Top Five NFL Rookies to Watch In Week 9 | Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Has A New Toy

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

It’s time to rank the NFL’s top rookies after Week 8. While we’re gonna miss mainstay Breece Hall of the Jets, there are some other “frosh” who are making plays for their respective teams.

1. Isaiah Likely — Ravens, TE

The former Coastal Carolina star showed up and showed out when a struggling Ravens offense needed it. With the team trailing 10-3 at the half to the Buccaneers on “Thursday Night Football,” Likely stepped up huge in the second half. He caught six passes for 77 yards and the go-ahead touchdown to put Baltimore ahead for good late in the third quarter. It was his first NFL score, and on a team with All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews, getting reps isn’t easy. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman will find a way to use a player with Likely’s skill set if he’s going to play like that.

His quarterback, Lamar Jackson, says he’s been seeing it and it’s what he expected.

“What you’ve seen him, I’ve been seeing it. I’ve been talking about it since camp, OTAs. He showed up and showed out. He got his first touchdown, prime-time game. Hats off to him; I’m proud of him, I’m happy for him.”

2. Garrett Wilson — Jets, WR

The dynamic Wilson was seen early on in our rankings, but that was with Joe Flacco under center. Since the return of 2021 No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, his numbers have dipped quite a bit. But last Sunday he and Wilson were in sync to the tune of six catches for a career-high 115 yards. GW once again showed that elusiveness by breaking three more tackles on receptions. He has 11 broken tackles this season on just 34 catches.

3. Kyle Hamilton — Ravens, S

The long, rangy former Notre Dame star had a slow start to the season. But lately he’s been the complete safety the Baltimore Ravens believed they were getting. In Thursday’s win over the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, he allowed two catches for just 15 yards. He also had two pass breakups.

While he wasn’t flashy, he showed how effectively he can cover tight ends and bigger receivers in the seam. Ravens got another good one.

4. Alec Pierce — Colts, WR

On draft night Pierce was chosen by a group of analysts as a sleeper who was capable of contributing right away. Pierce overcome more shoddy play at the quarterback position in Sunday’s home loss to the Washington Commanders, grabbing five balls for 65 yards. He was open a few other times, but new starter Sam Ehlinger made inaccurate throws.

This season Pierce had 24 receptions for 373 yards and one touchdown. His 15.5 yards per catch average ranks third amongst all rookies.

5. Romeo Doubs — Packers, WR

One week after having three drops, the talented Doubs was money on Sunday night in Buffalo. With a depleted wide receiver corps and an offense struggling to make plays, Doubs stepped up with four catches for 62 yards and an unbelievable touchdown grab on a throw from Aaron Rodgers in the corner of the end zone.

He could be the team’s future No. 1 target but will need to show more consistency.