While we saw a number of new rookies make their debuts during Week 2 of the NFL season, we also saw some of the other top rookies prove that their strong Week 1 performances weren’t just flukes. After only providing the top 10 last week, I’ve bumped the list up to the top 20 for this week’s NFL rookie rankings.
Despite a short off-season, no rookie mini-camp, and no preseason, it feels like rookies are playing even better than in past seasons. In Week 2, we saw the debut of the second rookie quarterback from 2020, Justin Herbert. Will he make this week’s edition of the NFL rookie rankings? As was the case last week, the rankings are based on both a player’s success through the first two weeks of their NFL careers as well as my personal pre-draft grade.
Rookies who have yet to take the field were not deemed eligible for this list.
NFL Rookie Rankings: Week 2 | #1-10
1. Chase Young, EDGE, Washington Football Team
Chase Young had another strong performance in the second week of his rookie season. He wasn’t as dominant rushing the passer as he was in Week 1 against Philadelphia, but he still managed to register a sack. He’s currently tied with Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt for the NFL lead in sacks, an amazing feat considering Watt was arguably the top defender in football last year, and Young is only two games into his career.
While Young didn’t completely take over the game against the Cardinals as a pass rusher, he was utterly dominant against the run. Young has done nothing but prove his status as the top player in the 2020 NFL Draft class, and he remains the top player for the Week 2 NFL rookie rankings.
Pre-draft ranking: Top player, EDGE1
2. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After producing a strong game against New Orleans in Week 1, Antoine Winfield Jr. stepped it up to a higher level against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. He’s played like a top-10 safety throughout the first two games this season, flying around the field registering 17 total tackles, an end-zone pass deflection, and a strip-sack. The Bucs stole Winfield with the 45th overall pick, and he’s already playing at an All-Pro level.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 50, S4
3. C.J. Henderson, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
After a dominant performance in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts, CJ Henderson wasn’t perfect against the Titans in Week 2. However, he still played a strong game, and his only real mishap was a touchdown allowed to Corey Davis on great ball-placement by Ryan Tannehill. Henderson also looked like an improved tackler against Derrick Henry, an encouraging sign. Henderson still looks like a future shut-down cornerback.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 15, CB2
4. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
Some were puzzled or upset that I had Joe Burrow in the top five of last week’s rookie rankings, so, naturally, he went out and shredded the Browns for 313 yards and three touchdowns on his second career game while making his NFL Primetime game debut. Burrow was the first overall selection for a reason. He’s expected to be a threat to multiple rookie pass rankings, and he showed why on Thursday night. I wouldn’t recommend betting against Burrow, ever.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 10, QB1
5. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
CeeDee Lamb had a more productive game against Atlanta than he did in his debut as he posted the first 100 yard game of his career. Five of Lamb’s six targets went for first downs, and he’s now averaging 15 yards per reception. Lamb is currently twelfth in the NFL in receiving yards, and it likely won’t take long before he’s consistently expected to finish in the top 10. My personal WR1 for the 2020 Draft has comfortably been the top rookie receiver in football.
Pre-draft ranking: Fourth overall, WR1
6. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you asked someone who the top rookie tackle has been, there are three acceptable answers, all appearing in the next three rankings. However, since these rankings are a combination of my pre-draft rankings and their play on the field through the first two weeks of the season, Tristan Wirfs comes in first.
My 2020 OT1 had a very impressive debut against Cameron Jordan and the Saints but followed it up with a dominant performance against the Carolina Panthers. Wirfs is a cornerstone piece to build around, and it won’t be long before he’s considered one of the top right tackles in the NFL.
Pre-draft ranking: Fifth overall, OT1
7. Jedrick Wills, OT, Cleveland Browns
As much as I loved Myles Garrett coming out, selecting Jedrick Wills with the 10th selection in the 2020 NFL Draft was the best pick the Browns have made since they selected Joe Thomas in the 2007 NFL Draft. Wills has been playing the first two weeks with an injured shin, but you couldn’t tell from the way he’s been performing. He put on a pass protecting clinic against a very underrated Cincinnati defensive line.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 10, OT2
8. Mekhi Becton, OT, New York Jets
If anyone tells you Mekhi Becton has been the best rookie tackle in football, it would be difficult to argue. He’s been a monster in the run game, and his pass protection has been astonishingly better than I expected it’d be in his rookie season. Becton might already be the best run-blocking left tackle in the NFL. I didn’t love the selection when New York made it, because I was higher on Wirfs, but Joe Douglas proves once he again that he’s one of the top talent evaluators in the game.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 25, OT4
9. Jaylon Johnson, CB, Chicago Bears
Jaylon Johnson is not someone I expected to put on this list, and definitely not this high, but I always give credit where credit is due. Johnson has had back to back weeks as an impactful cornerback for Chicago. Teams have been trying to target Johnson as a rookie cornerback, and he’s made life difficult for them. He’s on pace for 40 pass deflections on the season, which is obviously an unsustainable rate, but it just shows how great he’s been at the catch point. Johnson, paired with Kyle Fuller, is a great duo for the Bears.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 75, CB12
10. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire didn’t find the same success against the Chargers as he did in Week 1 against the Texans, but he was still a productive weapon. He only carried the ball 10 total times, but he was heavily featured in the passing game registering eight total targets and six receptions. A bit of an inverse from Week 1 when he had twenty-five carries and two targets. As is typically the case in an Andy Reid offense, Edwards-Helaire’s usage will vary from week to week, but he’ll always be in a position to produce.
Pre-draft ranking: Top 50, RB5
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