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Week 2 NFL Rookie Rankings

Justin Herbert
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It was an offensive heavy week for the potential stars of the National Football League. The rookie quarterbacks made strong appearances and several skill position players continued to dominate in the second week of play. However, the defensive rookies still had a few stellar performances and the Los Angeles Chargers, despite the loss, should have a lot of faith in where their 2020 draft class could take them. It’s time to dig into another edition of the NFL weekly rookie rankings. As always, here are two honorable mentions from Week 2.

Honorable Mentions

Jaylon Johnson, CB, Chicago Bears

Johnson has quietly had a great start to his NFL career. While he has yet to snag his first interception, Johnson has played strong coverage and also tallied four tackles in last week’s win for the Bears. He has started both games so far this season and has broken up five passes, two of which were in last week’s victory. After teammate Artie Burns tore his ACL, Johnson was shoved into the starting role and has impressed thus far. 

Projected Stat Line vs. Atlanta Falcons: Four Tackles, Two Passes Defended

L’Jarius Sneed, CB, Kansas City Chiefs

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Sneed finds himself on this list for the second week in a row. After grabbing his second career interception in the Chiefs Week 2 win against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sneed continues to impress. While the pick came on an ill-advised throw, Sneed still went across the field to pick off the floating pass. Sneed has done a lot this first couple of weeks with a depleted cornerback room, and for the most part, has passed with flying colors. However, there’s still plenty of room for growth in the coming weeks.

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Projected Stat Line vs. Baltimore Ravens: Five Tackles, Two Passes Defended

15. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

Week 2 Stats: Four Receptions, 62 Yards

Jeudy seems to be one of the few prominent Broncos left standing after a weekend that saw several big names sidelined for an extended amount of time. Despite the injuries, Jeudy still put together a strong performance totaling 62 receiving yards on four receptions and seven targets. Jeudy saw an increase in both catch percentage and yards per target this week despite exiting the game in the second quarter after taking a hard shot to the ribs. Jeudy would return later in the game. With teammate Courtland Sutton out for the season after tearing both his ACL and MCL, Jeudy could be seeing a large percentage of targets this season.

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Projected Stat Line vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Six Receptions, 70 Yards, One Touchdown

14. Quintez Cephus, WR, Detroit Lions

Week 2 Stats: Three Receptions, 54 Receiving Yards

Cephus caught all three passes thrown his way this past weekend in the Lions blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers. Cephus was dangerous after the catch last week with 32 of his 54 yards coming after he got his hands on the ball, averaging 10.7 yards after the catch. While he has yet to find the end zone, Cephus is starting to become a more significant part of this offense as he continues to get over 60 percent of the offensive snaps. Even though it’s only Week 2, Cephus is starting to look like a solid late-round pickup for the Lions.

Projected Stat Line vs. Arizona Cardinals: Four Receptions, 65 Receiving Yards

13. Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team

Week 2 Stats: 13 Carries, 55 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown

Gibson had a strong performance in Washington’s Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. While the offense struggled for the majority of the game, Washington found some life in the fourth quarter after Gibson scored his first career rushing touchdown. The former Memphis Tiger averaged 4.2 yards per carry, putting up the majority of his yardage in the fourth quarter. Gibson saw a whole 65 percent of Washington’s offensive snaps showing that the coaches want him to be more involved in the coming weeks. Gibson will be going up against a decent run defense in the Cleveland Browns this weekend.

Projected Stat Line vs. Cleveland Browns: 16 Carries, 70 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown

12. Patrick Queen, LB, Baltimore Ravens

Week 2 Stats: Nine Tackles, One Quarterback Hit

Queen put up another solid performance in week two for the Ravens. After putting up nine tackles, Queen led his team in that category and laid down a shot on quarterback Deshaun Watson. While he hasn’t been an every-down backer, playing 71 percent of the Ravens defensive snaps, when Queen is on the field, he makes his presence known. Queen has turned into a tackling machine at the NFL level and now has 17 total tackles after just two weeks. Be sure to watch Queen and this Baltimore defense this coming Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Projected Stat Line vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Seven Tackles, One Tackle-for-Loss

11. Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 2 Stats: Three Receptions, 88 Receiving Yards, One Touchdown

Claypool would find the end zone this past weekend on an 84-yard bomb from Ben Roethlisberger. The second-round receiver got to show off the balance on the sideline and the jets as he would scamper down the sideline the extra 40 or so yards to take it the house. While this one catch made up most of his yards in the game, Claypool would catch the other two passes thrown his way. Claypool saw the field for 37 percent of the Steelers offense and a significant amount of special teams. Be sure to watch for Claypool when the Steelers need a big play in the coming weeks.

Projected Stat Line vs. Houston Texans: Four Receptions, 65 Receiving Yards

10. Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Week 2 Stats: 23 Carries, 64 Rushing Yards, Two Receptions, 49 Receiving Yards

Kelley has had two strong performances so far this year. Last week against the Chiefs, Kelley saw more touches than his veteran teammate Austin Ekeler. While Kelley’s yards per carry was subpar, sitting at 2.78, he was dangerous in space coming out of the backfield averaging 26 yards after the catch on his two receptions. It’s clear that the Chargers coaching staff see something with Kelley, so it would be wise to keep a close eye on him as the season progresses. This week Kelley and the Chargers are taking on a Carolina Panthers defense that has allowed over 120 rushing yards in both games this year.

Projected Stat Line vs. Carolina Panthers: 18 Carries, 70 Rushing Yards, Three Receptions, 50 Receiving Yards

9. Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 2 Stats: Three Receptions, 35 Receiving Yards, Five Carries, 37 Rushing Yards

Shenault has been a large part of the Jaguars offense early this season. Last week exemplified this as Shenault was involved in the passing game and played a role in the Jaguars’ rushing attack. The former Colorado Buffalo caught three of the four passes thrown his way and put up a total of 72 yards from scrimmage. The Jaguars are using him as a sort of flex back/receiver, and he has seen consistent touches through the early parts of the season.

Projected Stat Line vs. Miami Dolphins: Four Receptions, 45 Receiving Yards, Three Carries, 25 Rushing Yards

8. Kenneth Murray, LB, Los Angeles Chargers

Week 2 Stats: 10 Tackles, One Pass Defended

Murray was a tackling machine for the Oklahoma Sooners, totaling 325 in his three-year career there. This talent has translated in the early weeks as Murray put up 10 tackles last week against the Chiefs and helped eliminate their offense for most of the game. Murray also knocked down a pass and looked to potentially be an all down backer for the Chargers after playing 83 percent of the defensive snaps last week. Murray will look to continue his tackling frenzy this week against the Carolina Panthers.

Projected Stat Line vs. Carolina Panthers: 11 Tackles, Two Tackles-for-Loss

7. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Week 2 Stats: 37-61, 316 Yards, Three Touchdowns

Burrow found himself in a Thursday Night Football shootout against the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns. While the Bengals would ultimately lose 35-30, Burrow instilled hope for the future. Burrow threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, as well as rush for 19 yards. The former LSU Tiger showed great accuracy on the shorter range throws and impressively led the Bengals on a couple of late-game drives. If nothing else, Burrow showed durability with the sheer amount of reps he made. He is now enjoying some extended rest time before taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3.

Projected Stat Line vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 30-45, 290 Passing Yards, Two Touchdowns

6. Antoine Winfield Jr, S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 2 Stats: 11 Tackles, One Sack, One Forced Fumble

Winfield had himself a day in Week 2 for the Buccaneers. The hard-hitting safety wound up with double-digit tackles, a sack on the quarterback, and forced a fumble. Winfield looks at home in defensive coordinator Todd Bowles‘ system and has become a big part of this defense and has played nearly every single snap so far this season. The former Golden Gopher now has 17 tackles on the season, a forced fumble, a pass breakup, and now a sack. Winfield has quickly become one of the top defensive rookies in his class.

Projected Stat Line vs. Denver Broncos: Eight Tackles, One Pass Defended, One Tackle-For-Loss

5. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Week 2 Stats: Six Receptions, 106 Receiving Yards

Lamb crossed the century mark this past weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, making him the highest-ranked receiver on this list. The former Sooner would bring in six of the nine passes thrown his way and added nine yards on the ground. Like many of the rookies on this list, Lamb was efficient after the catch averaging 9.8 yards in that category last weekend. Lamb saw an increase in reps on offense this past weekend and has solidified himself as the number two receiver. The Cowboys could be in store for another shootout against the Seattle Seahawks, so watch out for Lamb again this week.

Projected Stat Line vs. Seattle Seahawks: Five Receptions, 85 Receiving Yards, One Touchdown

4. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Week 2 Stats: 26 Carries, 101 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown

With teammate Marlon Mack done for the season, Taylor got the call for a large majority of the game last week against the Minnesota Vikings. The former Badger would reach the century mark in rushing yards and add nine yards through the air on two receptions. Taylor also found himself in the end zone for the first time of his career on a five-yard rush for the Colts’ first score of the game. Taylor showed off his impeccable balance as he rushed through the Vikings defense, helping the Colts dominate in their Week 2 outing. The young back should continue to be a large part of the offense moving forward.

Projected Stat Line vs. New York Jets: 25 Carries, 110 Yards, One Touchdown

3. James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 2 Stats: 16 Carries, 102 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown

The undrafted free agent out of Illinois State made his presence known this past weekend. While the Jaguars walked away with a loss, Robinson had a phenomenal performance putting up 102 rushing yards on 16 carries. Robinson would also rush for his first career touchdown this past weekend making sure that Jaguars fans forget the name Leonard Fournette. The rookie would also add 18 yards through the air, and average 6.4 yards per carry. Robinson has earned the starting role for this Jaguars team and looks to solidify that role in the coming weeks.

Projected Stat Line vs. Miami Dolphins: 20 Carries, 100 Yards, One Touchdown

2. Chase Young, EDGE, Washington Football Team

Week 2 Stats: Four Tackles, Two Tackles-for-Loss, One Sack

The second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had another excellent performance in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. While the team struggled as a whole, Young was still able to get penetration to rack up two tackles for loss and bring down Kyler Murray for a sack, which few have been able to do this season. Young has lived up to what people thought he was. With the assistance of a great defensive line, he has been able to thrive against opposing offensive tackles. Young will look to keep the sack streak alive this weekend against the Cleveland Browns.

Projected Stat Line vs. Cleveland Browns: Five Total Tackles, One Sack

1. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

Week 2 Stats: 22-33, 311 Passing Yards, Two Total Touchdown, One Interception

Talk about surprises. Herbert got the call to start last weekend against the Chiefs before kickoff. Planned starter Tyrod Taylor was dealing with complications due to a rib injury. The former Oregon Duck did not disappoint against the Chiefs, as outside of a lousy interception, Herbert played nearly a perfect game. The rookie would complete 66 percent of his passes, throw one touchdown, and rush for another. Herbert showed poise in the pocket, made accurate mid and deep range throws, and looked in control of the Chargers offense. Even though it’s unclear whether Herbert will start this weekend against the Carolina Panthers, he still dazzled and shocked several doubters.

Projected Stat Line vs. Carolina Panthers (With Taylor Out): 25-35, 280 Passing Yards, Two Touchdowns

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Main Image Credit: 
Embed from Getty Images

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Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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