There are a number of rookies deserving of being included in this week’s rankings. This week’s group is headlined by mostly edges and cornerbacks who made impact plays on defense. Surprisingly, none of the five first-round quarterbacks from the 2021 NFL Draft ended up making this list. It will be interesting to see how the three starting quarterbacks bounce back next week. Let’s take a look at the 10 best rookies in the Week 3 NFL Rookie Rankings.
Check out the Week 2 NFL Rookie Rankings here.
10. Payton Turner, EDGE, New Orleans Saints
This was a tough one between Turner and Demetric Felton. Despite the Saints’ loss, Turner proved his first-round ability. He recorded one sack and three tackles for loss. On his sack, he dominated the rep as he won with pure power. He should continue to maintain his integral role along the Saints’ talented front. Turner is a gifted prospect who will keep improving.
9. Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets
Carter was one of the Jets’ few bright spots in Week 2 against the New England Patriots. He recorded 13 total touches, two of which were receptions for a total of 88 scrimmage yards. Throughout the game, Carter showed his quick, one-cut ability as a runner. Carter is also a very viable target in the passing game. As he continues to gain experience, anticipate his role to grow. Carter is a key piece on the Jets.
8. Odafe Oweh, EDGE, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens’ first-round selection showed up in a big game. With the rest of the teams in the division all having one win entering Week 2, the Ravens needed to deliver against the Kansas City Chiefs. Oweh delivered for them with a tackle for loss and a forced fumble that he recovered to secure the Ravens’ victory late in the fourth quarter.
7. Penei Sewell, OT, Detroit Lions
Sewell has been rock-solid for the Lions at left tackle in his first two games. He is still only 20 years of age and is playing very good football. Sewell has not yet allowed a sack. In Week 2, he was great as a pass blocker, showing his gifted ability. Sewell possesses the strength and athletic ability to be special for a long time. As his rookie year progresses, expect him to keep building on his early success.
6. Jaycee Horn, CB, Carolina Panthers
Horn had a very productive game for the Panthers on Sunday. He recorded one interception and had one pass deflection. Horn was hardly targeted throughout the game proving his coverage ability. As a player, Horn possesses both great length and competitiveness. He has what it takes to eventually become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
5. Deommodore Lenoir, CB, San Francisco 49ers
Lenoir made his impact felt greatly for the 49ers this week. The rookie fifth-round draft pick has stepped in right away and has helped at this position of need for the 49ers. In Week 2, Lenoir recorded an incredible three pass breakups and had a total of five tackles. Lenoir was a solid prospect who fell too far in the draft. It will be fun to see what Lenoir can do against Davante Adams and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football this week.
4. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Buffalo Bills
In his second NFL game, Rousseau made his return to where he played his college football and continued his stellar play. This past week, Rousseau had two sacks and recorded a ton of pressures. He is a gifted physical specimen with even more room to grow. He is already helping the Bills where they need it defensively. Anticipate Rousseau keeping up his impactful play for the Bills.
3. Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Los Angeles Chargers
Samuel filled out the stat sheet in a big way for the Chargers on Sunday. The rookie cornerback had one interception and three pass deflections. Samuel has exceptional talent at the cornerback position. He is physical, especially for his size, can cover well, and make plays on the football.
2. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos
Surtain saw his role expand in Week 2 as a result of Ronald Darby‘s injury. As expected, Surtain was amazing. His interception was incredible. He also recorded a pass deflection. Surtain is the perfect cornerback with his size, speed, and athletic ability. For this Broncos defense to remain one of the best, Surtain will have to keep up his play-making ability. He could have a strong case when all is said and done to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
1. Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Moore has probably been the best rookie overall from the start of the preseason. In Week 2, he had seven catches for 114 yards and one touchdown. He had one big play for 77 yards. Moore is a dynamic talent with his skill set, which has been maximized in every way so far. He has speed, quickness, and play-making ability with the football in his hands. Moore is a key reason for the Cardinals’ early success and 2-0 start. Moore has been special very early.
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