Ethan Hewett | November 14th, 2019
As week ten becomes a distant memory and a Thursday night matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns looms on the horizon, let’s take a look at some of the best rookie performances from the past weekend. We saw several offensive skill position players flash while some defensive rookies proved the critics wrong. Who were the top dogs last week? Who has the best odds this weekend? Find out in this week’s edition of the NFL Rookie Rankings. As always let us start with a couple of honorable mentions.
Khari Willis – Willis saw a good amount of playing time last weekend in the Indianapolis Colts’ loss to the Miami Dolphins. Willis was on the field for 91% of the Colts defensive snaps and made the most of it by racking up seven total tackles including a tackle for loss. Look for Willis to put together another solid game this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars who have had offensive struggles as of late.
David Montgomery – Montgomery has been the focal point of the Chicago Bears offense as of late, and for good reason. Montgomery has received at least 14 carries these past three weeks, but his average yards per carry has taken a bit of a hit after averaging just 3.5 yards a carry this past week. This week the Bears are taking on the Los Angeles Rams who have one of the better run defenses in the league so look for Matt Nagy to try and create some space for Montgomery.
15. Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills
Week Ten Stats: 4 Receptions, 55 Yards
Knox once again put up a great game totaling 55 yards on just four receptions. Knox has shown some impressive upside and has been a decent mid to deep threat for the Bills offense. Knox finished second in receptions on the day and third in targets and receiving yards. While we have seen some upside, Knox has yet to consistently produce after totaling 48 receiving yards weeks five through nine. Knox could put up some big numbers this weekend against the Miami Dolphins who are on a two-game win streak, so keep an eye on the young tight end.
Projected Stat Line vs Miami: 5 Receptions, 70 Yards, 1 TD
14. Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week Ten Stats: 4 Receptions, 64 Yards
Johnson has continued to be one of Mason Rudolph’s favorite targets in the 2019 season. Johnson caught four of the six passes thrown his way and all four of those receptions came within the first 20 minutes of the game. While Johnson has been a favorite target, he can’t do it alone and the Steelers offense including Johnson has struggled with consistency. They will have a short week to prepare for their Thursday night matchup with the Cleveland Browns and an average pass defense.
Projected Stat Line vs Cleveland: 5 Receptions, 70 Yards, 1 TD
13. Taylor Rapp, S, Los Angeles Rams
Week Ten Stats: 9 Total Tackles, 2 TFL
Rapp has stepped up in a big way these past two weeks. For the second week in a row, Rapp was on the field for 100% of the team’s defensive snaps and he once again racked up an impressive stat line. Rapp was also strong near the line of scrimmage showing off his tackling abilities bringing his total on the year to 52 tackles, 27 of which come over the past three weeks. While Rapp has had success, the Rams defense as a whole hasn’t been quite as spectacular, but they look to be on the upswing and hope to continue their trend upwards against the Chicago Bears this weekend.
Projected Stat Line vs Chicago: 8 Total Tackles, 1 INT
12. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Week Ten Stats: 6 Receptions, 70 Yards
While Metcalf didn’t put up the same numbers he did last week, he has continued to be a great receiving threat for his Seahawks offense. With the addition of Josh Gordon to the Seahawks receiving group, defenses now have two incredibly physical and athletic receivers out wide. While Metcalf did have a costly fumble and couple of key catches that he dropped, Metcalf has continued to become a bigger threat, and Russell Wilson is clearly starting to get into a rhythm with his big-bodied receiver.
After their big win against the San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks have a bye week and then will be taking on the Philadelphia Eagles whose secondary is still getting back into shape after dealing with several injuries.
Projected Stat Line vs Philadelphia (Week 12): 5 Receptions, 80 Yards, 1 TD
11. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Week Ten Stats: 1 Reception, 63 Yards, 1 TD
Since the return of Tyreek Hill, Hardman has seen a decrease in the number of snaps he is seeing. However, he has made the most of what he is getting and he once again showed off the blazing speed to take a comeback route to the endzone and outrunning several Tennesse Titans defenders. While I don’t see Hardman having a large increase in touches this week against the Los Angeles Chargers, I do expect Andy Reid to continue to use him as a situational slot receiver and getting him into open space. Look for Hardman to also make an impact in special teams as a punt returner.
Projected Stat Line vs Los Angeles: 3 Receptions, 55 Yards, 1 TD
10. Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Week Ten Stats: 3 Receptions, 78 Yards
Isabella picked up another bigtime reception this past weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the first play in the second half hooking up with fellow rookie Kyler Murray on a 55-yard pass. This makes it two weeks in a row with a play of 50 yards or more, and Isabella’s snap count has increased greatly over the past two weeks jumping from 21% to 37%. This week the Cardinals have a rematch with the San Francisco 49ers who are coming off a crushing loss to the Seahawks. Look for Isabella’s involvement to continue on its upward trend playing across the field from fellow wideout KeeSean Johnson.
Projected Stat Line vs San Francisco: 5 Receptions, 80 Yards, 1 TD
9. Byron Murphy, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Week Ten Stats: 5 Total Tackles, 1 INT
Murphy once again played nearly every defensive snap for the Cardinals and he was finally able to pick up his first career NFL interception. Along with this, he racked up five total tackles on the night against Tampa Bay bringing his total to 52 tackles on the year which ties him for third amongst all defensive rookies. While Murphy didn’t have a great game two weeks ago against the 49ers, his involvement should be the same in this week’s rematch as fellow cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Tramaine Brock are dealing with injuries. Look for Murphy to try and notch his second career interception.
Projected Stat Line vs San Francisco: 6 Total Tackles, 2 PD
8. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
Week Ten Stats: 16 Carries, 71 Yards, 1 TD
Jacobs has been one of the most consistent rookies this season averaging around 90 rushing yards a game so far this season. He didn’t slow down either this past weekend against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night football after running in an 18-yard go-ahead touchdown with one minute remaining in the game. Jacobs has played through several minor injuries that have yet to slow the rookie down and he is on track to accumulate well over 1,000 rushing yards before seasons end. Jacobs should have a field day this week against the Cincinnati Bengals who are ranked 32nd in rushing yards allowed.
Projected Stat Line vs Cincinnati: 23 Carries, 120 Yards, 2 TD
7. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Week Ten Stats: 27/44, 324 Yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Murray put up his fourth 300-yard game of the season against Tampa Bay in a close and heartbreaking 27-30 loss. Murray had the Cardinals in it until the end and came up short on a last-second heave to the endzone. The connection between Murray and wideout Christian Kirk was remarkable as the two found the endzone three times for 33, 69, and 15 yards. This was also Murray’s second consecutive game with multiple touchdowns after a five-game stretch where he didn’t throw a single one. Murray and the Cardinals will look to have another close game this week with their divisional rival San Francisco in a rematch after losing 25-28 two weeks ago.
Projected Stat Line vs San Francisco: 24/40, 245 Yards, 2 TD
6. Nick Bosa, EDGE, San Francisco 49ers
Week Ten Stats: 8 Total Tackles, 1 TFL
Bosa has continued to be a solid threat off the edge for the 49ers and saw a large number of the 49ers defensive snaps suiting up for 82%. He had his personal best of eight tackles in their OT loss to the Seattle Seahawks but wasn’t able to bring down the quarterback for the second week in a row. Bosa was still a threat however causing several moments where Russell Wilson was forced to make huge plays that only he could make. Bosa and this 49ers defense will look to slow down the rookie Kyler Murray and the Cardinals air raid offense in this weekend’s rematch between the NFC West rivals.
Projected Stat Line vs Arizona: 6 Total Tackles, 2 Sacks
5. Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Week Ten Stats: 26/40, 308 Yards, 4 TD
While the Giants did lose the game to the New York Jets 27-34, Jones put on a spectacular performance. Jones hooked up with fellow rookie Darius Slayton for two scores, along with veteran receiver Golden Tate for his other two. While all four were on shorter passes, Jones was incredibly accurate and allowed his receivers to turn upfield quickly and make a play. While there were several bright moments, Jones has continued to have a fumbling issue and he also suffered six sacks this past weekend. The Giants have a bye week to regroup before they take on the Chicago Bears and their very good defense in week twelve.
Projected Stat Line vs Chicago (Week 12): 20/35, 275 Yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
4. Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Week Ten Stats: 4 Receptions, 80 Yards, 1 TD
Brown was able to find the endzone for the first time since week five and caught all four passes that were thrown his way in the Ravens win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens wasted little time getting the ball to Brown taking a 49-yard shot to him on the first play from scrimmage. While he got off to a hot start this season, Brown struggled early on until sitting out for three weeks due to an ankle injury. Since his return in week nine, Brown has averaged 18.3 yards per catch and don’t be surprised if he and this Ravens offense put up big passing numbers against the Houston Texans this week.
Projected Stat Line vs Houston: 6 Receptions, 90 Yards, 1 TD
3. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Week Ten Stats: 8 Receptions, 112 Yards
Samuel was able to reach the century mark in receiving yards for the first time this season and brought in all but three passes thrown his way against the Seahawks. With fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders leaving the game early and tight end George Kittle sidelined for the game, Samuel picked up the slack playing 83% of the team’s offensive snaps and had a 30-yard gain to put it all together. If his two teammates continue to be sidelined for this week’s matchup against the Cardinals, Samuel could be in store for another big game as the main target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Projected Stat Line vs Arizona: 7 Receptions, 100 Yards, 1 TD
2. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Oakland Raiders
Week Ten Stats: 8 Total Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, 2 TFL, 1 PD
Ferrell once again showed this week just why the Raiders drafted him with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft back in April. The Los Angeles Chargers could not slow down the rookie as he tormented Phillip Rivers all game long and was able to rack up two and a half sacks along with eight total tackles on the night. While the Chargers were missing key offensive lineman, Ferrell was still able to capitalize and put up his best numbers all year long. Look for Ferrell to continue his dominance against another subpar offensive line this week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Projected Stat Line vs Cincinnati: 6 Total Tackles, 1 Sack
1. Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
Week Ten Stats: 10 Receptions, 121 Yards, 2 TD
Slayton put up incredible numbers against the New York Jets in a close loss this past weekend. He led the team in nearly every receiving statistic and showed incredible upside bringing in five and 39-yard touchdowns. This was Slayton’s second multi-touchdown game on the year but he has struggled to find the week-to-week consistency you like to see in a number one wide receiver. Slayton has been on the field for more than 80% of the team’s offensive snaps since week six, but he could see a dramatic decrease in snaps if fellow wideout Sterling Shepard is back from injury after their week 11 bye. The Chicago Bears also possess a very good defense so look for the Giants’ offense to struggle.
Projected Stat Line vs Chicago (Week 12): 3 Receptions, 60 Yards
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images