Ethan Hewett | November 20th, 2019
Another week of football has passed and the NFL’s rookies continue to shine. In a week that made the new general manager of the Oakland Raiders, Mike Mayock, look like a genius, new faces continued to emerge as we enter the tail end of the NFL season. Who has emerged as the front runners for Rookie of the Year? Find out in this week’s edition of the Rookie Rankings. As always, let’s start off with a couple of honorable mentions.
Ed Oliver – Oliver hasn’t been the flashiest rookie this season, but recently he has increased his production after picking up his second sack of the season last week against the Miami Dolphins. While I would like to see more out of the rookie defensive tackle, he has been decent against the run, but let’s not judge him yet as he is only 21 years old and has plenty of time to develop into the run stuffer we knew back in college at Houston. This week the Bills take on the Denver Broncos.
Kelvin Harmon – Harmon finds himself on my list for the first time this season after putting up impressive numbers last week for the Washington Redskins. Harmon saw a big rise in the percentage of snaps he saw last week suiting up for 93% of the Redskins offensive snaps. Harmon could serve as a solid number two to fellow rookie Terry McLaurin for the future of this Redskins offense. Look for Harmon to see a considerable amount of snaps again this week against the Detroit Lions.
15. Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
Week 11 Stats: 4 Receptions, 60 Yards
After a rough start to the season, the past two weeks have been great performances for the rookie tight end. Fant had a good game last week catching four passes for sixty yards. Fant was also targeted eleven times and the connection between him and Brandon Allen was great at times but they struggled a lot in the red zone. While they had a clutch 11-yard fourth-down conversion on their final drive, they failed to hook up on the two endzone shots on the same drive. Fant will look to continue his upward trend this week against the Buffalo Bills who have one of the better passing defenses but have given up big plays this year.
Projected Stat Line vs Buffalo: 3 Receptions, 55 Yards, 1 TD
14. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Week 11 Stats: 24/33, 150 Yards, 2 TD, 67 Rushing Yards, 1 TD
Last week certainly wasn’t Murray’s best performance but he did enough to at least keep the game close. Keep in mind that the Cardinals were taking on a San Francisco 49ers defense who have shut down opposing quarterbacks this season including Russell Wilson. Murray put up his second-best rushing performance on the year and grabbed his third rushing touchdown on the season. Murray also continues to be under a ton of pressure getting sacked four times last week. Murray and the Cardinals will look to regroup this week with a bye and try to grab their fourth win on the year against the Los Angeles Rams in week 13.
Projected Stat Line vs Los Angeles (Week 13): 25/36, 280 Yards, 2 TD
13. Nik Needham, CB, Miami Dolphins
Week 11 Stats: 6 Total Tackles, 2 PD, 1 FF
Needham put up a solid performance last week picking up two more pass deflections to bring him to five in the past two games alone. Needham looks like a solid pickup for a Dolphins team that is clearly looking several years down the road and Needham looks like he has the makings to be one of the better young corners in the league. The Buffalo Bills went after him last week and for the most part, he responded nicely positioning himself well in man coverage. Needham will look to continue to develop this week against the Cleveland Browns and maybe pick up his second career interception.
Projected Stat Line vs Cleveland: 7 Total Tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD
12. Hunter Renfrow, WR, Oakland Raiders
Week 11 Stats: 5 Receptions, 66 Yards
Renfrow had a solid performance last week in the Raiders win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The past four weeks have really been the Renfrow and Josh Jacobs show as Renfrow has either led or been tied for the most receptions in that time span. Renfrow flashed on a nice corner route he took up the field for 27 yards. While he saw his lowest percentage of snaps since week one at 44%, he made the most of it by putting up his second-highest yardage mark. Renfrow and the Raiders offense will look to grab another win this week against the New York Jets who have held opposing offenses under 300 passing yards since their bye week in week four.
Projected Stat Line vs New York: 6 Receptions, 80 Yards, 1 TD
11. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins
Week 11 Stats: 3 Receptions, 69 Yards
McLaurin finds himself back on my rankings this week after dealing with a hamstring injury and a few underwhelming performances. However, last week McLaurin caught three of the four passes thrown his way and put up impressive numbers averaging 23 yards a catch. He flashed on both 20 and 41-yard receptions and while he did have a 67-yard grab, it was wiped out by a holding call. McLaurin is one of two rookie pass-catchers with over 500 receiving yards and five touchdowns behind only fellow rookie D.K. Metcalf. McLaurin will look to remain the Redskins top receiver this week against the Detroit Lions who gave up 434 passing yards last week.
Projected Stat Line vs Detroit: 5 Receptions, 100 Yards, 1 TD
10. Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Baltimore Ravens
Week 11 Stats: 4 Total Tackles, 2 TFL, 1 Sack, 1 FR
Ferguson had himself a breakout game this past weekend in the Ravens blowout over the Houston Texans 41-7. Ferguson enjoyed a career-high 72% of the team’s defensive snaps and has been a solid force in the run game and was able to notch his first NFL sack against Deshaun Watson. Ferguson was also able to scoop up a fumble on the Texans’ first drive of the game. Ferguson finds himself with another solid matchup this week against the Los Angeles Rams whose offensive line and offense, in general, have not been their usual explosive selves this year. Look for Ferguson and fellow defensive lineman to be very aggressive this week.
Projected Stat Line vs Los Angeles: 5 Total Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Sack
9. Taylor Rapp, S, Los Angeles Rams
Week 11 Stats: 8 Total Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD
Rapp has been a solid starting strong safety for the Rams since taking over in week seven. Last week he racked up eight total tackles along with a tackle for loss and picked up his fourth pass deflection. Rapp has shown off his solid tackling abilities totaling 60 tackles on the season with 35 coming in the past four weeks. Rapp was one of my favorite safeties in the 2019 NFL Draft and he has shown why I and others thought highly of the rookie in the Rams talented secondary. Rapp and the Rams defense will have their biggest challenge of the season as they take on the red-hot Baltimore Ravens.
Projected Stat Line vs Baltimore: 9 Total Tackles, 2 PD
8. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
Week 11 Stats: 15 Carries, 75 Yards
Singletary continues to be a valuable asset to this Buffalo Bills offense. For the second week in a row, he has averaged over five yards a carry and has totaled 232 yards over the past three weeks. Singletary had a couple of big runs this past weekend against the Miami Dolphins including a 25-yard dash late in the first half that would set up the Bills for a touchdown. While he did have two fumbles this past week that were both recovered by his offense, there shouldn’t be a lot of cause for concern as they were his first two of the year. Singletary will be up for a challenge this week taking on the Denver Broncos who have held down star runningbacks these past two weeks in Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb.
Projected Stat Line vs Denver: 18 Carries, 78 Yards
7. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Oakland Raiders
Week 11 Stats: 5 Total Tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD
With the Raiders trading away Gareon Conley back in week eight, Mullen has seen a lot of the field for the defense. In that time Mullen has racked up four pass deflections as well as his first career interception this past weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals. The young rookie has yet to have less than four tackles in a game as well. Mullen has been a solid corner for the Raiders and was one of my favorite day-two picks for Oakland. Look for this tough Oakland defense to rattle the sophomore quarterback in Sam Darnold into forcing mistakes as they travel to take on the New York Jets in their week 12 matchup.
Projected Stat Line vs New York: 6 Total Tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PD
6. Scott Miller, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 11 Stats: 4 Receptions, 71 Yards
The sixth-round pick out of Bowling Green had a breakout performance this past weekend bringing in four of the six passes thrown his way for a career-high 71 yards. Miller has now put up 104 yards these past two weeks on six receptions and is establishing himself as a solid downfield threat for this Bucs offense. While the season is not looking good for the Bucs as a whole, Miller has become one of the few bright spots as he has started to earn the trust of the coaching staff. Look for Miller to continue his ascent to possibly taking away the no. 3 spot this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons.
Projected Stat Line vs Atlanta: 4 Receptions, 65 Yards, 1 TD
5. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Indianapolis Colts
Week 11 Stats: 6 Total Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT
Ya-Sin was able to pick up his first NFL career interception this past weekend late in the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was enjoying his best game on the year tallying six total tackles with one being for a loss until he went down with an ankle injury late in the third quarter. It is unclear if Ya-Sin will suit up this Thursday night against the Houston Texans and it would be a big loss for the Colts if he misses, as the Colts are already pretty thin depth-wise defensively. If Ya-Sin is active he could potentially be lining up against DeAndre Hopkins this week. Look for Ya-Sin to continue to leave his mark on this Colts defense.
Projected Stat Line vs Houston: (If Active) 7 Total Tackles, 2 PD, 1 TFL
4. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
Week 11 Stats: 23 Carries, 112 Yards
Jacobs continues to be one of the most consistent rookies in 2019. Jacobs averaged 4.68 yards a carry this past weekend and also had his fourth game over the century mark in rushing yards. The Raiders offense has continued to run through Jacobs and they also are getting him involved in the passing game. While last weekend wasn’t his most productive through the air, he did catch all three targets and put up 124 scrimmage yards which is his second-highest mark on the year. Jacobs will look to continue to produce this weekend against the New York Jets whose run defense has stepped up in recent weeks but has allowed an average of 33.75 receiving yards to opposing running backs in the last four weeks.
Projected Stat Line vs New York: 20 Carries, 90 Yards, 1 TD, 4 Receptions, 35 Yards
3. Devin White, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 11 Stats: 13 Total Tackles
White racked up double-digit tackles for the second time in three weeks this past weekend in the Buccaneers’ loss to the New Orleans Saints. White showed off the speed last week playing sideline to sideline and while his single-handed effort wasn’t enough to win them the game, he still put up great numbers. White brings his total tackle number to 54 on the year and is second on the Buc’s defense even after missing three games. White will look to continue his dominance up front this week against the Atlanta Falcons who are currently on a two-game win streak.
Projected Stat Line vs Atlanta: 10 Total Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD
2. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Week 11 Stats: 8 Receptions, 134 Yards
While it took a while for Samuel to catch on this season, the past two weeks have shown us the Deebo that Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers hoped for. This makes two weeks in a row for Samuel topping 100 yards and also grabbing eight receptions. While this is partly due to tight end George Kittle and fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders dealing with injuries, Samuel has shown why he deserves more targets. He is physical at the line of scrimmage and can blow right past defenders if they’re not ready, oh and he just might have made the catch of the year this past weekend. Samuel may see a reduction in targets this week as the 49ers are a run-first team and the Green Bay Packers have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL.
Projected Stat Line vs Green Bay: 4 Receptions, 70 Yards, 1 TD
1. Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Oakland Raiders
Week 11 Stats: 5 Total Tackles, 4 Sacks, 3 TFL, 1 FF
Crosby has been a solid pass rusher all year for the Raiders but last week was a bigtime statement for the fourth-round rookie after he racked up four total sacks. He started the game off with a bang causing a strip-sack on the Cincinnati Bengals second possession of the game. Crosby’s handwork has been impressive this season and he continued to show it off last Sunday. Crosby also showed off the motor and durability with his other three sacks all coming in the fourth quarter.
He will look to continue to make a case for Defensive Rookie of the Year this weekend as the Raiders will be taking on the New York Jets who are desperately in need of offensive lineman help. Look for Crosby to have another solid game.
Projected Stat Line vs New York: 6 Total Tackles, 2 Sacks
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