It’s that time again, where we rank our NFL frosh after Week 4. Some newbies have crashed the party around the league.
1. Rashan Slater (Los Angeles Chargers)
Taking over the top spot is Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Rashan Slater. “The Big Hurt” is responsible for protecting the blind side of Chargers gunslinger Justin Herbert. So far Slater is exceeding expectations, having gone up against defensive menaces Chase Young, Micah Parsons, Chris Jones, Frank Clark and Max Crosby.
The rookie from Northwestern has allowed no sacks and only five QB pressures thus far this season. The Chargers may have landed a generational talent in back-to-back drafts in Herbert and Slater.
2. Ja’Marr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals)
Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase slipped from the top spot this week as his numbers in last Thursday night’s comeback win over the listless Jaguars tailed off from the first three weeks.
Silencing the doubters. 1️⃣🤫
Ja'Marr Chase has been named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Month. pic.twitter.com/OszKB7ZTfu
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 30, 2021
That’s understandable because he’s commanding more double coverage now. But his effect was felt, as the other Bengals receivers benefitted from the single covergae. He hasn’t missed a beat after sitting out the 2020 season in Baton Rouge to prepare for the NFL draft.
3. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Cleveland Browns)
Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has given Cleveland something they’ve lacked for years, a dual-threat linebacker who can cover and also rush the passer. With edge rushers Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney wreaking havoc and drawing much attention, it allows “JOK” to do what he does best and that’s play in space and use his elite speed and athleticism.
The highest-graded rookie this season?
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah 😎 pic.twitter.com/CpjdhWU5EC
— PFF (@PFF) October 4, 2021
He was huge in Sunday’s defensive win (14-7) at Minnesota. He’s only going to get better playing in this scheme.
4. DeVonta Smith (Philadelphia Eagles)
Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith cracked the 100-yard mark for the first time on Sunday. His toughness is obvious despite his smallish frame. Smith does a great job playing through the physicality of the game and has always been a willing blocker.
This DeVonta Smith route, catch, and toe-drag.
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) October 3, 2021
One of the premier route runners already as a rookie, he’s made quarterback Jalen Hurts seem very comfortable throwing to his former college teammate. He’s easily the Eagles’ No. 1 wideout.
5. Mac Jones (New England Patriots)
The Patriots quarterback faced off against Tom Brady in Brady’s first return to Foxborough, and although the Pats lost (19-17), the Alabama rookie outplayed the guy known as “GOAT.” Jones has been solid through four games and possesses traits that translate to him having a long and successful career.
Mac Jones appreciation post 🔟
The rookie QB held his own against the GOAT:
🔺 31/40 Comp/Att
🔺 275 Pass Yards
🔺 2 TD pic.twitter.com/UNsrEC810Y
— ESPN (@espn) October 4, 2021
His ability to process information and get the football out of his hands quickly is top notch. The former Alabama quarterback is cerebral and his understanding of how to play the position is obvious in his early command of the offense.
Others Rookies Flashing Skills
Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys) — Continues to do good things for the Cowboys in both the pass, rush and at linebacker with DeMarcus Lawrence out. He possesses freakish athletic ability.
Odafe Oweh (Baltimore Ravens) — Oweh had his coming-out party in the Ravens’ Week 2 win (36-35) over the Chiefs and continues to show an innate ability to get after the passer. The “Baltimore Birds” may have found another Michael McCrary.
Asante Samuel Jr. (Los Angeles Chargers) — The rookie defensive back for the Chargers continues to impress with his aggressive nature while being put on an island to defend the league’s best receivers in the Bolts’ aggressive scheme. And he’s passed every single test. Samuel is the son of former NFL star Asante Sr. and the latest addition to a stout Chargers defense. His ballhawking skills and sound technique make him elite.
Trey Smith/Creed Humphrey (Kansas City Chiefs) — The center/guard duo seems to have found their footing in the run game for the Chiefs. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been running through gaping holes the last few weeks, and a lot of those runs been right up the A gap between these two. In pass protection they’re still a work in progress but have gotten better every week.