1) Deshaun Watson Houston Texans
2) Mitchell Trubkisky Chicago Bears
3) C.J. Beathard San Francisco 49ers
4) DeShone Kizer Cleveland Browns
- So, this is probably going to be the easiest list to make so far with only a handful of guys with actual starts. Obviously, Watson has been by far the best and all the teams like the Browns, 49ers, and even the Bears who took Trubisky may be kicking themselves for overlooking him. Even I am shocked at how good and smooth he has looked so far. Who knows if it keeps going this good. Then by default Trubisky has been the second best quarterback since he actually has more wins than losses on his watch so far even with his limited throws and receivers. He does show impressive throwing on the run skills and a level head so far. Then Beathard beats out Kizer already after one start with just how serviceable he actually looked last week and possibly being a nice placeholder quarterback until something better comes around. Kizer to me has been a complete disappointment and is proving why teams passed up on him given his upside. He looks flustered and has made some terrible throws. The argument to defend him is his talent around him being bad, but Beathard and even Trubisky do not have much better. Of course, I am missing Mahomes, but it's not right for me to judge a guy who has not played yet.
1) Kareem Hunt Kansas City Chiefs
2) Leonard Fournette Jacksonville Jaguars
3) Dalvin Cook Minnesota Vikings
4) Alvin Kamara New Orleans Saints
5) Tarik Cohen Chicago Bears
- By far one of the strongest positions from this draft class has been the running backs. Hunt has led the way with his decisive running, and ability to catch the ball all over the field. Not to pat myself on the back, but I predicted him being in the running for Rookie of the Year and so far he has fulfilled my prediction. The Fournette has been a workhorse for the Jags doing better than what I expected so far. Maybe he is finally motivated getting paid to play unlike his time at LSU. I do still worry about his running style and already missing a game for a foot injury. For right now though he has been one of the best rookies. I really liked what I saw from Cook and unfortunately he is going to miss the year with an ACL tear. However, along with Hunt he may be one of the most complete backs. Then the next two are similar pass catching talents in Kamara and Cohen who have pretty much created a new wingback position in the NFL. Kamara gets a leg up due to his better ability to actually carry the ball. There are a few backs who can climb the rankings like Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon, and Christian McCaffrey, but they still need to show me more consistent play to move up.
1) JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers
2) Cooper Kupp Los Angeles Rams
3) Taywan Taylor Tennessee Titans
4) Corey Davis Tennessee Titans
5) Trent Taylor San Francisco 49ers
- This is why I always recommend not taking a receiver in the first round. Of course, a great one like the Julio Jones, Mike Evans, A.J. Green, or OBJ is what you are looking for. However, with every one of those you end up with a Breshad Perriman, Nelson Agoholor, Kevin White, A.J. Jenkins, Jon Baldwin, and so many others. Even guys like Evans, Green, OBJ, or even Jones translate to consistent wins. All of that is why I avoid receivers in the first round. The best ones so far from this class are by default Smith-Schuster who has looked solid as the third option for the Steelers and has done enough to make them comfortable with demoting Martavis Bryant. Kupp has been okay, but still has not lit the world on fire like people expected coming out of the preseason. Taywan Taylor has looked like a nice deep threat option when given the opportunity and same can be said about Davis when he was on the field. However, the Titans vanilla offense I think is holding the two back. Then quietly Trent Taylor has the 2nd most receptions among rookie receivers. Part of that is due to the poor talent around him and the 49ers always playing from behind. Still it is incredibly disappointing that Mike Williams, John Ross, Chris Godwin, and Zay Jones have done next to nothing their rookie seasons. In fact, it's tempting to put Cohen, Kamara, and McCaffrey here since they have done a better job catching the ball.
1) Evan Engram New York Giants
2) O.J. Howard Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3) George Kittle San Francisco 49ers
4) David Njoku Cleveland Browns
5) Jonnu Smith Tennessee Titans
- So far, Engram has done well as the last man standing for Eli Manning to throw to in their mash unit of a passing attack. He has done well however, being a consistent target to throw to and move the chains. Meanwhile, Howard has had some sparks of talent, but he is playing behind Cameron Brate who has been solid all year. The Bucs should look into moving Brate for at least a 3rd round pick this off season to clear space for Howard to emerge as a dynamic pass catcher. I like the future of the 49ers if they can find a solid quarterback since many of their rookies right now are getting work thanks to the lack of talent on the roster giving them quality experience to build off of. Kittle reminds me of a Dallas Clark type of tight end who is not your prototypical sized tight end, but he can be a quality move around the formation tight end in the passing game. Njoku could have better numbers if he had a better quarterback with his athletic upside. Smith has been solid as well for the Titans, but like Howard he is blocked by Delanie Walker to get more work. Overall, this position has been a world better so far than the receivers.
1) Cam Robinson OT Jacksonville Jaguars
2) Pat Elflein C Minnesota Vikings
3) Ryan Ramczyk OT New Orleans Saints
4) Dion Dawkins OT Buffalo Bills
5) Garrett Bolles OT Denver Broncos
- This has been an underwhelming class as well, but at least it came with the disclaimer that this was a poor blocking class. So far, the best one in my opinion was the one everyone over looked in Cam Robinson who has been more than good enough at tackle for the Jags and their power run game. He has been so good that the guy they traded for Branden Albert is still in retirement even though he wants back and the Jags are comfortable without him. Next is Elflein who has been a terrific anchor in the middle of the Vikings o-line that was terrible last year. He has been one of the bigger surprises to me from the draft and I need to stop doubting Buckeye blockers after he and last year Taylor Decker translated very well to the NFL. Ramcyzk has been a much better right tackle than he was at the left side for a brief bit to start the year. He will be put to the test this week against the Bears dominant defensive front and if he stands up to it then I will be much more confident with him moving forward. Then Dawkins has been pushing for playing time and even has displaced the solid Cordy Glenn on the Bills line and looks the part as a good future pillar on their line. Bolles by default has been the fifth best rookie blocker since there really has been no one else to displace him. Though he has been a quality run blocker for the Broncos.
1) Myles Garret DE Cleveland Browns
2) Derek Barnett DE Philadelphia Eagles
3) Solomon Thomas DE San Francisco 49ers
4) Dalvin Tomlinson DT New York Giants
5) Carl Lawson DE Cincinnati Bengals
- You know what I am starting to think this class was way over hyped since not even any of the great pass rushers this year has really popped. Garrett who has only played a handful of games already racked up four sacks, which leads the league among rookie defensive linemen. If he could stay on the field he would be definitely in the running for Defensive ROY honors in my opinion. Barnett has been a solid all around end for the Eagles so far, but he does benefit from playing in a rotation with a few other dominant defenders. Thomas has been a solid player for the 49ers and has been a surprising good tackler to go along with his two sacks. Tomlinson like Barnett is in a nice rotation on a dominant line, but has been a good run stuffer so far. Lawson has been the surprise at the position so far with the second most three and a half sacks on the d-line. However, he has not had a ton of playing time and like many of the Bengals young players deserve more playing time.
1) T.J. Watt OLB Pittsburgh Steelers
2) Kendell Beckwith MLB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3) Zach Cunningham ILB Houston Texans
4) Jarrad Davis MLB Detroit Lions
5) Tyus Bowser OLB Baltimore Ravens
- Watt has been surprising to me as I thought he may have been over hyped since he was J.J.'s brother, but he has been very good all year long. He ties Garrett with four sacks as most among rookies and has shown good all around tackling ability on the edge. Beckwith has had a lot of playing time for the Bucs with Lavonte David, and Kwon Alexander missing time. However, he has made the most of it with the most tackles among rookie linebackers and is looking like another solid LSU linebacker in the NFL. I was shocked with how far Cunningham slid with his talent and now with an opportunity for the Texans with Cushing out he may have just stolen the veterans job. He has been terrific and should only continue to get better. I know Austin will hate this, but so far Davis is not the top rookie linebacker in my book just yet. He has been good when on the field with his ability to work in the passing game with his athleticism. I do think he has a good future in store for him, but I want to see him be more effective in a sense. If given more of an opportunity I think Bowser could be the best linebacker in the draft, but currently playing behind Suggs, Smith, and Judon, but he still has two sacks on his record. Overall, this has been one of the better positions from this draft.
1) Marshon Lattimore New Orleans Saints
2) Tre'Davious White Buffalo Bills
3) Marlon Humphrey Baltimore Ravens
4) Shaquill Griffin Seattle Seahawks
5) Rasul Douglas Philadelphia Eagles
- Lattimore has been great so far for the Saints and has finally given them a possible shut down corner they have been looking for. He has also helped the Saints have one of the better than expected defenses this year. White has been challenged all year long and has stood the test so far this season. Much like Lattimore he is apart of why the Bills have one of the top defenses in the league this year. Humphrey may not have caused a turnover yet, but he has been solid in coverage all year long. Griffin has been another late round find for the Seahawks and has been solid all year long for them. Then Douglas may be one of the last men standing for the Eagles at corner, but he has been clutch in coverage and has been attacking the ball all year long. Overall, this position has been as advertised coming into the draft and there has been standouts all over the league at corner like Adoree' Jackson, Jourdan Lewis, and others who are on the cusp of being on the list.
1) Jamal Adams New York Jets
2) Marcus Maye New York Jets
3) Josh Jones Green Bay Packers
4) Eddie Jackson Chicago Bears
5) Malik Hooker Indianapolis Colts
- Much like the corners, the safeties has been just as good thus far. Adams and Maye have given the Jets a dynamic duo in the back end of their defense. Almost emulating a similar pair to Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor out in Seattle. Now all they need to do is figure out the pass rushers in front of them. Jones has been a solid small linebacker style of safety for the Packers and should eventually move to linebacker where they are thin at. Jackson just showed how dynamic he can be with the ball in his hands and has also been a tough defender when battling receivers going for a catch. Then one of my favorite prospects from the draft Hooker has been just as good for the Colts, but the talent in front of him is not as good as say the Bears, or even the Packers to give him more opportunities to make big splash plays. He does have three picks however, which is the most among rookies thus far. Noticeably off my list is Jabrill Peppers who has had a lot of tackles on a poor defense, but if you watch his tape you can see how poor in coverage he has been. On the cusp to move up however, is Marcus Williams, Justin Evans, and Desmond King who have all done well when given the playing time.
|Austin Vershel||You're right, I do hate the linebacking ranking :) Just kidding. I may have jumped the gun (and showed my bias) when i picked Jarrad Davis for DROY. Tre'Davious White seems to have locked that up with an amazing last two games. My only major discrepency is Marhson Lattimore being ranked over TW, but I understand why many people think that as well.|
|Kyle Kunert||Tre'Davious White has been a lot better than I expected, but I think his numbers are a tad inflated with teams targeting him a lot. However, Lattimore has been so good that teams are already trying to avoid him in the passing game. The DROY award is going to be a tight one I think between Watt, TW, Lattimore, and maybe Garrett if he can just stay on the field.|