There are few things better than a major rookie performance for a bad team in the NFL. It provides hope to franchises for both now and the future. Week 3 in the NFL saw a lot of big games from rookies, many of which garnered attention from the national media. Daniel Jones took the league by storm while Gardner Minshew magic continued and fans in the DMV are praying they’ll soon see hope from their own rookie QB in Dwayne Haskins. More than just QB play provided excitement from this rookie class in Week 3 though, many of the talented pass catchers continued to impress and a handful of the pass rushers are beginning to breakout. Once again it was a strong week in the NFL for rookie performances.

Rookie of the Week

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

  • Arguably the biggest storyline coming out of the NFL in Week 3 was the debut of Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones. Few passers have been more criticized this decade before playing a snap in the NFL than Jones. The Giants and GM Dave Gettleman were ridiculed for taking him 6thoverall (hand up I was a big hater on this pick) by pretty much everybody. Finally, they benched terrible Eli Manning and Jones put on a show in the Pat Shurmur system. Down 28-10 at halftime to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jones came alive in the second half leading the Giants to three touchdown drives and a 32-31 victory. Jones looked poised and accurate throughout the game and showed off impressive mobility. He wasn’t afraid to take shots downfield and often made smart and fast decisions behind a shaky offensive line. It was one heck of an unveiling.

Previous Rookies of the Week

Week 1- Hollywood Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Week 2- Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns

Week 3 Rookie Power Rankings

  1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, San Francisco 49ers (Last Week- 4)

  • When you look at Nick Bosa’s stat line from the 49ers win over the Pittsburgh Steelers it might be surprising to see him make the jump to the top spot on the rookie power rankings. He had just a single tackle and a QB hit, but his impact was far greater. Bosa was unblockable and gave Pro Bowl OT Alejandro Villanueva fits with his power and leverage. He was constantly pressuring Mason Rudolph and had a huge impact on souring his first career start. Bosa might not have the sack yet, but they will come. His hand-to-hand ability is already looking elite. He looks like he’s on a mission for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
  1. Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers (3)

  • It’s crazy to think the Packers defense has turned them into a title contender, but it has and they’re a top-three unit. On every level, they’re playing impressive football, but the transformation of the secondary has been key. Along with Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage continues to look like a star in the making. Against the Denver Broncos, Savage was flying around knocking heads. His explosiveness and aggressiveness have made him a force as a tackler. Savage even picked off a poor pass where he showed his impressive ball skills. This is a defensive weapon. He finished the game with 5 tackles, a 0.5 sack, a PBU, and the interception.

  1. Hollywood Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (1)

  • It was Hollywood Brown’s worst game on paper through the first three weeks of the season. He caught just 2 passes on 9 targets for 49 yards, but it’s hard to fault him for the lack of production. Brown was getting open and Lamar Jackson was just missing him. Multiple times Brown separated deep and Jackson overthrew him. Had they connected on a couple of those passes this game may have turned out differently. Brown still managed to make an impressive grab for a big chunk gain in the game and the lack of production shouldn’t create much worry. Brown’s speed is always an X-factor and he should continue to make the biggest impact among rookie WRs.

  1. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington (2)

  • Through all the let down of an 0-3 start for Washington they have the bright spot of Terry McLaurin. He’s quickly become their best offensive playmaker and looks like a WR1 going forward. Against the Bears he was their most consistent threat winning with savvy, route running, and elite speed. Ignore the broadcast that continually said he was drafted to be a gunner, although he is a stud on special teams because he was actually drafted to be Dwayne Haskins go-to guy. Against the talented Bears defense, he caught 6 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. When Haskins finally starts he’ll be looking to his college teammate early and often.

  1. Erik McCoy, C, New Orleans Saints (5)

  • It hasn’t been publicized much, but the instant impact of rookie center Erik McCoy on the Saints offensive line has been huge. McCoy plugged in for a Pro Bowler in Max Unger and the group got even better. So far this season it’s hard to argue there’s been a better O-line than the Saints. Against the Seahawks McCoy stepped up and helped shut down a talented front seven. He was borderline dominant in pass protection giving up nothing and keep Teddy Bridgewater clean all game. In the run game, he opened holes inside for Alvin Kamara and his reach block ability was on display. His athleticism, size, and power have made him a top-five center in the league so far this season.

  1. Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers (9)

  • Lost in the Panthers big win over the Arizona Cardinals was the rookie performance of Brian Burns. Most the buzz has been about Kyle Allen and rightfully so, but Burns once again made a huge impact and it was his best game to date. It may have been against the worst offensive line in football, but Burns was constantly putting pressure on Kyler Murray. His combination of explosiveness and bend is well-known, but he was showing off his fast handwork and combo moves throughout the game. Burns finished with 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 QB hits and if he keeps it up he might lead all rookies in sacks.

  1. Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (11)

  • Few things are weirder than AFC South football on a Thursday night. The perfect catalyst for that weird brand of football might just be Gardner Minshew. Minshew and his mustache magic have yet to run out and he managed to pull off the 20-7 win against the Tennessee Titans. Minshew wasn’t spectacular, but he bought the Jaguars a quick lead with some wonderful ball placement throws and his stats would have been better if not for a few drops. His ability to see the field and make the correct decision has gone a long way for this offense so far. This might not be Nick Foles job when he returns. He completed 67% of his throws for 204 yards and 2 TDs on 6.8 YPA.

  1. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks (6)

  • Gone are the days of people questioning DK Metcalf’s ability to translate into the NFL. The height-weight-speed freak has made a massive play in each of the Seahawks first three games and has the tools to be their perfect X-receiver. Against the Saints, he didn’t put up massive numbers, but he hauled in their biggest passing play of the day showing off what he can do in contested catch scenarios. The play would have been more hyped if not for some poor coaching having it lead to no points. He finished with 2 receptions for 67 yards. Metcalf is only going to get better as the Seahawks expand his route tree, but for now, they’re doing a great job with him. They’ve kept him play outside on the left side (where he’s most comfortable) and have mainly used him as a deep threat where he can out athlete DBs.

  1. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders (7)

  • The Raiders offense is starting to really stink thanks to Derek Carr. They were terrible against the Minnesota Vikings and fell behind early. It sucks having to watch the Raiders play from behind because it means fewer touches for rookie Josh Jacobs. Jacobs is clearly one of their biggest threats and the heart and soul of this offense, but they can’t run the ball when they’re losing by so much. He had only 10 carries for 44 yards in the loss and for some reason they aren’t involving him in the passing game at all. If Jon Gruden was a smarter man they would be taking advantage of Jacobs pass-catching in the screen game and getting him more touches.
  1. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (23)

  • While Lamar Jackson was struggling to hit his rookie WR for big gains, Patrick Mahomes was thriving off his against the Ravens. Mecole Hardman wasn’t heavily involved, but when he was good things happened. The biggest play of the game came when Hardman just blazed by a coverage bust in the Ravens secondary for an 83-yard TD. The Chiefs also used him as a motion man in their offense and gave us a glimpse of his YAC ability. Hardman’s role should increase as the season goes on because of his fit with his speed and open-field elusiveness. He finished with 3 touches for 104 total yards and the score.

  1. Ed Oliver, IDL, Buffalo Bills (10)

  • The Buffalo Bills are a 3-0 football team and playing some of the best defense in the league. Rookie Ed Oliver has played a major role upfront for them and it should only increase with the injury to Harrison Phillips. Although he hasn’t put up crazy numbers his impact is felt every week. Against the Bengals, he had just one tackle but played a major role in holding them to just 66 rushing yards and 3.5 YPA. Oliver’s biggest impact has come as a run defender thus far. He’s shown an impressive ability to anchor down vs. the run, a question many scouts had about his game coming out of Houston. The increased role should see more splash plays and it won’t be long until he becomes a flashy pass rusher.
  1. Dalton Risner, OG, Denver Broncos (20)

  • When an offensive line gives up six sacks it’s hard to find a positive takeaway, but Dalton Risner has been the real deal. The Broncos offensive line was terrible against the Packers and yet Risner flashed why he might be Mike Munchak’s future Pro Bowl piece upfront. Risner was by far the Broncos most competent player in pass pro while dealing with an array of pass rushers. His biggest impact came in the run where he helped Phillip Lindsay have his best game of the year and literally assisted on his touchdown run. Risner isn’t a premier athlete, but the nastiness, power, and heavy hands have translated into him being a strong run blocker instantly.

  1. Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants (N/A)

  • It’s crazy for a rookie QB to lead an 18-point comeback in the second half of a game on the road in their first career start. Daniel Jones went from unranked to top 20 because he was so impressive against the Buccaneers. Shurmur did a wonderful job playing to Jones strengths with RPOs, play-action passes, quick crossers in space, and using his mobility. He did struggle with fumbles when the pressure came down on him and needs to improve his awareness, but the numbers were big. He finished with 364 total yards and 4 total touchdowns. Jones shouldn’t be crowned yet and many are overreacting, but it’s an extremely promising start to his career.

  1. Dexter Lawrence, IDL, New York Giants (25)

  • Quietly one of the Giants other first-round picks has been a major player for them early. Dexter Lawrence has been impressive to start his career and despite the lack of value in drafting a nose tackle early there’s no denying his impact thus far. Lawrence has been the best rookie run defender in the league using his massive frame, power, and athleticism to eat up space and make plays. Against the Buccaneers, he showed some upside as a pass rusher coming away with a big sack. It probably won’t get much attention, but Lawrence is beginning to look like the Giants best player in their front seven. If he can be more consistent as a pass rusher the buzz will build.
  1. Taylor Rapp, S, Los Angeles Rams (16)

  • A lot of the time rookie impact is based upon how a team deploys the rookie. Are they putting him in the best position to succeed? Well, Wade Phillips certainly is with Taylor Rapp. With Eric Weddle and John Johnson locked in as the starting safeties they’ve used Rapp in a hybrid role. He’s been their go-to dime backer and done a great job in the role. Against the Browns Rapp had no issues covering both slot receivers and tight ends downfield. He did a good job using his size to win in coverage. Rapp was also impressive against the run. He’s not flashy, but his instincts, IQ, and technique make him such an instant impact player.
  1. Josh Allen, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (42)

  • There’s no denying a little bit of Minshew magic gave the Jaguars the win over the Titans on Thursday Night Football, but the pass rush was the true story. The Jaguars sacked Marcus Mariota NINE times and just destroyed their offense. Rookie first-round pick Josh Allen saw a major uptick in impact plays and made one of the biggest leaps in the rookie power rankings. Allen was giving the Titans OTs fits with his first-step explosiveness and speed. He finished with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 QB hits, and a forced fumble. The Jaguars look like they’re going to use him as a situational pass rusher going forward which makes the Jacksonville D-line terrifying on passing downs.

  1. Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns (8)

  • Somehow the Browns entire starting secondary was out against the Rams meaning, there was no play from Greedy Williams in Week 3. Williams has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury and might miss their game against the Ravens in Week 4. The secondary clearly missed his size and fluidity against the Rams trio of pass-catchers.
  1. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers (14)

  • After a huge game in Week 2, Deebo Samuel was far less involved in Week 3 against the Steelers. Kyle Shanahan didn’t scheme him the ball in space nearly as much and Jimmy Garoppolo spread the ball around to eight different pass catchers. Samuel still managed 3 receptions for 44 yards on 4 targets, but the target he didn’t catch hurt him. Samuel had the Steelers secondary beat for what would have been the 49ers biggest play of the day, but he couldn’t hold on. Still, Samuel looked like the 49ers most complete receiver and his role should only increase as the season goes on.
  1. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals (15)

  • The Cardinals lost to the Panthers was disheartening for Arizona fans. The offense looked solid early with four of its first six drives leading to points, but it’s final five drives resulted in a punt or an interception. Kyler Murray never quite got into a rhythm with how awful his offensive line played. It wasn’t an exciting passing game from Murray who averaged only 4 YPA and the vast majority of throws were at or behind the line of scrimmage. The O-line clearly has affected the way Kliff Kingsbury is calling games right now. In the second half, Murray tried to do too much and forced some throws into tight coverage that led to two interceptions. On the bright side, he flashed the impressive arm talent a few times on downfield throws and began to incorporate his running ability a little more. Get this man an O-line.

  1. Devin Bush, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (24)

  • It hasn’t been the hot start to Devin Bush’s rookie season that many people expected. The rookie has struggled and hasn’t run away with Defensive Rookie of the Year. He’s clearly added physicality and explosiveness to the Steelers LB corps, but his struggles against the pass have been evident. In the loss to the 49ers, Bush wasn’t perfect but led the team in tackles with 10 and made two splash plays with two fumble recoveries. Although the fumble recoveries aren’t necessarily huge plays by him it has a lot to do with him always finishing around the football. If Bush can do a better job covering TEs and cleanup his aggressiveness on play-action, then his play will start to match the buzz.
  1. Khari Willis, S, Indianapolis Colts (22)

  2. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills (13)

  3. Juan Thornhill, S, Kansas City Chiefs (21)

  4. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars (29)

  5. Byron Murphy, CB, Arizona Cardinals (18)

  6. TJ Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions (12)

  7. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Oakland Raiders (27)

  8. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Washington (38)

  9. Ryan Connelly, LB, New York Giants (45)

  10. Dre Greenlaw, LB, San Francisco 49ers (19)

  11. AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans (17)

  12. Christian Miller, EDGE, Carolina Panthers (N/A)

  13. Anthony Nelson, DL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26)

  14. Garrett Bradbury, C, Minnesota Vikings (33)

  15. Jahlani Tavai, LB, Detroit Lions (35)

  16. Blake Cashman, LB, New York Jets (31)

  17. Jamie Gillan, P, Cleveland Browns (41)

  18. Cole Holcomb, LB, Washington (28)

  19. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Indianapolis Colts (36)

  20. Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins (34)

  21. Jimmy Moreland, CB, Washington (32)

  22. Chase Winovich, EDGE, New England Patriots (43)

  23. Hunter Renfrow, WR, Oakland Raiders (40)

  24. Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys (N/A)

  25. Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills (N/A)

  26. Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (N/A)

  27. Elgton Jenkins, OG, Green Bay Packers (N/A)

  28. Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings (N/A)

  29. Oshane Ximines, EDGE, New York Giants (N/A)

  30. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (37)

Start the Rook

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington

  • Nobody should blame NFL fans for wanting to see Dwayne Haskins enter Washington’s Week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears. The Bears defense was dominating Case Keenum early and often, but it was smart for Jay Gruden not to throw Haskins to the wolves. Washington’s offensive line play has been shaky at best and the Bears have arguably the best front seven in football, it would have been a suicide mission. Now, it feels like time Washington gets prepared to make the move to Haskins. Their offense needs a spark with essentially no running game and Haskins arm talent can provide that spark, especially with the emergence of Terry McLaurin and Trey Quinn. Washington’s Bye isn’t until Week 10, but if they’re not going to start him this week against the Giants, then Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins feels like a strong time to make the move.

Previous Start the Rooks

Week 1- Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 2- Elgton Jenkins, OG, Green Bay Packers

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Author Details
I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.
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I’m Canadian as can be, other than the fact that I don’t care about hockey. I love football. The NFL is my life. I consider myself a football guy and I’d rather watch tape than anything else. I’m the Armchair NFL Draft analyst here. You can read my Armchair Scout columns and call me out for my draft misses. I’m also part of two podcasts at Armchair. Our NFL Draft podcast, 7 Rounds in Heaven, and the main NFL pod, Resting the Starters. I cheer for the Steelers, Raptors, Blue Jays, Oregon, and I guess the Leafs.

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