The NFL season is finally here which means heartbreak for plenty of fan bases every week. It also means finally seeing the debut of many rookies from the 2019 NFL Draft class. It’s an exciting time, especially when a teams first-round pick shows they’re worth every penny. An even better feeling is when a team finds a diamond in the rough. Rookie success isn’t everything but seeing players show immediate promise can inspire a franchise and fan base that they’re trending in the right direction. The 2019 NFL season will be full of excitement and much of the excitement will come from the rookie class. This is the 2019 rookie spectacular, looking at all things NFL rookie. Follow the column all season long for the weekly rookie power rankings and find out how your teams rookie class is performing.

Preseason First-Round Rookie QB Grades

Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Stats: 416 passing yards, 85.3%, 12.2 YPA, 2 TDs, 137.3 rating (4 games)

  • There might not have been a more surprising preseason rookie performance than that of Daniel Jones’. After months of the Giants and Jones taking flack for him going sixth overall, he shut the critics up with four impressive preseason games. Pat Shurmur did a phenomenal job taking advantage of what Jones does best. They went RPO and play-action heavy and Jones showed off his quick decision making and accuracy. A few times he struggled with pocket awareness which led to fumbles as he adjusted to NFL speed. It was as promising a rookie performance for Jones as the Giants could have hoped for, too bad Eli will be starting.

Grade: A-

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Stats: 193 passing yards, 63.9%, 5.4 YPA, 13 rushing yards, 77.7 rating (3 games)

  • It was a somewhat disappointing preseason performance from first overall pick Kyler Murray. Murray played in three of four games but didn’t score a touchdown. Despite no points for Murray, there were flashes of potential for him in the Kliff Kingbury offense. A part of the reason he didn’t boom statistically was the offense was kept vanilla. Murray was rarely asked to push the ball downfield, something he excels at, and the majority of his throws were quick outs. It didn’t help that he had awful pass protection throughout the preseason. Take the Murray preseason performance with a grain of salt. He has all the athletic tools and arm talent to thrive in Kingsbury’s offense.

Grade: C+

Dwayne Haskins, Washington

Stats: 409 passing yards, 55.2%, 7.1 YPA, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 21 rushing yards, 74.6 rating (4 games)

  • It was a tough preseason for Dwayne Haskins at times. He was quite inconsistent. Of his four preseason games, the first and third were poor performances, but the second and fourth showed flashes of his talent. Haskins just didn’t seem comfortable which is understandable considering he was only a one-year starter in college. A lot of the time he was throwing late and lacked timing and chemistry with his pass-catchers. He also struggled with pocket awareness and feeling the rush. There were some misreadings of coverages too that led to poor decisions. On a positive note, he looked strong with the play-action pass game and was not afraid to stand tall vs. the pass rush. Haskins clearly wanted to attack downfield and his arm looked impressive, he’s just not ready to start.

Grade: C-

Rookie Awards

Offensive Rookie of the Year: David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

  • Unlike 2018 with Saquon Barkley, there’s no clear Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite. Currently, David Montgomery has the fifth-highest odds to win the award at +1200 and what gives him the advantage is the team he is on. The Bears offense has one of the best offensive lines in the league and a genius play-caller in Matt Nagy. Montgomery is very similar to Kareem Hunt, whom Nagy had in Kansas City. Expect his contact balance, vision, and pass-catching ability to lead to a lot of yards despite a lack of natural athleticism. Montgomery is a perfect fit in this offense.

Darkhorse contender: Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

  • Based on the betting odds Deebo Samuel isn’t a massive dark horse for OROY. He’s currently tied for the seventh-highest odds at +2000. It just seems unlikely a wide receiver will win the award in a class with Kyler Murray, Josh Jacobs, Darrell Henderson, and Montgomery. Something that can help Samuel is his gadget ability. At South Carolina, he was often used on jet sweeps or a wildcat QB. Kyle Shanahan will take advantage of that versatility. It also helps Samuel that he’s a technician, a true route runner extraordinaire and those players tend to translate to the NFL much more successfully. With just Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin locked in above him on the depth chart, Samuel can be the go-to slot.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Bush, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Unlike OROY, Defensive Rookie of the Year is loaded with options. Since his preseason debut though, Devin Bush has been the clear favorite to win. He’s got the best odds at +600, tied with Devin White, and should be playing a lot of snaps early for Pittsburgh. Bush is currently listed behind Mark Barron on the Steelers depth chart, but that shouldn’t last. They need Bush’s aggressive and explosive style of play to take the next step. He can be their next Ryan Shazier with the athleticism and leadership he brings to the defense. Bush could have a Darius Leonard type of impact with his sideline-to-sideline speed. Don’t be surprised to see him rack up insane tackling production.

Darkhorse contender: Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers

  • Betting on a defensive back to win DROY is a risky decision. Since 1967, when the award first began, only 10 DBs have taken it home. For context 24 linebackers have won it in that time. What’s even riskier is Darnell Savage currently has the 19thhighest odds at +3300, five DBs have better odds than him. So why Savage? Well, first of all, his last name is Savage and he’s wearing #21 this season. Need more reasons? He’s an explosive and versatile weapon who turns into a human bullet when there’s a play to be made in front of him. That means plenty of highlight-reel hits. Savage is also joining a Mike Pettine defense with plenty of potential and he feels like the missing piece to the young talented secondary. Expect him to be the chess piece on the backend.

Best QB: Kyler Murray, Cardinals

Best RB: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Best WR: DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

Best TE: TJ Hockenson, Detroit Lions

Best OL: Garrett Bradbury, Minnesota Vikings

Best IDL: Quinnen Williams, New York Jets

Best EDGE: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

Best LB: Devin Bush, Pittsburgh Steelers

Best CB: Byron Murphy, Arizona Cardinals

Best S: Darnell Savage, Green Bay Packers

Preseason All-Rookie Team

Position Player Team Round/Pick
QB Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals 1st/1st
RB David Montgomery Chicago Bears 3rd/73rd
RB Josh Jacobs Oakland Raiders 1st/24th
WR DK Metcalf Seattle Seahawks 2nd/64th
WR Deebo Samuel San Francisco 49ers 2nd/36th
WR Terry McLaurin Washington 3rd/76th
TE TJ Hockenson Detroit Lions 1st/8th
OT Cody Ford Buffalo Bills 2nd/38th
OT Jawaan Taylor Jacksonville Jaguars 2nd/35th
OG Dalton Risner Denver Broncos 2nd/41st
OG Chris Lindstrom Atlanta Falcons 1st/14th
C Garrett Bradbury Minnesota Vikings 1st/18th
EDGE Nick Bosa San Francisco 49ers 1st/2nd
IDL Quinnen Williams New York Jets 1st/3rd
IDL Ed Oliver Buffalo Bills 1st/9th
EDGE Brian Burns Carolina Panthers 1st/16th
LB Devin White Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1st/5th
LB Devin Bush Pittsburgh Steelers 1st/10th
LB Josh Allen Jacksonville Jaguars 1st/7th
CB Rock Ya-Sin Indianapolis Colts 2nd/34th
NB Byron Murphy Arizona Cardinals 2nd/33rd
S Darnell Savage Green Bay Packers 1st/21st
S Nasir Adderley Los Angeles Chargers 2nd/60th
CB Deandre Baker New York Giants 1st/30th
K Matt Gay Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5th/145th
P Mitch Wishnowsky San Francisco 49ers 4th/110th
RS Deonte Harris New Orleans Saints UDFA
ST Drue Tranquill Los Angeles Chargers 4th/130th

Rookie Stat Leaders

Rookie QB leaders:

QB Team Completion % Passing yards (YPA) TD:INT Rating Ruhsing yards/TDs
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals 58.3% 3,120 (6.5) 22:14 80.9 640/5
Dwayne Haskins Washington 60.6% 1,636 (6.2) 15:7 86.3 200/2
Daniel Jones New York Giants 60% 1,320 (6.7) 10:4 87.9 240/3
Ryan Finley Cincinnati Bengals 53.3% 412 (5.5) 3:1 77.19 50/0
Jarrett Stidham New England Patriots 60% 175 (7.0) 1:0 94.58 30/0

Rookie RB leaders:

RB Team Rushing yards (YPA) Receiving yards Total TDs
David Montgomery Chicago Bears 1,120 (4.4) 480 10
Josh Jacobs Oakland Raiders 1,088 (4.2) 300 8
Devin Singletary Buffalo Bills 768 (4.3) 400 5
Miles Sanders Philadelphia Eagles 608 (4.8) 150 6
Justice Hill Baltimore Ravens 560 (5.1) 320 5

Rookie WR leaders:

WR Team Receptions Receiving yards AVG TDs
DK Metcalf Seattle Seahawks 56 840 15.0 6
Deebo Samuel San Francisco 49ers 72 756 10.5 5
Terry McLaurin Washington 64 736 11.5 4
Hollywood Brown Baltimore Ravens 36 648 18.0 6
Mecole Hardman Kansas City Chiefs 40 480 12.0 3

Rookie TE leaders:

TE Team Receptions Receiving yards AVG TDs
TJ Hockenson Detroit Lions 55 660 12.0 5
Noah Fant Denver Broncos 38 524 13.8 3
Irv Smith Jr. Minnesota Vikings 35 357 10.2 2
Dawson Knox Buffalo Bills 24 298 12.4 2
Foster Moreau Oakland Raiders 16 152 9.5 1

Rookie IDL leaders:

IDL Team Tackles TFLs Sacks
Quinnen Williams New York Jets 65 10 3.5
Ed Oliver Buffalo Bills 45 8 6.5
Jerry Tillery Los Angeles Chargers 40 7 5.5
Christian Wilkins Miami Dolphins 38 6 3
Dexter Lawrence New York Giants 35 5 1.5

Rookie EDGE leaders:

EDGE Team Tackles TFLs Sacks
Nick Bosa San Francisco 49ers 55 12 8.5
Clelin Ferrell Oakland Raiders 50 8 6.5
Josh Allen Jacksonville Jaguars 45 10 5
Brian Burns Carolina Panthers 32 8 7.5
Montez Sweat Washington 30 7 5.5

Rookie LB leaders:

LB Team Tackles TFLs Sacks INTs
Devin Bush Pittsburgh Steelers 125 8 2.5 2
Devin White Tampa Bay Buccaneers 118 9 4.5 3
Jahlani Tavai Detroit Lions 85 6 5 1
Mack Wilson Cleveland Browns 72 2 0 3
Dre Greenlaw San Francisco 49ers 58 3 1 0

Rookie CB leaders:

CB Team Tackles INTs PBUs
Byron Murphy Arizona Cardinals 52 3 12
Rock Ya-Sin Indianapolis Colts 48 2 10
Deandre Baker New York Giants 36 2 9
Greedy Williams Cleveland Browns 28 3 9
Jamel Dean Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 1 5

Rookie S leaders:

S Team Tackles INTs PBUs TFLs
Darnell Savage Green Bay Packers 75 3 8 3
Johnathan Abram Oakland Raiders 65 1 6 4
Nasir Adderley Los Angeles Chargers 48 3 8 0
Taylor Rapp Los Angeles Rams 45 1 6 4
Juan Thornhill Kansas City Chiefs 35 2 7 0

Best Rookie on Every Team

Arizona Cardinals- Kyler Murray, QB

  • With NFL Week 1 here, teams have released their depth charts and the Cardinals will be starting the second most rookies. Of course, Kyler Murray will be behind center and fellow rookies Zach Allen and Byron Murphy will be starting on defense. With many rookies expected to play, Kyler is the DUDE in Arizona. He’s perfect for Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and should put up impressive numbers. It won’t always be consistent, but with his arm talent, deep ball placement, and mobility Cardinals fans should expect big things.

Atlanta Falcons- Chris Lindstrom, OG

  • Already named a starter at guard, Chris Lindstrom is going to play a huge role in improving the Falcons offensive line. He should immediately help their running game with his power and ability to work to the second level. Lindstrom injects a lot of attitude into the Falcons front five.

Baltimore Ravens- Hollywood Brown, WR

  • Two things could hold Hollywood Brown from blazing defenses. First is his health and second is how much deep passing the Ravens do with Lamar Jackson. Either way in an empty wide receiver room, Brown will have a major role. His ability to separate deep and his impressive route running will make a big difference for Jackson and the passing attack.

Buffalo Bills- Ed Oliver, IDL

  • The Bills will be starting both Ed Oliver and Cody Ford on their lines and both should make a noticeable impact early. Oliver though has a chance to be a star in Sean McDermott’s defense. There is few more explosive interior defensive lineman than Oliver and his presence on the inside will be major on passing downs.

Carolina Panthers- Brian Burns, EDGE

  • Even if the Panthers don’t start Brian Burns as a rookie, his pass rush upside will be felt. It’s likely he’ll spend the majority of his rookie year in a situational pass-rush role, but that’s just fine. With his explosive first step, elite bend, and improving hand use, Burns is a threat to lead all rookies in sacks.

Chicago Bears- David Montgomery, RB

  • Sometimes with a running back they just land on the perfect team with the perfect scheme. That’s the situation for David Montgomery in Chicago. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in effort. Few ball carriers run harder than Montgomery and his vision and contact balance will equal an instant impact.

Cincinnati Bengals- Michael Jordan, OG

  • Unfortunately for the Bengals, they lost rookie first-round pick Jonah Williams for the season to a shoulder injury. Williams would have started at left tackle and landed in this spot. Surprisingly, Michael Jordan earned the starting left guard spot in Cincinnati. His combo of size and athleticism should help the Bengals run game.

Cleveland Browns- Mack Wilson, LB

  • Few teams have a more interesting rookie group than the Browns. Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki, and Greedy Williams could all see major playing time, but for now, they’re all backups. The Browns lack of talent at outside linebacker could force Wilson into a role early. His athleticism and natural coverage ability are a huge plus and Cleveland should take advantage.

Dallas Cowboys- Tony Pollard, RB

  • With the Ezekiel Elliott situation all sorted out, Tony Pollard won’t have to be overwhelmed as a rookie. There’s a clear plan in Dallas for the versatile Pollard. With Kellen Moore calling the plays, expect Pollard to play a major role as the satellite back. His ability in the passing game will be an asset.

Denver Broncos- Dalton Risner, OG

  • Get ready for a vastly improved Broncos offensive line. They hired Mike Munchak to coach the group and drafted Dalton Risner in the second-round. Risner is going to make an immediate impact at left guard. His nastiness and run mauling style are going to improve the group. Don’t be surprised if he becomes a Pro Bowl player under Munchak.

Detroit Lions- TJ Hockenson, TE

  • Even if he hasn’t yet been named the starter, TJ Hockenson is going to be used a ton for the Lions. They view him as their Rob Gronkowski. Hockenson is going to be one of the best blocking tight ends in the league almost immediately. With the Lions need to find a third pass catcher, Hockenson will quickly become Matthew Stafford’s best friend.

Green Bay Packers- Darnell Savage, S

  • The dark horse pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year has already been named the Packers starting strong safety. He’s going to make a ton of flash plays with aggressiveness and range. It’ll be fun to see how Mike Pettine deploys him with his versatility. There will be many 21 Savage references.

Houston Texans- Charles Omenihu, DL

  • There’s not a team with less expected from their rookies than the Texans. Despite rookie first-round pick Tytus Howard being named the starting left guard, expectations should be low. He’s raw as can be and struggled in the preseason. Charles Omenihu, on the other hand, could quickly find a role as the Texans 5-Tech on passing downs. His length and athleticism are impressive.

Indianapolis Colts- Rock Ya-Sin, CB

  • Even though he wasn’t a first-round pick, there should be high hopes for Rock Ya-Sin. Ya-Sin is already known for his non-stop work ethic and earned a starting spot on the Colts D. He’s raw after only one year of FBS football, but the physicality and length are perfect at corner for this team. Ya-Sin might have one of the biggest rookie impacts.

Jacksonville Jaguars- Josh Allen, EDGE

  • One of the most fun rookie storylines will be seeing how the Jaguars use Josh Allen. Allen played a hybrid pass rusher/LB role for Kentucky and with Telvin Smith sitting out he could be asked to move around in Jacksonville. At the very least he should see major snaps rushing off the edge on passing downs. Allen is a Swiss Army knife defender for Todd Wash.

Kansas City Chiefs- Mecole Hardman, WR

  • When an explosive offense like the Chiefs add a versatile and explosive playmaker like Mecole Hardman, the rest of the league starts sweating. Hardman will see time in the slot and should be used as a gadget player with his speed and YAC ability. Expect him to be a nice deep threat to complement Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins.

Los Angeles Chargers- Jerry Tillery, IDL

  • Last year the Chargers had Derwin James fall to them in the first-round and he put on a show. This year they had Jerry Tillery slide all the way to them at 28. What Tillery brings to Gus Bradley’s defense is rare size, explosiveness, and heavy hands. If they stick him at 3-Tech on passing downs their pass rush will be lethal.

Los Angeles Rams- Taylor Rapp, S

  • It’s hard to penetrate the starting lineup as a rookie on a Super Bowl contender. Taylor Rapp won’t start, but he will have a defined role as nickel and dime linebacker. His instincts and physicality as a run defender are perfect for that role. His natural ability to cover tight ends will be a huge bonus.

Miami Dolphins- Christian Wilkins, IDL

  • No team will be starting more rookies than the Dolphins this season. This is not a good thing. This is because they’re tanking. One bright spot in starting rookies though is they gain experience quickly. For Christian Wilkins, their first-round pick, he has a chance to give Dolphins fans hope. His gap shooting ability will be fun to watch. Wilkins quickness and wiggle should result in some splash plays.

Minnesota Vikings- Garrett Bradbury, C

  • Few rookies will be as important to their team’s success than Garrett Bradbury. The Vikings have a playoff-contending team but need their offensive line to improve. Bradbury is there to steady the whole thing and have a Quenton Nelson type of impact. His football IQ, short-area quickness, and clean technique will have an instant impact. A true dark horse Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

New England Patriots- Chase Winovich, EDGE

  • Nobody feels like a better replacement in terms of character than Chase Winovich for Rob Gronkowski. He’s going to be a star in the media, but he should have a quick impact on the field too for Bill Belichick. Winovich can help as a situational pass rusher. He brings a huge motor, explosive first step, and nasty rip move to this D-line.

New Orleans Saints- Erik McCoy, C

  • There’s been very little made of Erik McCoy taking over for Max Unger as the Saints starting center. That’s because he’s stepped into one of the best offensive lines in the league and they haven’t missed a beat. McCoy is an impressive athlete who plays with great power. Don’t be surprised if he’s one of the ten most impactful rookies.

New York Giants- Dexter Lawrence, IDL

  • Dave Gettleman is a bad GM. Daniel Jones could be the most important Giants rookie, but they’re too addicted to Eli Manning right now to start Jones. Deandre Baker should also see a ton of time, but rookie corners can transition slowly. Drafting a nose tackle in the first-round isn’t smart, but Dexter Lawrence should be an immediate run stuffer for the team.

New York Jets- Quinnen Williams, IDL

  • It might take time for Quinnen Williams to officially be named a starter for the Jets, but he’ll play a major role as a rookie. Even though he has to deal with Greg Williams coaching him, Williams will show why he was considered the top player in the 2019 NFL Draft. With his leverage and wiggle, he’s going to be a fun interior pass-rusher next to Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson. Just wait until he’s starting and making disruptive plays every game.

Oakland Raiders- Josh Jacobs, RB

  • Don’t draft running backs in the first-round. It’s a waste of value, but they do always tend to have a big impact right away. Josh Jacobs is going to be Jon Gruden’s bell cow. He’s known for his selfless play and work ethic so he’ll be beloved in the locker room. On the field, his contact balance, burst, and pass-catching ability will translate into instant production.

Philadelphia Eagles- Miles Sanders, RB

  • If Andre Dillard was asked to start right away this spot would be his, but he’s not expected to start until Jason Peters is gone. For now, Miles Sanders and JJ Arcega-Whiteside have the best shot at making a big impact. Sanders has far more upside than Jordan Howard and his lateral quickness and burst make him a home run hitter. Behind this O-line Sanders can put up major numbers as long as he fixes his fumbling issue.

Pittsburgh Steelers- Devin Bush, LB

  • Everybody’s favorite Defensive Rookie of the Year pick isn’t officially a starter yet, but he will be by Week 3 at the latest. Bush is exactly what the Steelers need and can continue their great tradition of linebacker play. He’s one of the most athletic LBs in the league with the instincts and violent style to make highlight-reel hits.

San Francisco 49ers-Nick Bosa, EDGE

  • It might be a slow start for Nick Bosa as he comes off an injury, but when he’s ready to go he’s going to be dominating. Bosa on the same defensive line as DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford is unfair. Like his brother, he’s already a sack artist with his repertoire of moves and elite hand-to-hand combat. Bosa is going to be a game plan wrecker.

Seattle Seahawks- DK Metcalf, WR

  • As long as DK Metcalf can stay healthy he’s going to be playing a lot in Seattle. The Seahawks don’t have many options at WR and Metcalf’s upside is too rare not to take advantage of as a rookie. Giving Russell Willson a height-weight-speed monster deep threat like Metcalf can bust this passing game open.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Devin White, LB

  • In Tampa Devin White is going to put up huge numbers. He’s Todd Bowles guy on that defense and they’ll deploy him as their weapon. With his explosiveness and knack for hit stick tackles, get ready for lots of hype. If the Buccaneers can hide some of his weaknesses, like instincts and getting off blocks, he’ll be thick in the DROY race.

Tennessee Titans- AJ Brown, WR

  • The Titans aren’t going to be starting any rookies, but it won’t be long until AJ Brown is on the field frequently. He’s clearly one of their three best wide receivers and his YAC ability is a great fit with Marcus Mariota. Brown is perfect for their Z-WR spot and if his route running improves he’ll have a huge impact.

Washington- Terry McLaurin, WR

  • One of just two wide receivers who have been named starters for Week 1, Terry McLaurin is a big-time sleeper for OROY. He’s already the most talented WR in Washington with his crisp routes and explosive field stretching. If there’s a competent QB getting him the ball, then McLaurin will put up numbers. When Dwayne Haskins is ready this will be a lethal combo like it was at Ohio State.

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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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