NFL rookie rankings 2021

The NFL Draft is the most exciting time of year for all football enthusiasts, but what about those who are just getting into it? The next crop of rookies will likely be even more exciting than ever before. This article takes a look at some players that could make an impact in 2021.

The NFL Draft is over, and the rookies are now in their respective team’s systems. How well will they do? In this article, we assess how each rookie drafts should fare as a professional player.The “nfl rookies” are the top NFL players in 2021. They are ranked by their projected points in the upcoming season.

The first-year cornerbacks have continued to stretch their collective muscles seven weeks into the 2021 NFL season. Our rookie rankings include three of them in the second edition. While there has been some movement in our top 10, just one quarterback has made the cut. As the season near the midway mark, Ja’Marr Chase of the Bengals has risen to the top of the class. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given that he’s breaking rookie receiving records and appears to score a deep-ball touchdown every week.

We canvassed numerous personnel executives throughout the league and worked our way through game footage to compile the list. We also give a few names to keep in mind in the coming weeks if you missed the list. Finally, we turned to ESPN Stats & Information’s Seth Walder for an under-the-radar rookie to watch and ESPN Chalk’s Doug Kezirian for the greatest Rookie of the Year value bets.

So, who are the best NFL rookies right now, and why are they doing so well? Let’s go right to the point, pun intended.

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35 catches, 754 yards, and 6 touchdowns No. 5 overall in the draft

Where do I begin? The 21-year-old is the league’s leader in yards per reception (21.5), has three 100-yard games (including a 200-yard effort), and has the most receiving yards in NFL history after seven games (754). Watch his routes and how he sets up more experienced defenders — the Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey is one of many — and it’s evident that he is a dynamic athlete who will force defenses to devise a strategy for him every weekend. And that entails doing more than just putting their best cover player on him the majority of the time.


Stats: 6 starts, 88.3% pass block success percentage No. 13 overall in the draft

Lists like this are often about degree of difficulty, and Slater does an excellent job of checking that box. In his first six starts, he’s already faced Chase Young, Maxx Crosby, and Myles Garrett. Garrett did overwhelm Slater for a sack in Week 5 — though he may have gotten away with a hands-to-the-face penalty on the play — but it’s always the body of work that counts, and Slater’s body of work so far is top-notch.

  • NFL-rookie-rankings-2021


31 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two pass breakups No. 12 overall in the draft

Some may judge Parsons’ performance based on his adaptability and the Cowboys’ need to adjust his job description early in his NFL tenure. The bottom line: He has made an impact at defensive end when the club needed him to — he has 10 QB hits — and he has demonstrated that he can work in coverage at linebacker as well as keep his gap in the run game. With a pass rush victory percentage of 26.2 percent, Parsons tops all rookies.


24 tackles, 1 interception, and 6 pass breakups No. 9 overall in the draft

Surtain has played 86 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, has been tasked with a handful of WR1s, and has played with such tenacity from down to down that veteran Kyle Fuller was benched when Ronald Darby returned from injury reserve. Surtain’s tackling in the run game may be improved, but opposition quarterbacks have been disappointed much more often than not when they’ve attempted to put him to the test.


28 tackles and 1 caused fumble No. 52 overall in the draft

Given that Owusu-Koramoah was placed on injured reserve (ankle) on Oct. 18, he missed the Browns’ Week 7 victory against the Broncos and is projected to miss many weeks, he may struggle to hang on to this slot. But, prior to his injury against the Cardinals on Oct. 17, he had played 91 percent and 85 percent of the defensive plays in his previous two games, demonstrating top-end play speed at the point of attack and solid coverage work.


1,779 yards throwing, 9 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and a 70.4 percent completion rate No. 15 overall in the draft

Jones has experienced the most adversity among the top ten quarterbacks and has shown the fortitude to rebound from a three-interception game against the Saints in Week 3 with seven touchdown passes and three interceptions over the following four games. In a blowout victory against the Jets this past weekend, he also had his first career 300-yard game. Each week, the game footage shows a bit more growth in terms of defending himself in the pocket (particularly against the needless sack) and ball care.


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20 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 5 pass breakups Drafted with the 47th overall pick

Chargers coach Brandon Staley, like one of his mentors, Broncos coach Vic Fangio, wants competitive cornerbacks that can tackle and play with discipline in a variety of coverages. Samuel has been dependable for the most part and has showed the ability to play in the slot or outside depending on the situation.


7 starts, 96.7 percent pass block success rate 63rd overall draft pick

Humphrey isn’t on that list. The Chiefs have several depth chart issues, but Humphrey isn’t one of them. He has maintained his calm throughout the game and has kept his footwork tidy. He has only allowed one sack in pass protection, according to game footage, while ESPN’s stats (through NFL Next Gen Stats) reveal he has just six pass-block losses on the season.


31 catches, 471 yards, and 1 touchdown No. 4 overall in the draft

As the season progressed, personnel evaluators all across the league expected Pitts to rediscover his footing. Take it as discovered. He had two 100-yard games in the last two weeks and a season average of 15.2 yards per catch, which is excellent for a wide receiver.


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32 tackles are the total number of tackles made by the team. 167th overall draft pick

Because of the Raiders’ expanded portfolio for him in recent weeks and his ability to regularly make an effect in each of those situations, the former Illinois defensive back has found his way into this slot. Hobbs has five starts on the season, has played at least half of the defensive snaps in every game (including a season-high 93 percent in the Raiders’ Week 7 victory against the Eagles), and has just one missed tackle.


Just in case you didn’t notice,


New York Giants LB Azeez Ojulari

The second-round selection leads all rookies with 5.5 sacks, including 2.5 against the Panthers this past Sunday. He’s added some counters to his pass-rush effort, and the more he improves in that area, the more sacks he’ll have. His 14.0 percent pass rush win percentage is second only to Dallas’ Parsons among rookies.


Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions offensive tackle

Sewell’s promise remains undeniable, but the shift to left tackle to replace the injured Taylor Decker has had an influence on his overall level of play as he works his way up the learning curve. After a shaky two-game period in which he surrendered four sacks against Minnesota and Chicago, he bounced back with strong performances against the Bengals and Rams.


Cleveland Browns CB Greg Newsome II

Weeks 4 and 5 saw Newsome miss two games due to a calf ailment, and he only played 21 defensive plays in Week 6. But against the Broncos this past Thursday, he got the start and played all 50 defensive plays. His play demonstrates a high level of attention to detail, and he has only been penalized once all season.


Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams

Williams, who has 320 running yards this season, is a potential broken-tackle feast. We witnessed that against the Ravens recently, when six different Ravens players attempted to tackle Williams before he was ultimately brought to the ground. With 122 yards on 20 receptions, he has showed promise in the passing game as well. The only time I have a problem with him is when he lacks his usual decisiveness.


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Green Bay Packers cornerback Eric Stokes

In four of the Packers’ last five games, Stokes has played every defensive snap. He’s been called for pass interference three times this season, but all three came in his first two starts. Stokes has intercepted a pass and intercepted eight others.

Osa Odighizuwa, DT, Dallas Cowboys; Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals; Spencer Brown, OT, Buffalo Bills; Trey Smith is a guard for the Kansas City Chiefs.; Odafe Oweh, DE/LB, Baltimore Ravens; Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants; Sam Cosmi, OT, Washington Football Team; Pete Werner, LB, New Orleans Saints; Najee Harris, RB


Other rookie observations

  • Let’s just say there’ll be a Ja’Marr Chase remark in every edition of these rankings, since he’s already getting people to go through the records. His 200-yard performance on Sunday was just the 17th by a rookie receiver in NFL history. With his high target volume and big-play potential, it’s probably a good time to bring up Jerry Butler’s 255-yard rookie single-game record from 1979. Butler’s 200-yard performance came in his fourth career game, while Chase’s came in his seventh. In his 88-game career, Butler did not have another game with more than 140 receiving yards.

  • Josh Myers, a second-round choice by the Packers, was on his way to the top of the rankings. He replaced former All-Pro center Corey Linsley, who signed with the Chargers in free agency, and had played every snap in Green Bay’s first four games. Myers, however, missed a game due to a finger injury and then suffered a knee injury against Chicago in Week 6, forcing him to be placed on injured reserve.

  • Spencer Brown, a native of Iowa, quipped that he watched the Chiefs-Bills AFC Championship Game in his basement in January, and then made his second NFL start at Arrowhead 10 months later in the Bills’ 38-20 triumph in Week 5. Keep a watch on Brown, a third-round selection who played eight-man football in high school in Lenox, Iowa. When the Bills changed their starters and Daryl Williams was moved inside to guard, he was placed into the lineup at right tackle, proving he’s ready for the position on a Super Bowl-hopeful squad.


Walder’s up-and-coming rookie


Trey Smith, G, Kansas City Chiefs

Not only did the Chiefs obtain the aforementioned Humphrey late in the second round, but they also got Smith in the sixth round out of Tennessee. Smith is now ranked 11th among guards in both pass and run block victory rates after seven games. That’s a lot of value for a late-round choice, and Smith, combined with Humphrey and veteran free-agent addition Joe Thuney, gives Kansas City a true strength on the interior of the offensive line.


Rookie of the Year value bet by Kezirian


Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts

Chase, of Cincinnati, is getting a lot of attention and accolades, but Pitts at +1400 seems like a good bargain for Offensive Rookie of the Year. The major fear is that since Chase and Pitts play comparable positions, their numbers will be compared to one another, rather than how voters may compare a quarterback and a wide receiver. However, there are still two months left in the regular season, and Pitts seems to be finding his stride with back-to-back 100-yard performances.

With the 2020 NFL season coming to an end, it is time to look ahead and get ready for the 2021 NFL season. The “nfl rookie of the year 2021 finalists” are some of the best players that will be playing in next year’s season.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the best rookie in the NFL 2021?

A: If I had to choose one, it would be Devin Hester. He is a speedy and elusive football player that has an amazing return game for the Atlanta Falcons.

Who is NFL Rookie of the Year 2021?

A: The answer is not available at this time.

Who is the best rookie in the NFL right now?

A: Rookie quarterbacks are tough to rank, because they’ve only played a few games in the NFL. Right now I would say it is probably Baker Mayfield.

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