This NFL season has seen plenty of impressive rookies come to the fore, as NFL campaigns typically do. With 15 weeks gone, a number of first-rounders are nearly through their first regular season.
It will be interesting to see how the ones who make it to the playoffs perform but, for now, we take a look at some of the highest-ranked first-year players. As it turns out, the highest wasn’t even drafted in the first round.
The 22-year-old was drafted 63rd overall by the Chiefs in the second round of this year’s draft and has proven he should have gone in the first round. The Chiefs, who went to the Super Bowl just this year, are fortunate to have found such a gem that far down the draft.
Apart from being the highest-graded rookie this season, the former Oklahoma Sooners star is the top center in the league. He was named to Pro Football Focus’s All-Rookie and All-Pro teams at the midway point of the campaign.
Humphrey is the leading AFC center in the Pro Bowl fan votes with 128, 608. He passed New England’s David Andrews, also garnering more votes than Travis Kelce’s brother Jason, who leads the NFC with 98,380.
The Chiefs player has been nothing short of phenomenal this season. After all, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie is no easy feat. Humphrey remains the PFF’s highest-ranked center this term.
The Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Wednesday night.
The Dallas Cowboys are back to being contenders and hold a 10-4 record to lead the NFC East. Their success is largely due to Micah Parsons’ performances. Parsons is looking like a shoo-in for the Defensive Rookie of the Year but has also found himself in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
The 22-year-old ranks seventh in the league in sacks with 12 and has a solo number 0f 52.
On Monday, the league announced that Parsons, the 12th overall pick in the draft, leads inside linebackers in Pro Bowl voting in the NFC. The former Penn State player got 189,899 votes from fans.
Mac Jones is no Tom Brady but Bill Belichick will be pleased with what he’s getting from his rook this season. Jones’ arrival in New England prompted the team to cut Cam Newton and it’s now looking like a great decision.
The youngster has the fourth-highest graded season for a rookie quarterback with a PFF grade of 83.0. With three games left to go, there’s still a chance for him to move higher.
Drafted as the 15th overall pick by the Pats, Jones was named as the team’s starter at the beginning of the season. He’s -700 to win the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season and fans who wish to bet on his prospects, as well as other futures, could take advantage of free NFL picks.
Jones leads the bookmakers’ odds for the award and is followed by Ja’Marr Chase at +400, Jaylen Waddle at +6500, and Devonta Smith at +10000.
Jevon Holland has established himself as one of the best safeties in the league and hasn’t had a below-average game since Week 7. The Dolphins are actually within a shot of making the playoffs despite a 1-7 start. Their win against the New York Jets on Sunday saw them move to .500 at 7-7 in one of the most incredible stories of the season.
Holland wasn’t involved in the win over New York, though, as he was out with an illness.
The 21-year-old was selected as the first safety in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, getting picked at No.36. Holland’s Dolphins teammate Xavien Howard recently compared him to former Chiefs star and five-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry.
“He gonna be a great safety in this league, bro,” Howard said on Richard Sherman’s podcast. “He rangy as hell, bro. The crazy part, he remind me of Eric Berry. I never told him that, but he remind me of Eric Berry, but I never told him that though. I think he gonna be special, bro.”
Rashawn Slater is one of the most hyped players in his position this season and with good reason. With a PFF overall grade of 79.9, he’s certainly one of the best tackles in the league in his rookie year. This year’s 13th overall pick is headed to the Pro Bowl at the first time of asking, having garnered the most votes for any offensive tackle in the AFC with 83,085.
Slater has been a starter all season, only missing the Chargers’ last game due to being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.