Week 5 was an offensive clinic for the rookies. Giving flashbacks to Week 1 of last season, three pass catchers surpassed the 100-yard mark this past weekend. Of course, there were still some standouts on the ball’s defensive side, including two linebackers who have been dominant this season. We have all this and more in the Week 5 edition of the NFL Rookie Rankings.
Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys
For the first time this season, Diggs was not on the field for all of the Cowboys defensive snaps. Instead, he saw 74 percent and totaled three tackles and a pass deflection. Diggs still performed well for a team right now that feels like everything is falling around them. He will have a chance to prove himself to be one of the best young corners this weekend, taking on DeAndre Hopkins in the Cowboys’ Week 6 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Akers made a strong return from injury this past weekend in the Rams’ Week 4 win. Akers made the most of the nine carries, averaging 6.7 yards per carry. While Akers hasn’t seen many touches this season in the games where he has been healthy, he continues to contribute where he can. On just 27 total touches this season, Akers has put up 117 yards from scrimmage, averaging 4.3 yards per touch. Look for Akers to continue to get touches in certain situations as the Rams work him back into the gameplan.
15. Julian Blackmon, S, Indianapolis Colts
Week 5 Stats: Four Tackles
Blackmon has served as a reliable replacement safety for Malik Hooker, who tore his Achilles early in the season. The rookie out of Utah has grabbed an interception, defended five passes, and totaled eight tackles so far on the season. Last week Blackmon picked up four tackles and played for 88 percent of the defensive snaps before leaving the game with a groin injury. As of right now, Blackmon is listed as questionable for the Colts’ next game against the Cincinnati Bengals. If healthy, Blackmon will continue to contribute to one of the better defenses in the NFL.
Projected Stat Line vs. Cincinnati Bengals (If Healthy): Five Tackles, Two Passes Defended
14. Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 5 Stats: Four Receptions, 62 Receiving Yards
Higgins has been in sync with fellow rookie Joe Burrow this season. However, last week saw them connect on just four of eight total targets. The former Clemson Tiger made the most of those four catches and took them for 62 yards in the Bengals Week 5 loss. Higgins tied with running back Joe Mixon for the most targets last week against the Baltimore Ravens. With A.J. Green potentially missing time, Higgins could see even more looks moving forward.
Projected Stat Line vs. Indianapolis Colts: Six Receptions, 80 Receiving Yards
13. Tyler Johnson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 5 Stats: Four Receptions, 61 Receiving Yards
After sitting behind a loaded receiving room through the first few weeks, Johnson finally got his moment to shine against the Chicago Bears. While the Buccaneers were unable to win, Johnson still had a good performance connecting with Tom Brady on four of the six passes thrown his way. The former Golden Gopher also saw a massive increase in reps this past week, playing 79 percent of the offensive snaps. If injuries continue to plague the Buccaneers receiving room, Johnson will continue to see targets moving forward.
Projected Stat Line vs. Green Bay Packers: Five Receptions, 65 Yards
12. James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 5 Stats: 13 Carries, 48 Rushing Yards, Five Receptions, 22 Receiving Yards
For just the second time this season, Robinson failed to reach 100 yards from scrimmage. However, they weren’t able to completely shut down Robinson in the loss. The undrafted rookie still put up 48 rushing yards, averaging 3.69 yards per carry. Jaguars fans should feel confident in Robinson despite the “low” week. Robinson continued to be involved in the passing game and grabbed five receptions and totaled 22 receiving yards. Look for Robinson to bounce back against a Detroit Lions defense that still has some improving to do.
Projected Stat Line vs. Detroit Lions: 16 Carries, 70 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown, Four Receptions, 30 Receiving Yards
11. Antoine Winfield Jr, S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 5 Stats: Five Tackles, One Pass Defended
Despite the Buccaneers’ loss, they only gave up 20 points. Winfield has been a big part of a defense that most weeks have been dominant. The rookie safety added another five tackles bringing his total on the season to 30. Winfield continued to see nearly every single defensive snaps for the Buccaneers and has started to become a foundational piece for this defense playing all over the field for Todd Bowles. Winfield will continue to be a playmaker moving forward, including their game this weekend against the Green Bay Packers.
Projected Stat Line vs. Green Bay Packers: Six Tackles, One Tackle-for-Loss, One Pass Defended
10. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Week 5 Stats: 12 Carries, 57 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown
Taylor still didn’t get the touches that he should’ve got this week, but he made the most of them, averaging 4.75 yards per carry and grabbing his third career touchdown. The former Wisconsin Badger punched into the end zone in the first quarter on a 4-yard rush to give the Colts an early lead. However, as the game progressed, the Colts’ urgency to pass became more apparent, and Taylor didn’t see nearly as many touches. Taylor could see more touches next week as the Colts face a Bengals team that doesn’t have quite as potent an offense.
Projected Stat Line vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 18 Carries, 75 Rushing Yards, One Touchdown
9. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 5 Stats: 10 Carries, 40 Rushing Yards, Three Receptions, 40 Yards
Edwards-Helaire put his expectations through the roof after a dominant Week 1 performance. However, he hasn’t quite lived up to those through the previous weeks, and he hadn’t been quite as efficient. That being said, head coach Andy Reid perhaps hasn’t gotten the rookie running back as involved. All this considered, Edwards-Helaire made the most of the touches he did get averaging four yards per carry and 13.3 yards per reception. For the first time in a while, Edwards-Heliare wasn’t the most impressive Chiefs rookie. Still, the Chiefs are taking on the Buffalo Bills this coming week, who struggled to slow down Derrick Henry in Week 5.
Projected Stat Line vs. Buffalo Bills: 14 Carries, 65 Rushing Yards, Four Receptions, 50 Receiving Yards
8. Willie Gay Jr, L.B., Kansas City Chiefs
Week 5 Stats: Six Tackles, One Sack, One Tackle-for-Loss
Gay got the start this past weekend for the Chiefs defense and, with Anthony Hitchens dealing with a hand injury, saw more reps than usual. The former Mississippi State Bulldog made the most of the extra snaps racking up six tackles and a sack in the Chiefs loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The sack was the first of his young career, and Gay showed off the athleticism that made general manager Brett Veach draft him in the second round. Look for Gay to continue to make an impact after proving his worth this past weekend.
Projected Stat Line vs. Buffalo Bills: Six Tackles, One Tackle-for-Loss
7. Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 5 Stats: Seven Receptions, 79 Receiving Yards
Shenault has entered the competition to be the no. 1 wide receiver for the Jaguars offense. While DJ Chark continues to be Gardner Minshew‘s favorite target, Shenault is slowly creeping up in targets each week. In the Jaguars’ loss to the Houston Texans, Shenault saw eight targets and caught seven of them, averaging 11.29 yards per reception. The former Colorado Buffalo also saw an uptick in the number of snaps this past weekend jumping to 69 percent. Shenault will hope to make his return to the end zone this weekend, which he hasn’t done since Week 1.
Projected Stat Line vs. Detroit Lions: Six Receptions, 80 Receiving Yards, One Touchdown
6. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Week 5 Stats: 20-34, 264 Passing Yards, Four Touchdowns
Don’t let the 0-4 record as a starter fool you with Herbert. The former Oregon Duck has made several incredible throws. Considering the offense he has had around him due to injuries, he has overperformed. On Monday Night Football, Herbert nearly led his team to a victory over the New Orleans Saints but fell short due to a missed field goal late. Herbert also became the first rookie quarterback to throw for four touchdowns on Monday Night Football. He has made great strides early, but the Chargers have had the worst luck in close games as of recent.
Projected Stat Line vs. New York Jets: 25-33, 300 Passing Yards, Three Touchdowns
5. Jeremy Chinn, LB/S, Carolina Panthers
Week 5 Stats: Nine Tackles, One Pass Defended
It’sIt’s been said several times in this series, but Chinn looks to be either the first or second-best linebacker of this draft class. However, he is the most consistent with at least seven tackles in every game thus far. Chinn tallied nine tackles on Sunday, bringing his total on the year to 44 through five weeks. The rookie linebacker also knocked down his first pass last weekend. Chinn has started every game this year and has played in 98 percent or more of the Panthers defensive snaps in all but one game so far. Chinn shows no sign of slowing down, so look for him to torment the Bears offense this coming weekend.
Projected Stat Line vs. Chicago Bears: 10 Tackles, Two Tackles-for-Loss
4. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Week 5 Stats: Eight Receptions, 124 Receiving Yards
Lamb has continued to impress this season. After finding the end zone twice two weeks ago, Lamb reached the century mark in receiving yards for the second time this season. The former Oklahoma Sooner had 11 targets against the New York Giants and hauled in eight of them for 124 yards. Lamb has showcased his playmaking ability, which we saw in college. Still, he is also starting to be an efficient route runner, allowing him to have more success moving forward. Lamb and the Cowboys offense looks to continue to put up many points this weekend against the Arizona Cardinals.
Projected Stat Line vs. Arizona Cardinals: Seven Receptions, 88 Receiving Yards
3. Patrick Queen, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Week 5 Stats: Nine Tackles, Two Fumble Recoveries, One Sack, One Forced Fumble
Queen and Chinn have competed for the best linebacker from their class. After tallying 12 tackles and three tackles for loss in Week 4, Queen followed it up with nine tackles this past weekend. The former LSU Tiger grabbed his second career sack, recovered two fumbles, and took one back for a 53-yard defensive touchdown. Queen has been a dominant force in the run game so far this season and has made plays all over the field, making him the top linebacker this past weekend. Look for Queen to continue to dominate this week against a hobbled Philadelphia Eagles.
Projected Stat Line vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 10 Tackles, Two Tackles-for-Loss
2. Henry Ruggs III, W.R., Las Vegas Raiders
Week 5 Stats: Two Receptions, 118 Receiving Yards, 1 T.D.
While Ruggs only hauled in two receptions, they were both massive chunks of yardage for the Raiders rookie. After missing time in Week 4, Ruggs has shown just how vital his presence is in the Raiders offense. Just the potential for him to scream downfield strikes fear into opposing defenses. Not only that, but Ruggs also hauled in his first career touchdown on a 72-bomb from Derek Carr in the second quarter. Ruggs will continue to dominate and intimidate opposing defenses moving forward after the Raiders Week 6 bye.
Projected Stat Line vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 7): Three Receptions, 85 Receiving Yards
1. Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 5 Stats: Seven Receptions, 110 Receiving Yards, 4 Total Touchdowns
Wow, just wow. Claypool had shown some flashes through the first few weeks of the season. But last weekend, we saw the full power of the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish wideout. Claypool found himself in the end zone not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times against the Eagles in Week 5. Three of which came through the air and the fourth came on a 2-yard rush in the first quarter. Claypool led his team in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and had a 35-yard touchdown grab late in the fourth quarter. Claypool looks to be the next on a long list of successful Steelers wideouts.
Projected Stat Line vs. Cleveland Browns: Five Receptions, 75 Receiving Yards, One Touchdown
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