowser has five pressures on his 104 snaps. Guard Jermaine Eluemunor has the second-most snaps among Baltimore rookies, including two starts.

27.

Snap Counts: 809
Snap Leader: CB Desmond King, 392

The injury bug struck the top end of the Chargers’ class as first-round wide receiver Mike Williams has played only 74 snaps while second-round guard Forrest Lamp was lost for the season during training camp. CB Desmond King has been a fifth-round steal, as his 83.3 coverage grade ranks third among rookie cornerbacks. Dan Feeney has started the last two games at guard and his 79.6 run blocking grade leads all rookie guards.

28.

Snap Counts: 768
Snap Leader: OT Garett Bolles, 605

First-round OT Garett Bolles makes up 79 percent of Denver’s rookie snaps and he’s had his ups and downs with 28 total pressures surrendered, tied for 10th-most among NFL tackles. WR Isaiah McKenzie ranks second among Denver rookies with his 84 offensive snaps.

29.

Snap Counts: 597
Snap Leader: Edge Deatrich Wise, 303

Deatrich Wise is the only New England draft pick to see the field this year and his 26 pressures rank second among rookie edge defenders. Defensive tackle Adam Butler ranks second among Patriots rookies with 246 snaps and his 12 pressures rank second among rookie interior defensive linemen.

30.

Snap Counts: 544
Snap Leader: LB Haason Reddick, 330

Haason Reddick has played all over the field for the Cardinals, rushing the passer 140 times while dropping into coverage on 101 snaps. Fifth-round guard Will Holden has the second-most snaps among Cardinals rookies, 86 of which came in a Week 4 start.

31.

Snap Counts: 533
Snap Leader: Edge Takkarist McKinley, 251

All but seven of Atlanta’s rookie snaps have come on the defensive side of the ball, led by edge Takkarist McKinley who ranks third among rookie edges with 25 pressures. Linebacker Duke Riley ranks second among Atlanta rookies with 189 snaps, though he hasn’t seen the field since Week 7 due to injury.

32.

Snap Counts: 410
Snap Leader: RB Kareem Hunt, 384

RB Kareem Hunt makes up 94 percent of Kansas City’s rookie snaps and he’s a potential rookie of the year candidate with his 90.5 overall grade that leads all running backs. Hunt ranks second the league with 800 rushing yards and he’s forced the most missed tackles with 42. Defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon ranks second among Chiefs’ rookies with only 14 snaps.

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