Top 5 NFL Rookies After Week 5 | The Jets Have Two Gems In Breece Hall And Sauce Gardner

Each week focus on the NFL frosh and how they’re making out in their first professional season. This week New York Jets rookie tailback Breece Hall takes the top spot on the list.

1. Breece Hall — New York Jets, RB

The Jets are a run-based offense, meaning Breece Hall and teammate Michael Carter share the load. But if Sunday’s performance by Hall was any indication, he’s the lead guy now. In the Jets’ 40-17 win over the Dolphins, the former Iowa State star tallied 197 total yards.

Hall is no stranger to carrying the workload, having posted multiple 2,000-scrimmage-yard seasons as a member of the Cyclones. While he probably won’t reach that plateau this season, Hall gives the Jets a reliable every down back who has the ability to take it the distance. Following Sunday’s electric performance, which included a 79-yard run and 21-yard run, head coach Robert Saleh was singing the rookie’s praises. 

“He was awesome, he’s an explosive player. When we drafted him, we said we drafted him because we needed a home run hitter on this team, and he did that. He hit a couple home runs today.”

2. Sauce Gardner — New York Jets, CB

The lockdown corner from Cincinnati was impressive on Sunday, tallying an interception. His big hit on Fins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater knocked Tua Tagovailoa’s backup out of the game. Sauce held receivers to three catches for 26 yards while being targeted 12 times. Saleh loves physical, ballhawking corners from his days as the Niners defensive coordinator, and the uber confident Sauce fits the mold.

Saleh told reporters it’s no learning curve for this rookie class.

“This group it hasn’t been too big for them. They’ve rolled right in.”

3. Devin Lloyd — Jacksonville Jaguars, LB

When the Jags drafted the former Utah Utes star they knew he was a three-down linebacker, but not nearly as good as he’s shown thus far. Lloyd is off to a strong start, showing his versatility as a run-stopper and someone who can run with tight ends and backs in coverage. His two interceptions are just off the NFL leaders, no matter the position, and he’s had his hands on three or four others.

4. Dameon Pierce — Houston Texans, RB

While Pierce wasn’t a first-round selection, he’s proved that he’s a first-round talent. Pierce is currently leading all rookies in rushing yards with 412 yards on 86 totes, for a robust 4.8 yards per carry average. What’s even more astounding is 156 of those yards have come after contact, proving his toughness as a runner. The Texans are in rebuild mode but have had luck finding backs later in the draft in the past. Pierce seems to be another late-round find.

5. Tariq Woolen — Seattle Seahawks, CB

Head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks have always drafted cornerbacks well. From Richard Sherman to others, the Hawks do their homework as it pertains to lengthy, rangy corners. The newest gem is former UTSA star Tariq Woolen, who’s taken the boundary corner spot in the Pacific Northwest. Woolen’s three picks and nine passes defensed have been a pleasant surprise in the young, rising Seahawks defense.

Woolen was a fifth-round selection despite standing 6 feet 4 and running a 4.26 40-yard dash. The lack of competition hurt his draft stock, but he can flat play.

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