For the first time this season it felt as if it was a slight letdown in terms of rookie performances. Now, it wasn’t a bad week by any means there was plenty of Gardner Minshew magic, pass catchers making game-changing plays, and linebackers flying all over the field. Week 4 just didn’t have the same top dogs making consistent plays. It didn’t help that some of the best rookies were either out with an injury or on their Bye Week. Despite it not being a huge week of jaw-dropping performances we did see Dwayne Haskins get some snaps, although it was a terrible decision by Washington to just throw him into the fire mid-game. All in all, Week 4 was nice for defensive rookies who are flying under the radar, but Week 5 will be huge for some offensive skill guys to rebound.

Rookie of the Week

AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

  • The 2019 NFL season is starting to feel like the year of the rookie wide receiver. Each week at least one seems to put on a show, not surprising considering how deep and talented this crop is and it should continue. Week 4 was Titans WR AJ Brown’s turn to shine. He helped carry them to a win over the Falcons with a huge performance. He immediately gave the Titans momentum on their second drive taking a post 55 yards to the house. Brown put multiple defenders on skates and showed off why many considered him to be one of the best YAC WRs in the class. He didn’t stop there though catching a second TD in the corner of the end zone showing off wonderful tracking skills. Brown finished with 3 receptions for 94 yards and 2 TDs on 3 targets, not too shabby.

Previous Rookies of the Week

Week 1- Hollywood Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Week 2- Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns

Week 3- Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

Week 4 Rookie Power Rankings

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

  • Unfortunately, the 49ers were on their Bye Week in Week 4 which meant no Nick Bosa. Despite not playing, it was too hard to bump Bosa from the top spot in the rookie power rankings, he’s been that good this season. Statistically, through three games Bosa hasn’t blown anybody away, but when watching the games, he’s constantly creating havoc. In three games he has just 4 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, and 4 QB hits, but he’s been so much more dominant as a pass rusher than those numbers show. It’s likely that Bosa will see an even bigger role coming off the Bye Week and finally being healthy. A healthy Bosa next to DeForest Buckner is frightening, get ready for some impressive production.
  1. Erik McCoy, C, New Orleans Saints (5)

  • Most people aren’t familiar with the official NFL award for the offensive live of the year in the NFL aka the Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year. Well, through four games the New Orleans Saints should be leading the race. Not only did they pull off the 12-10 upset win of the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, but once again the OL held the offense together when they need to without Drew Brees. It’s honestly time that Erik McCoy is mentioned as a potential Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, he’s been that good. Offensively it wasn’t pretty and they gave up sacks, but McCoy was their best player. He was unbeatable in pass protection showing off an impressive base and anchor. In the run game, he seamlessly worked off doubles to the LBs to create inside space for Alvin Kamara. McCoy is the real deal.
  1. Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (7)

  • The fun of Gardner Minshew started off as just that, a little fun to buy into while Nick Foles is out. Now, it’s starting to feel like the Jaguars might have actually found their long-term starting QB. Once again Minshew created magic with a last-second 26-24 win over the Broncos. He led them back from being down 17-3 and won the game with a 60-yard drive in under two minutes to put them in field goal range. His ability to stay calm is rare for a rookie and he consistently created when the play broke down. Minshew might not wow with physical tools, but the IQ, poise, and accuracy are getting the job done. He threw for 213 yards and 2 TDs in the win.

  1. Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers (2)

  • It wasn’t the flashiest game for Darnell Savage against the Eagles on Thursday Night Football. The Packers defense struggled for the first time giving up 34 points, but they held Carson Wentz to just 160 passing yards thanks to a strong performance from the secondary. Savage made a few stick tackles, but his best work came when asked to mirror Nelson Agholor or Dallas Goedert. He lacks size, but he’s such a gifted and smooth athlete and had no trouble covering them. Even with a lack of pass rush the secondary basically shut down the Eagles passing game and kept everything short. As the season goes on it’ll be interesting to see if Mike Pettine takes even more advantage of Savage’s versatility as a chess piece.
  1. Brian Bruns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers (6)

  • The Panthers beat the Texans 16-10 thanks to a dominant defensive performance, particularly from their pass rush. They sacked Deshaun Watson six times and never let him get comfortable in the pocket. Brian Burns once again had an impressive showing thanks to his natural ability to bend and his explosive first step. Burns added a half a sack, but did so much more with constant pressure and added 3 QB hits. He did that in barely half the Panthers defensive snaps. On the season as a rotational pass rusher, he’s now up to 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFLs, and 9 QB hits. That’s big production from a rookie in their first four games. Burns is on pace to lead all rookies in sacks.
  1. Hollywood Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (3)

  • For the second straight week, the Ravens passing attack was disappointing. Lamar Jackson struggled to get into a rhythm and Hollywood Brown had very little impact. Brown finished with just 4 receptions on 7 targets for 22 yards and had a dropped pass. The Browns did a great job focusing their coverage on stopping him from creating big plays. He struggled to make YAC plays on his short passes and it became clear if you keep him and Jackson away from the home run ball then this offense loses a lot of what makes it scary. It doesn’t help Brown that they lack a consistent WR corps around him and teams are able to focus in on him with no fear of the others.
  1. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington (4)

  • The train wreck that was Dwayne Haskins NFL debut against Washington wasn’t helped by the fact the team was without Terry McLaurin. McLaurin missed the game with a hamstring issue and the offense was unwatchable. It’s clear even as a rookie he’s their most talented and consistent playmaker on the offense. In each of the three games he’s played this season he’s been on the field for at least 90% of the offensive snaps. He’s put up 16 receptions for 257 yards and 3 scores while being both their biggest deep threat and most trustworthy chain mover. The next time Haskins is in a game he’ll be thankful to have college teammate McLaurin.
  1. Dalton Risner, OG, Denver Broncos (12)

  • The Broncos offensive line might have had their best overall performance of the season in their 26-24 loss to the Jaguars. They kept Joe Flacco clean giving up no sacks and helped Phillip Lindsay produce some chunk runs. The best of the bunch was Dalton Risner. He’s looking more and more like a future Pro Bowler. On Linday’s 28-yard run Risner was downfield driving people and created a massive running lane. On the TE screen, Noah Fant took to the house Risner was out in front and made a key block on Myles Jack. He’s the enforcer upfront for Mike Munchak and the future leader of this group.

  1. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders (9)

  • The Raiders got a lead early on the Colts and never looked back. One again Josh Jacobs was the offenses bell-cow grinding out yards late and putting away the game. He didn’t rip off any home runs, but he had some nice chunk running where his short-area quickness and contact balance were key. What really stood out in this game was his ability as a pass protector. Most young backs struggled to get on the field due to their inability to pass protect, but that’s a huge reason Jacobs is seeing so many snaps already. He was a little bit involved in the passing game, but the Raiders need to work some screens to him going forward because he brings so much ability as a pass-catcher. Jacobs finished with 108 total yards on 19 touches.

  1. Dexter Lawrence, IDL, New York Giants (14)

  • Washington just couldn’t run the ball on the Giants whatsoever. It killed their offense and really killed Dwayne Haskins chances once he was thrown to the wolves. It might not be reflected in the stat sheets, but Dexter Lawrence was a major presence upfront. The Washington O-line just couldn’t move him in the run game. He anchored down and ate up space like it was nobody’s business. He also saw a higher percentage of defensive snaps in the 24-3 win than he had seen the previous three games. If Lawrence can begin to consistently push the pocket as a pass rusher, then his overall role will increase. For now, he’s the best rookie run defender in the NFL.
  1. Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants (13)

  • So Daniel Jones second career start wasn’t nearly as pretty as his debut, but he got the job done in the win over Washington. Outside of a couple of bad decisions, he played well and once again gave Giants fans hope. He basically made three poor choices, two of which led to interceptions while the other was dropped by the defense. Other than that, Pat Shurmur called a strong game for him taking advantage of RPOs and play-action passes, where he’s most comfortable. Jones was poised and kept clean pretty much all game. He got the ball out quick to his playmakers in space and is beginning to build strong chemistry with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. Once again he did a good job using his mobility to create plays. Jones finished with 258 total yards and 2 total TDs.

  1. Khari Willis, S, Indianapolis Colts (21)

  • The best rookie absolutely nobody is talking about outside of Indiana and maybe East Lansing is Khari Willis. Willis was a fourth-round pick out of Michigan State by Chris Ballard and has made an immediate impact as a rookie. In his first career start against the Raiders, he was the team’s best defensive player and played every single snap. Willis brought energy and physicality to the field. His best play was on a misdirection screen where most of the Colts defense was going the wrong way, but he read it and fired up to make the play for a loss. Later in the game, he nearly intercepted a pass too. He finished with 9 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 PBU.

  1. Devin Bush, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (20)

  • With everybody watching, maybe, on Monday Night Football Devin Bush finally had his breakout game. Bush had been a bit up and down to start the season and struggled a lot in coverage. Against the Bengals, he was the force the Steelers needed and played a huge role in holding the Bengals to just 175 yards in the 27-3 win. Bush came in hot on a blitz for an early sack and never looked back. Later in the game, he added a huge TFL on a screen pass that he sniffed out instantly. He looked much better in coverage carrying TEs downfield and using his athleticism to make up for a lack of size. Of course, he was a monster vs. the run making plays sideline-to-sideline. Bush finished with 9 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack, and a PBU.

  1. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks (8)

  • For the first time this season DK Metcalf was held without a major play for the Seahawks. He had just 1 reception for 9 yards on 2 targets, not great. The Cardinals did a great job of containing his big-play ability and the Seahawks used him as a decoy downfield. With his constant big-play ability Seattle had him just going deep to clear out underneath routes for a quick passing attack in space. Going forward it will be important for Metcalf to show more of a complete game. He plays nearly 100% of his snaps on the left side and rarely runs more than a few routes. Metcalf has an abundance of talent and now just needs to continue to develop as a receiver.
  1. Ed Oliver, IDL, Buffalo Bills (11)

  • The Buffalo Bills defense proved they are for real against the Patriots. They held Tom Brady and the gang to just 224 total yards and 16 points. The Bills defense did enough to win the game. Once again Ed Oliver’s contributions didn’t end up in the stats. He had just 1 QB hit in the game, but played well over half the defensive snaps and helped shut down the run game. The Patriots ran for just 74 yards and averaged 3.2 YPA thanks to Oliver and the front seven. The questions surrounding his ability to anchor down vs. the run are gone after his first few NFL games.
  1. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (10)

  • After stringing together some strong performances Mecole Hardman had his worst game this week against the Lions. Hardman had just 2 receptions for 9 yards and fumbled on a kick return. He was a net negative in the game for the Chiefs. The entire team struggled in the game and the pass catchers as a whole were not good. Hardman should bounce back, but it would be nice to see the Chiefs more consistently manufacture touches for him on screen passes, jet sweeps, and pop passes. His YAC and explosiveness are dangerous.
  1. AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans (31)

  • The rookie of the week obviously had an impressive performance in the Titans win over the Falcons. Tennessee is starting to figure out what they have in Brown. He’s not going to wow with route running so get him the ball quickly in space and let his impressive YAC ability make plays. That’s what they did on the 55-yard TD. If Brown can start winning on downfield routes he’ll be a perfect companion to Corey Davis. So far this season he’s played just under 50% of the offensive snaps but has 10 receptions for 223 yards and 2 TDs. Finding a defined role for him going forward is key.
  1. Ryan Connelly, LB, New York Giants (29)

  • This sucks. Ryan Connelly had his best performance of his surprisingly strong rookie year against Washington, but he ended up tearing his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. He was a major reason the Giants easily defeated Washington. Connelly intercepted Case Keenum on Washington’s opening drive and it led to a Giants TD. On the next drive he had a key sack that forced a punt. Connelly finished with 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, and 1 PBU. On the season he was up to 20 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, and 2 INTs and looked at home as the Giants starting inside linebacker. It’s a crushing injury to an impressive rookie season.
  1. TJ Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions (26)

  • After a poor Week 3 game, TJ Hockenson had a major bounce back against the Chiefs. Hock caught 3 passes on 3 targets for 27 yards and a touchdown while making a massive impact as a run blocker. Unfortunately, he got injured late in the game trying to hurdle a defender and will miss some time. His ability to contribute both as a seam mismatch and red zone threat are going to be huge for Matthew Stafford and the offenses big play ability. What he does in the run game cannot be slept on either, he’s a force. Having a young TE come in and instantly make an impact as an in-line blocker is rare.
  1. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals (19)

  • Poor Kyler Murray is rarely given a chance in this Kliff Kingsbury offense due to the offensive line. The vast majority of passes are in the quick game to get his playmakers in space and rarely do they show off Murray’s impressive downfield accuracy. Against Seattle, the game plan was ball out quick to David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Christian Kirk. They need to build up this O-line and find a deep threat to really start cooking. Murray showed nice poise, mobility, and accuracy, but it wasn’t a terrific game. He threw a pick-six that was more of a great play by JD Clowney than a poor throw from Murray. He finished with 268 total yards and 1 rushing TD.

  1. Taylor Rapp, S, Los Angeles Rams (15)

  2. Josh Allen, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (16)

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

  4. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers (18)

  5. Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns (17)

  6. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills (22)

  7. Juan Thornhill, S, Kansas City Chiefs (23)

  8. Elgton Jenkins, OG, Green Bay Packers (47)

  9. Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (46)

  10. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars (24)

  11. Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills (45)

  12. Byron Murphy, CB, Arizona Cardinals (25)

  13. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Indianapolis Colts (39)

  14. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Washington (28)

  15. Oshane Ximines, EDGE, New York Giants (49)

  16. Dre Greenlaw, LB, San Francisco 49ers (30)

  17. Cole Holcomb, LB, Washington (38)

  18. Jamie Gillan, P, Cleveland Browns (37)

  19. Christian Miller, EDGE, Carolina Panthers (32)

  20. Blake Cashman, LB, New York Jets (36)

  21. Christian Wilins, IDL, Miami Dolphins (N/A)

  22. Anthony Nelson, DL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (33)

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

  24. Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins (40)

  25. Garrett Bradbury, C, Minnesota Vikings (34)

  26. Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Oakland Raiders (N/A)

  27. Chase Winovich, EDGE, New England Patriots (42)

  28. Hunter Renfrow, WR, Oakland Raiders (43)

  29. Jimmy Moreland, CB, Washington (41)

  30. Greg Little, OT, Carolina Panthers (N/A)

Start the Rook

Oshane Ximines, EDGE, New York Giants

  • The Giants and GM Dave Gettleman got more flack than anybody for the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s early, but they’ve had some of the best rookie performances thus far. One of the rookies flying most under the radar so far this season is Giants third-round pick Oshane Ximines. He’s flashed in all four games this season and has seen an uptick in snaps each week. So far this season he’s put up 10 tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 sacks, and 3 QB hits. Ximines isn’t an elite athlete, but he’s shown off impressive handwork early in his career and it’s translated to pressure on quarterbacks. He may not have big traits, but sticking Ximines opposite an athletic freak like Lorenzo Carter is the best move for the future of the Giants pass rush. They compliment each other well and provide far more upside than starting veterans.

Previous Start the Rooks

Week 1- Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 2- Elgton Jenkins, OG, Green Bay Packers

Week 3- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington

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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.
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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