TSL’s Top NFL Rookies Entering Week 3 | These Neophytes Are Playing Like Vets

Devonta Smith is distinguishing himself as one of the NFL's best rookies. The Hesiman Trophy winner has become a favorite target of Jalen Hurts (Photo: Screen Shot Youtube)

Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence is still the odds-on favorite to win the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, even though he hasn’t even been a top 10 rookie so far production-wise.

It will take him longer to flourish than some other young QBs who are on better teams and enjoy more supporting talent.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is looking like he’ll crash that party and take it back to Foxboro. On the defensive side, Cowboys defensive end/linebacker Micah Parsons is the favorite as of now, but this race is fluid, and projections don’t seem as obvious.

There’s still a lot of football to be played, but let’s see what other “frosh” have been straight ballin’ two weeks in.

1. Ja’Marr Chase 

Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been on tear to begin the season after making comments about not being able to see the NFL football because it looks different than the college football.

Being reunited with his college quarterback Joe Burrow has allowed Chase the rare opportunity to pick up where they left off at LSU. Chase was the top receiver drafted in the 2021 draft after sitting out the 2020 season.

 

He’s oozing with explosive playmaking ability and has already displayed that on the pro level. Chase became the first receiver since 1976 to have touchdown catches of 40 yards or more in his first two pro games.

2. Mac Jones

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones waited his turn for three seasons at Alabama, and his perseverance is paying off. Jones has looked like a pro-ready QB in his first two starts.

Jones maintained his composure while also avoiding turnovers and gave the Patriots a chance in a (17-16) loss in Week 1. Getting his first win under his belt in Week 2 against the Jets last Sunday was vital. The transition from college to NFL has been very manageable for Jones. This kid just understands how to play the position.

3. Micah Parsons

For the second consecutive draft it looks as if the Cowboys landed a top-10 talent with a later pick. Last year it was wide receiver Ceedee Lamb. This season it appears to be the loquacious, do-it-all defensive utility player Micah Parsons. Parsons is flexing his versatility, playing both defensive end and linebacker.

In week 1 Parsons showed ballhawking abilities but looked confused against Tom Brady and the Bucs’ weaponry, as one would expect a rookie to be.  Last week, however, Parsons wreaked havoc gainst the Chargers’ offensive line.

MC11 recorded one sack, but it was the eight QB pressures while filling in for injured All-Pro defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence. With elite speed to burn and be around the ball, Parsons should be able to accumulate some gaudy stats, which makes him the top candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

4. DeVonta Smith 

Philly’s DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy in 2020, so we have all seen him destroy the best secondaries in college football. Despite his dominant season, haters questioned his petite frame entering the draft.

Smith has made the most of his targets and leads the team in receptions. His college connection with Jalen Hurts already looks to be paying off. It’s clear Hurts trusts him. The Eagles knew what they were getting when they took Smith, and Hurts has targeted Smith more than any other receiver so far.

5. Najee Harris

When the Steelers drafted Alabama running back Najee Harris, the Black and Gold got a complete back with three-down ability. In a passy-happy world, elite, downhill runners like Harris are still valuable weapons.

He’s had a few exciting runs already, one against Buffalo and a touchdown reception against the “Rayduhs” on Sunday. If Pittsburgh can get that offensive line to actually open up some running lanes, watch out.

Harris is about as complete a back as you’ll find and is just scratching the surface of what he can do in the NFL.

Honorable Mention:

Trevor Lawrence – Jaguars (QB)

Zach Wilson – Jets (QB)

Greg Rousseau – Bills (Edge)

Jaylen Waddle – Dolphins (WR)

Odafe Oweh – Ravens (Edge)

Jaycee Horn – Panthers (CB)

Patrick Surtain – Broncos (CB)

Kwity Paye – Colts (Edge)