Rookie performances in Week 5 of the NFL season started with a bang and ended with a bomb, both brought to you by the NFC West. On Thursday Night Football we saw DK Metcalf haul in another crucial touchdown to help the Seattle Seahawks to a key win and to end the week we saw Nick Bosa personally ruin the Cleveland Browns offense on Monday Night Football. About a third of the way into the NFL season rookies are beginning to take on prominent roles for teams and some have been massive difference-makers thus far. Kyler Murray is beginning to get comfortable, Josh Jacobs is starting to look like one of the best backs in the league, Gardner Minshew might be the short and long-term answer in Jacksonville, and Bosa and Brian Burns are quickly becoming two of the best young pass rushers in the game. Rookies once again starred this week in the NFL.

Rookie of the Week

Nick Bosa, EDGE, San Francisco 49ers

  • Well, Nick Bosa had about as dominant a performance as a pass rusher can and not just for a rookie. He was the best player on the field from kickoff to the final whistle and helped the 49ers shut down Baker Mayfield and the Browns. They held Cleveland to just 180 total yards in the 31-6 win and Bosa was the star. Not only did he have the best celebration of the season by getting revenge on Mayfield and planting the flag, but his stats finally matched his unbelievable play. Bosa has been the best rookie this season, the numbers just hadn’t shown it, until now. He finished with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 9 total pressures, a forced fumble, and a recovery. It was one of the greatest rookie performances to date and feels like the defining game for a likely Defensive Rookie of the Year season.

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

Wee 4- AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

Week 5 Rookie Power Rankings

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

  • It’s going to take a lot to move Nick Bosa off the top spot on the rookie power rankings, especially after his performance in Week 5 on Monday Night Football. Not only was he the best rookie heading into the week, but he put on a show with the best rookie game of the season. Browns left tackle Greg Robinson had no answer for Bosa’s elite hand usage and leverage. He got handled for the entire game. Bosa picked up two sacks, but his performance was so much more than those numbers. He was all over Mayfield throughout the game and never allowed him to get into a rhythm. Bosa also played strong against the run with a pair of run stops. He’s a complete edge defender and a cornerstone for the 49ers.

  1. Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers (5)

  • When Sunday’s slate of games concluded Brian Burns was well on his way to being the Week 5 Rookie of the Week. Unfortunately for him Bosa was unstoppable on MNF. Even still, Burns game has him leading for Defensive Rookie of the Year in some analyst’s eyes. He was a problem the entire game for the Jacksonville Jaguars O-line. They couldn’t handle his explosive first step, bend, and non-stop motor. Burns even scored himself with a 56-yard fumble return TD. On top of the score, he picked up a strip-sack of his own and multiple pressures. Burns is a freaky athlete on the edge and currently second among all rookies in sacks with 3.5. His role should continue to increase.

  1. Erik McCoy, C, New Orleans Saints (2)

  • It still feels as if Erik McCoy isn’t getting the attention he deserves for a fantastic start to his NFL career. The rookie has helped steady an immensely talented offensive line that has kept the Saints rolling despite the injury to Drew Brees. Against the Buccaneers McCoy was a lockdown pass protector and did a great job identifying and picking up blitzes. The Saints O-line was able to give Teddy Bridgewater plenty of times to make plays downfield in their 31-24 win. He was also an asset in the run game, per usual, consistently working up to the Tampa Bay LBs and creating holes up front. McCoy is already one of the best centers in football.

  1. Gardner Minshew, QB Jacksonville Jaguars (3)

  • At no point, this season has Gardner Minshew had the Jaguars completely out of a game that he started. In the loss to the Panthers, he had them playing with a chance to win late, but the magic ran out. Still, it was another impressive game from the rookie sixth-round pick and the question is louder than ever, is this the guy for Jacksonville? Is Nick Foles being Drew Bledsoe’d? If Minshew keeps stringing games like this together it’s his job. Once again he was a poised playmaker getting the ball into DJ Chark’s hands for a pair of scores. His ability to create when the play breaks down is what makes him so lethal. Even after losing three fumbles, two on strip sacks, Minshew nearly carried the Jaguars back. He’s endeared himself to this fan base. He had 416 total yards while completing 59% on 8.5 YPA.

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

  • It turns out Josh Jacobs is even better across the pond. Jacobs helped carry the Raiders to a surprising 24-21 win over the Bears and it was clear he was the focal point of Jon Gruden’s offensive game plan. He was their bell cow just consistently ripping off chunk runs behind some great blocking up front from the Raiders. Jacobs and his combo of quickness, contact balance, and physicality is a joy to watch. He’s well on his way to becoming one of the better running backs in the league and is a perfect fit for Gruden. They even got him slightly more involved in the passing game as a receiver. Once again his ability as a pass blocker stood out and it’s a constant reminder that young backs who can pass protect will get on the field. Jacobs finished with 143 total yards and 2 TDs on 29 touches.

  1. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington (7)

  • Despite all the uncertainty in Washington rookie WR Terry McLaurin continues to be their most consistent weapon. The offense was basically non-existent in their 33-7 loss to the Patriots, but when McLaurin was given a chance he made plays. He finished with 3 receptions for 51 yards, but it was clear his athleticism and route running was hard for the Patriots secondary to handle. With Jay Gruden out as head coach it could mean Dwayne Haskins will see the field sooner rather than later, which is good news for McLaurin. Either way, OC Kevin O’Connell is likely going to make McLaurin the focal point of the offense every week.

  1. Dalton Risner, OG, Denver Broncos (8)

  • Offensive linemen never quite get the credit they deserve and that couldn’t be truer than with these rookies. Dalton Risner once again was by far the Broncos best man up front and paved the way to a victory. He was dominant in the run game getting up to the second level and was excellent when asked to pull. Risner helped the Broncos run for 191 yards in their 20-13 win over the Chargers. He also did a solid job in pass protection keeping the interior from collapsing the pocket on Joe Flacco. He’s well on his way to a Pro Bowl career.
  1. Hollywood Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (6)

  • The Ravens passing offense continues to be inconsistent which means Hollywood Brown continues to not match his jaw-dropping Week 1 numbers. It wasn’t a bad game for Brown, but he and Lamar Jackson are still working on their chemistry downfield. They’ve missed a handful of opportunities on home run balls in recent weeks. Another downside was Brown was banged up in the game and missed over 50% of the Ravens snaps. He still managed to catch a TD on an incredible play through contact but finished with just 3 receptions for 22 yards. Unleashing Brown’s ability as a deep threat is key for the Ravens passing game to find its footing.

  1. Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers (4)

  • The Packers defense dominated the Cowboys offense for much of America’s Game of the Week and they did so without the services of rookie safety Darnell Savage. Savage left the game with an injured ankle pretty early on in the first quarter and did not return. Although the Packers won 34-24 they felt the effects of losing Savage, especially late when the Cowboys started to come back a bit. His ability in coverage has been a huge advantage to the team so far this season. Not having him to protect the backend allowed for Amari Cooper to make big plays late. Luckily for Green Bay, Savage is expected to be fine and should return in Week 6.
  1. Khari Willis, S, Indianapolis Colts (12)

  • It was a shocker on Sunday Night Football when the banged-up Colts defense held the Chiefs explosive offense in check in a 19-13 victory. Patrick Mahomes was banged up, but still holding this Chiefs team to just 324 yards is impressive. Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus did a great job getting big plays out of his defense. One of the guys making big plays was Khari Willis. Willis might be the most surprising impressive rookie this season. Once again he was a force around the line of scrimmage coming up and stuffing the run. His instincts, physicality, and IQ have allowed him to shine as the Colts starting strong safety despite some physical limitations. Once Malik Hooker is healthy these two will make one of the most intriguing young safety duos in football.

  1. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks (14)

  • After a quiet Week 4, DK Metcalf showed up in a large way on Thursday Night Football. He only saw 3 targets but made the most of them with 2 receptions for 44 yards and a score. The TD came early in the game on a 40-yard play where he blew right by the Rams secondary and gave the Seahawks a 14-6 lead. Right now Metcalf is a bit one dimensional as an X who only lines up on the left side and wins on deep routes, but he’s owning the role. He’s a height-weight-speed freak and with Russell Wilson at an MVP level and Tyler Lockett dominating, Metcalf is playing the exact role Seattle needs from him.

  1. Dexter Lawrence, IDL, New York Giants (10)

  • It’s no secret the Giants are a mess and their defense is full of washed-up former playmakers and young nobodies. One of their few consistent starters is rookie Dexter Lawrence. Although Lawrence wasn’t able to singlehandedly stop Dalvin Cook from running all over the Giants defense, he did a good job clogging up the middle. Lawrence might not be worth where he was taken, but he’s looked like a long-term high-quality starting interior defensive lineman. He was even able to push the pocket somewhat against Minnesota picking up a sack and having another one called back. Lawrence finished with 5 tackles, 1 QB hit, and 1 sack.

  1. Devin Bush, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (13)

  • Even with all of the injuries and inconsistencies on offense for the Steelers, there’s some hope thanks to the defense. They’ve begun to find their way with much more consistent play. Devin Bush is one of those guys tightening things up and playing better each week. Even in their 26-23 OT loss to the Ravens, the Steelers defense kept things relatively quiet. Bush was all over the run game and continued to make strides with his ability in coverage. He did jump off-side on a 4thdown attempt but made up for it immediately with a fantastic INT down the field. Bush still needs to be a more consistent player in coverage, but he’s looked promising. He finished with 8 tackles, 1 PBU, and the INT.

  1. Ed Oliver, IDL, Buffalo Bills (15)

  • It’s safe to say the Bills have an elite defense right now. They held the Titans to just 252 total yards and seven points in their win. They’re getting production out of everybody, but the D-line stepped up big against Tennessee. They combined for five sacks, three of which came from Jordan Phillips and although Ed Oliver didn’t cash in, he was making plays. Oliver was a big part of the reason Phillips was seeing one-on-ones and was able to get home. Against the run Oliver once again proved his doubters wrong by anchoring down and making plays at the line of scrimmage. He helped hold Derrick Henry to just 78 rushing yards. Oliver finished with 6 tackles and a 0.5 TFL. The pass rush will come, but seeing his ability as a run defender make an impact this early is promising.
  1. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals (20)

  • The Cardinals finally won a game and a lot of the credit goes to first overall pick Kyler Murray. Murray played his best game of the season and even led a two-minute drill for a game-winning field goal. On that final drive, he made a wow downfield throw and added a huge run up the middle. The scoring was inconsistent throughout the game and the Cardinals struggled to finish drives, but Murray was comfortable, getting the ball out quick, and seeing the whole field. His play of the game came early on a 4thdown naked bootleg TD run where he reminded the world, he’s an elite runner at QB. The key for Murray now is continuing to grow in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and stringing together some strong games. He finished with 346 total yards and 1 TD.

  1. Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants (11)

  • The Daniel Jones stans have quieted down in recent weeks, but Jones flashed some stuff in the Giants 28-10 loss to the Vikings. When he’s comfortable he can push the ball downfield and make big plays, like the 35-yard TD to fellow rookie Darius Slayton. Jones looked good once again on RPOs, play-action passes, and the short game, but struggled under pressure. He was missing throws high and forcing them into tight coverage. Jones needs the offense tailored to him at all times right now, not surprising for a rookie, and Shurmur has done a fairly good job of it. It doesn’t help that he’s without Saquon Barkley and loses Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram for the foreseeable future. He completed 55% of his throws on 4.8 YPA for 182 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.

  1. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (16)

  • There’s no denying the Chiefs offense had major struggles against the Colts. Mahomes couldn’t make the same mouth-watering plays with his ankle banged up and the passing game suffered. Mecole Hardman still managed 4 receptions for 79 yards in the game and made a couple of big plays for the team. With injuries to Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins teams have zeroed in on stopping him from making big plays with his downfield burners. When the WR corps is fully healthy again Hardman should be able to be a key weapon when facing single coverage. It would be nice if the Chiefs more consistently got him involved in schemed completions to take advantage of his YAC ability.

  1. Josh Allen, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (22)

  • Despite being overshadowed by Bosa and Burns’ big performances in Week 5, Jaguars first-round rookie Josh Allen had a nice game himself. Allen was giving trouble to the Panthers O-line throughout the game. On passing downs, the Jaguars played him and Yannick Ngakoue at defensive end with Calais Campbell on the inside and it was scary. Allen is still learning to win with his hands, but the combo of length and explosiveness was enough to get him wins. The motor was showing up in the run game with some stops and his ability to move around was an asset. He finished with 5 tackles, 2 QB hits, and a sack.

  1. Elgton Jenkins, OG, Green Bay Packers (28)

  • During the later years of the Mike McCarthy era in Green Bay the team never found a rhythm running the football. Early on in the Matt LaFleur era they look like a different team with the ground n’ pound. Rookie left guard Elgton Jenkins has played a major role in their run game since entering the starting lineup in Week 3. Jenkins power, movement skills, and edge have been exactly what the Packers needed at the left guard spot. Against the Cowboys, he was getting on their LBs and creating easy lanes for Aaron Jones to hit. He helped Jones run for over 100 yards and 4 TDs while averaging 5.6 YPA. Jenkins is going to be starting for a long time.

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

  • It’s got to be frustrating for the young Titans WRs right now in this offense. Marcus Mariota is rarely comfortable behind a poor O-line and struggles to get his weapons the ball. After a Rookie of the Week performance against the Falcons, AJ Brown was kept quiet in the loss to the Bills. He had just 2 receptions for 27 yards and only saw those two targets. Brown even had a TD play called back to add insult to injury. The Titans passing game doesn’t have any identity right now and they need to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers. With Brown’s big-time YAC ability they should be getting him involved more in the screen game.
  1. TJ Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions (19)

  2. Juan Thornhill, S, Kansas City Chiefs (27)

  3. Ryan Connelly, LB, New York Giants (18)

  4. Taylor Rapp, S, Los Angeles Rams (21)

  5. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Oakland Raiders (23)

  6. Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Oakland Raiders (46)

  7. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars (30)

  8. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers (24)

  9. Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns (25)

  10. Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills (31)

  11. Chase Winovich, EDGE, New England Patriots (47)

  12. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills (26)

  13. Dionte Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (29)

  14. Byron Murphy, CB, Arizona Cardinals (32)

  15. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Indianapolis Colts (33)

  16. Oshane Ximines, EDGE, New York Giants (35)

  17. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Washington (34)

  18. Jamie Gillan, P, Cleveland Browns (38)

  19. Cole Holcomb, LB, Washington (37)

  20. Christian Miller, EDGE, Carolina Panthers (39)

  21. Blake Cashman, LB, New York Jets (40)

  22. Garrett Bradbury, C, Minnesota Vikings (45)

  23. Justin Skule, OT, San Francisco 49ers (N/A)

  24. Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants (N/A)

  25. Foster Moreau, TE, Oakland Raiders (N/A)

  26. Charles Omenihu, DL, Houston Texans (N/A)

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

  28. Bobby Okereke, LB, Indianapolis Colts (N/A)

  29. Max Scharping, OG, Houston Texans (N/A)

  30. Mack Wilson, LB, Cleveland Browns (N/A)

Start the Rook

Jerry Tillery, IDL, Los Angeles Chargers

  • It’s fair to say the Los Angeles Chargers have not gotten off to the start they hoped for in 2019. They’re 2-3 and currently third in the AFC West and will have a long road to making a playoff push. Last season they were 8thin defensive DVOA, but injuries and inconsistent play have had them slide all the way to 28th so far this season. A move it’s time for the Chargers to make is starting the first-round rookie, Jerry Tillery. Tillery has seen under 50% of defensive snaps in four of five Chargers games this year and he needs to be on the field. The last two weeks he’s flashed his pass rush upside when given the opportunity. At a minimum, he needs to be playing 3-Technique on passing downs to allow his explosiveness and violent hands to push the interior of the pocket and help this defense.

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

Week 4- Oshane Ximines, EDGE, New York Giants

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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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