PML’s Top Rookie Performers in 2021 (so far).

Top Rookie Performers at each position:

QB

  • Justin Fields, CAR (1st Round / 1st Pick): 279-373 for 3,486 yards, 25 TD, 24 INT, 75% comp, 100.0 QBR, 5 300+ yard passing games, 6 games with a 100+ QBR
  • Trey Lance, NO (1st Round / 9th Pick): 250-366 for 3,219 yards, 23 TD, 28 INT, 68% comp, 83.6 QBR, 5 300+ yard games, 4 games with a 100+ QBR.
  • Zach Wilson, CHI (3rd Round / 21st Pick): 194-303 for 3,215 yards, 20 TD, 21 INT, 64% comp, 94.2 QBR, 2 400+ yard games, 6 games with a 100+ QBR
  • Trevor Lawrence, JAX (1st Round / 3rd Pick): 184-294 for 2,956 yards, 19 TD, 26 INT, 63% comp, 79.5 QBR, 2 400+ yard games, 3 games with a 100+ QBR. 

Chicago has proven that you don’t need to draft a QB in the 1st round to find your franchise guy. Even though Zach Wilson hasn’t put up the gaudy numbers that Justin Fields has, he has shown a lot of promise for the future. His efficiency of almost a 100 QB rating through his first 13 starts combined with the ability to take over a game as shown by two 400 yard performances so far this season should give the Chicago fans a lot to look forward to in the coming years. 

RB

  • Javian Hawkins, HOU (4th Round / 8th Pick): 271 carries for 1554 yards, 29 TD, 5.7 average, 58 receptions for 642 yards, 1 TD
  • Chubba Hubbard, KC (2nd Round / 7th Pick): 283 carries for 1405 yards, 17 TD, 5.0 average, 14 receptions for 120 yards 
  • CJ Verdell, PIT (2nd Round / 5th Pick): 181 carries for 1185 yards, 15 TD, 6.5 average, 37 receptions for 326 yards, 2 TD
  • Ty Chandler, SF (7th round / 12th Pick): 154 carries for 900 yards, 11 TD, 5.8 average, 20 receptions for 128 yards

The Texans managed to draft the best rookie in the draft in the 4th round. That means every team passed up the opportunity to draft Hawkins, many passed on him more than once. With 30 combined touchdowns through his first 13 games and over 2,000 all-purpose yards, it is safe say that Hawkins will have the Texans competing for the AFC South crown every season until madden 22.   

WR

  • Amon-Ra St Brown, DET (1st Round / 31st Pick): 73 receptions for 1392 yards, 8 TD, 19.1 average, 8 100+ yard games
  • Rondale Moore, LV (1st Round / 16th Pick): 64 receptions for 1163 yards, 9 TD, 18.2 average, 5 100+ yard games
  • Devonta Smith, NYJ (1st Round / 20th Pick): 68 receptions for 1108 yards, 6 TD, 16.3 average, 6 100+ yard games
  • Rashod Bateman, MIA (1st Round / 30th Pick): 72 receptions for 894 yards, 11 TD, 12.4 average, 5 100+ yard games

St Brown gave the Lions the dynamic receiving threat they needed to win a super bowl. Golladay is an elite receiving threat in his own right, but he lacks the game breaking speed to give defensive coordinators nightmares. St Brown is everything that Detroit needed to capture their first Lombardi Trophy in the franchise’s history.

TE

  • Kyle Pitts, LAR (Round 1 / Pick 17): 43 receptions for 579 yards, 6 TD, 13.5 average
  • Nick Eubanks, SEA (2nd round / pick 19): 38 receptions for 437 yards, 3 TD, 11.5 average
  • Tommy Tremble, CAR (6th round / pick 4): 24 receptions for 392 yards, 2 TD, 16.3 average 

Kyle Pitts is one of the few bright spots of a very disappointing Rams team. The 2021 1st round pick has quickly become one of the better receiving TEs in the league. At 6’6 with 85 speed, he has the size and speed to create matchup problems for both safeties and LBs that attempt to cover him. If the Rams can continue to bring in talent like Pitts in the 2022 draft, then expect to see them make a big turnaround next season. 

DT

  • Jay Tufele, DAL (round 2 / pick 26): 19 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 sacks
  • Marvin Wilson, LAC (round 1 / pick 11): 26 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 Sacks, 2 FR,
  • Xavier Kelly, LAC (round 5 / pick 24): 5 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 DEFL, 2 FF 

Wilson is obviously making an early impact for the LA Chargers after being their prize pick of the 2021 draft. However, it’s Xavier Kelly that has flashed the ability to really steal the show. Kelly has only played in 5 games and has logged barely 100 snaps this season, but in those 100 snaps he has recorded 3 sacks and 2 Forced fumbles. It’s head scratching why the Chargers took so long to give a look at this physical specimen weighing in over 300 pounds with 81 speed, but his ability to create a consistent pass rush from the interior can really be the X factor this defense needs. 

Edge

  • Monty Rice, BAL (round 3 / pick 22): 23 tackles, 3 TFL, 11 sacks, 2 FF
  • Kwity Paye, BUF (round 2 / pick 12): 21 tackles, 3 TFL, 10.5 sacks
  • Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, MIA (round 1 / pick 25): 36 tackles, 5 TFL, 9 sacks, 1 FF

As if the Ravens needed any more elite talent, they still managed to add more of it in the 3rd round of the 2021 draft. Monty Rice has made an immediate impact and helped the Ravens become one of the top defense in the league this season. It’s a great milestone for even the top veteran pass rushers in the league to hit double digit sacks in a season, and Rice has managed to rack up 11 sacks in his first 13 NFL games. Rice should keep the Ravens defense among the NFL’s best for a long time. 

LB

  • Dylan Moses, PHI (round 1 / pick 10): 86 tackles, 11 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT, 4 DEFL, 2 FF
  • Jeremiah Moon, DET (round 3 / pick 31): 70 tackles, 9 TFL, 1 sack, 2 INT, 2 DEFL, 3 FF, 2 FR, 1 Def TD
  • Nick Bolton, KC (round 4 / pick 6): 67 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 INT, 1 Def TD

Jeremiah Moon is something known as a “stat-sheet stuffer”. He isn’t just racking up tackles, he has been wrecking havoc in every phase of the game. He is a force against the run with 9 tackles in the backfield and 3 forced fumbles. He can also cause problems for the opponents passing game with 1 sack, 2 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions. If that isn’t enough to consider this man a future Defensive Player of the Year candidate, he is also adept at just being around the football to make plays as he also has 2 fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown. 

CB

  • Shaun Wade, PIT (round 1 / 32nd Pick):65 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 7 INT, 10 DEFL, 1 Def TD
  • Kary Vincent JR, TEN (Round 2 / 28th Pick): 65 Tackles, 1 sack, 4 INT, 3 DEFL, 1 FF, 2 FR, 1 Def TD
  • Myles Jones, LAC (round 2 / 24th Pick): 41 tackles, 2 TFL, 7 INT, 3 DEFL, 3 Def TD
  • Paulson Adebo, NYJ (Round 2 / 13th Pick): 44 tackles, 5 INT, 3 DEFL, 1 FR, 1 Def TD

A true shutdown CB can turn any defense from average to great because of the flexibility it gives a playcaller in how they play defense. That’s exactly what Shaun Wade will do for the Steelers the rest of his career. He has made more plays in his first 13 games of his rookie season than most big time CBs get in any season of their career. He can do it all, tallying up plays in the backfield with 3 TFLs and 2 sacks, and also taking care of business in the back end with 10 pass deflections, 7 picks, and a defensive TD. Pairing a shutdown CB like Wade with a playmaker like Minkah Fitzpatrick will have this Steelers defense creating plenty of turnovers week in and week out. 

Safety

  • Trevon Moehrig, MIN (Round 1 / pick 16): 68 tackles, 4 TFL, 9 INT, 9 DEFL
  • Richard LeCounte, PHI (Round 2 / 10th pick): 23 Tackles, 4 TFL, 6 INT
  • Caden Sterns, DEN (round 1 / 14th Pick): 64 tackles, 10 TFL, 2 INT, 5 DEFL, 1 Def TD
  • Jevon Holland, BAL (round 1 / 20th Pick): 50 Tackles, 6 TFL, 1 sack, 5 INT, 5 DEFL, 1 FF

With the departure of the pro bowl FS Harris from the Vikings secondary last season and an aging Harrison Smith, Minnesota was in need of finding a new young star to anchor the back end of their defense. They found that man in 1st round draft pick Trevon Moehrig. At 6’2 208lbs and 91 speed, Moehrig is more than capable of being a ballhawk in the passing game and also being a force in run defense. He is averaging more than 5 tackles per game from his FS spot and is also among the league leaders in interceptions with 9. 

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