The top NFL rookies continued to impress. We saw a truly historic performance from rookie rusher Antonio Gibson, as he was the first rookie to score three touchdowns on Thanksgiving since Randy Moss did it on three touches. We also witnessed a continued improvement by Panthers defensive tackle Derrick Brown, as he makes strides as a pass rusher. Who else moves in these Week 13 NFL rookie rankings?[sv slug=mocksim]
NFL Rookie Rankings Week 13 | Top 10 NFL Rookies
We saw rookie dominance start on Thanksgiving and appear throughout the entire weekend. Jonah Jackson was the only rookie on this list that appeared in the first Thanksgiving game, but three members played in the second match-up: Washington at Dallas.
1. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tristan Wirfs was once again terrifyingly good this past weekend. He held down the right side of the Chiefs’ defense with natural technique and raw power. His hands are already so good in the NFL, and he’s neutralizing edge rushers as he did in college. He’s arguably the best athlete on the field at any time, and those exact traits are what made him my highest graded tackle ever. Wirfs is having one of the best rookie offensive tackle seasons in the NFL. He has been the top NFL rookie.
Pre-draft ranking: Fifth overall, OT1
2. Chase Young, EDGE, Washington Football Team
Some people fueled the narrative that underwhelming sack numbers were indicative of the way Chase Young was playing this season. They weren’t, as Young has still been one of the NFL’s top-performing rookies. According to ESPN’s pass rush research, Young is double-teamed at a higher rate than TJ Watt and wins at a higher clip than Khalil Mack. Whether you’re watching the tape or checking the analytics, Young has been a problem for opposing offenses.
Pre-draft ranking: Top player, EDGE1
3. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are still a few years away from competing if games like this one continue to happen. The defense is one of the worst in the league, and the offense is explosive but inconsistent. Justin Herbert completed 31 of 52 passes for 316 yards and a passing touchdown this past weekend. He also threw an interception. Herbert has done a good job moving the ball downfield, but the Chargers seemingly always find ways to lose. Whether or not this will affect his rookie of the year bid is yet to be seen.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 15, QB3
4. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
No Adam Thielen, no problem for the Minnesota Vikings as rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson shined in the starring role. He registered seven receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers. Jefferson is currently one of the ten most productive receivers in the NFL, ranking eighth in yards, fifteenth in touchdowns, and fourth in yards per reception. The top NFL rookie receiver continues to impress as he maintains his top-five ranking on these Week 13 NFL rookie rankings.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 50, WR5
5. Mekhi Becton, OT, New York Jets
Mekhi Becton was lock-down for the Jets against a rival Dolphins defense that has done a good job forcing pressure on the quarterback. Becton was nearly flawless throughout the game and is currently leading all AFC tackles in pro-bowl votes. While the pro-bowl isn’t a quality measurement for how good a player has been, it is nice to see one of the top rookies getting due recognition.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 25, OT4
6. Jedrick Wills, OT, Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills has been as unbelievable for Cleveland as Becton and Wirfs have been for New York and Tampa Bay, respectively. He’s been one of the NFL’s best pass protectors, and he’s a major reason the Browns are in the driver’s seat toward a wildcard seed. Going from Joe Thomas to Wills is as good as it gets, especially considering the importance of quality offensive line play.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 10, OT2
7. Julian Blackmon, S, Indianapolis Colts
Despite being arguably the top-performing defensive rookie, Julian Blackmon still isn’t considered a “favorite” to win the defensive rookie of the year. Many viewed the selection of Blackmon as a reach by Colts GM Chris Ballard, but Ballard showed why he’s widely considered one of the top talent evaluators in the NFL. Blackmon has become the future of the Colts’ safety position, making Malik Hooker expendable in a contract year.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 175, S13
8. Michael Onwenu, iOL/OT/TE, New England Patriots
Michael Onwenu was the best value selection in the 2020 NFL Draft according to these Week 13 Rookie Rankings, as he’s the only day three selection to appear in the top 10. He’s already displayed elite versatility, playing multiple spots along the offensive line and as a jumbo tight-end, and he’s wielded elite results. Once again, the Patriots have turned a late draft selection into a future perennial pro-bowler.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 200, iOL20
9. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Once again, the Washington Football Team had CeeDee Lamb’s number, as he had his second-worst performance of the year this past Thanksgiving. His worst overall game came the first time these two teams met earlier in the season. Lamb is still one of the top rookie wide receivers, and his team’s quarterback play since Dak Prescott was injured has been some of the worst in the NFL. Hopefully, Prescott returns next year, and Lamb can take a sophomore leap with competent QB play.
Pre-draft ranking: Fourth overall, WR1
10. Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rounding out the top 10 of these Week 13 NFL Rookie Rankings, Chase Claypool comes in after a quality performance against Baltimore. Claypool registered six receptions for 52 receiving yards. He also managed to force Marlon Humphrey into a pass interference penalty deep down the field. Claypool continues his strong run.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 125, WR15