It was a good week for the rookie class. Several had breakout performances and earned a spot on the list. As a cumulative list, consistency will ultimately determine who stays and who goes by season's end.
Before diving into the list, here are some of the other notable performances from the weekend. The list could have easily expanded to 20 this week.
- Raiders interior offensive lineman Dylan Parham (Round 3, Pick 90) played with great leverage and really only struggled with Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.
- Cowboys left tackle Tyler Smith (Round 1, Pick 24) has performed exceptionally well considering the circumstances of having to make the transition post-Tyron Smith injury.
- Commanders wide receiver Jahan Dotson (Round 1, Pick 16) was out this week but is effective in the red zone because of his footwork.
- Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (Round 2, Pick 52) has made a lot of plays outside of his frame and is starting to get on the same page with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett.
- On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have added two competent pieces in the form of linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (Round 6, Pick 188) and edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson (Round 1, Pick 2)
- Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (Round 4, Pick 137) did some good things in his first start. His feel for pressure and ability to move in the pocket allowed him to extend plays. His lone interception had nothing to do with his throw and everything with wide receiver Nelson Agholor not completing the catch.
These rankings are not based on statistical performance but rather overall play. Without further ado, here are the cumulative regular season rookie rankings following Week 5 action:
Sauce Gardner New York Jets CB
|The amount of respect that Gardner has across the league in such a short period of time is remarkable. His recognition in zone has improved, and he is still making plays downhill in run support.|
Drake London Atlanta Falcons WR
|London made some absurd catches outside of his frame. On one particular play, he snatched the ball over a defender with great strength. The quarterback play has left a lot to be desired and Atlanta's usage of him has been confusing to say the least.|
Devin Lloyd Jacksonville Jaguars OLB
|Lloyd does a good job of keeping his eyes on the action at all times. He is able to glide sideline to sideline without getting sucked into the garbage. His range was evident at Utah, and he has brought that play-making ability to Jacksonville.|
Garrett Wilson New York Jets WR
|Wilson was bracketed most of the game, and Miami did a good job of forcing Zach Wilson to roll the pocket. He had just three receptions for 27 yards.|
Abraham Lucas Seattle Seahawks OT
|Lucas was excellent in pass protection Sunday against the Saints. He did a good job of re-anchoring when pushed off his base.|
Travon Walker Jacksonville Jaguars OLB
|Walker is as physically gifted as they come on the football field. He is still developing a pass rush plan and growing in that area while being great in run support. If he continues his trajectory, then he should validate Jacksonville's reasoning for taking a chance on him at No. 1 overall.|
Chris Olave New Orleans Saints WR
|Olave suffered a head injury on a pass to the end zone in the third quarter and did not return. He ranks in the top 30 in terms of receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and yards per reception.|
Jalen Pitre Houston Texans FS
|Pitre played more of a traditional safety role in a Cover-2 look against the Jaguars. It kept him out of his most effective structure, which is lining up over the slot or serving more as an overhang linebacker jumping pass lanes and rallying to the football. He missed a few tackles in open space in the first half.|
Zion Johnson Los Angeles Chargers OG
|Johnson plays with great leverage and is able to absorb contact. Cleveland's interior defensive line has been very disappointing this season, and Los Angeles capitalized for big plays up the middle.|
Braxton Jones Chicago Bears OT
|Jones has been better in pass protection as a rookie than I could have ever expected. The most entertaining aspect of his game is his ability to serve as a lead blocker in space. It has to be disheartening for defensive backs to see a run play coming to their side with a tackle leading the way.|
Tyler Linderbaum Baltimore Ravens C
|Linderbaum does such a great job of playing the angles and working to the second level. He has excellent mobility to make plays in the run game.|
Tariq Woolen Seattle Seahawks CB
|When a cornerback is as tall as Woolen, it is assumed that they are high-cut and struggle transitioning across the field. To his credit, he is able to stay in-phase jumping routes to make big plays for his team. He is second in the NFL with three interceptions.|
Martin Emerson Cleveland Browns CB
|Emerson got downfield on a 61-yard punt and stopped it from going into the end zone. He also made a fourth-down stop towards the end of the game allowing Jacoby Brissett to come back on the field to throw another back-breaking interception. Emerson is just very physical, particularly at the catch point.|
Kader Kohou Miami Dolphins CB
|It is easy to overlook players in new roles when they are still on the field. A year ago, I am not sure how many truly appreciated how good Penei Sewell was switching back and forth between left and right tackle. Kohou has played inside out for Miami when asked and performed admirably in the process.|
Breece Hall New York Jets RB
|Hall has been an excellent pass catcher all season, but he really showed his capabilities on the ground this week. His vision and patience following blockers was on display. The Iowa State product has great balance through contact and is able to break defenders down in space.|