NFL Rookie Rankings Week 7: Chasing the top spot while Surtain Stokes the flames

The NFL rookie rankings continue to change as rookies emerge and others show warts. Which top NFL rookies come from your favorite team?

There weren’t many changes to the top of the NFL rookie rankings heading into Week 7. The top rookies in the NFL aren’t simply playing at a high level for first-year players; they’re some of the best in the league right now. It would take a massive swing to knock them off their throne. How well did your favorite team draft this past year?

NFL Rookie Rankings Week 7 | 1-10

The top 10 in the rookie rankings continue to fluctuate weekly, but the top names have primarily remained the same. However, the bottom half has changed up quite a bit, and as more rookies begin to shine, it will continue that way.

1) Creed Humphrey, C, Kansas City Chiefs

Creed Humphrey continues to transition seamlessly to the NFL level. It helps to have a good veteran in Joe Thuney on his left and a mauling monster on his right, but even in 1-on-1 situations throughout the season, he’s flourished.

His only true misstep of the season came against Javon Hargrave, who’s put together a year that rivals the best in the game at defensive tackle. Even so, it was only one rep. Humphrey’s been lights out. Even if you had a high grade on him coming out of Oklahoma, it isn’t easy to envision such a start.

He’s not just been one of the top rookies in the NFL — he’s been one of the brightest stars in the NFL.

2) Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Speaking of bright NFL stars, Ja’Marr Chase rises one spot to No. 2 in the NFL rookie rankings heading into Week 7. Currently fourth in the NFL in receiving yards, Chase has been one of the top WRs in the NFL through six weeks.

But it doesn’t end there. Of receivers with 10+ receptions, Chase ranks second in yards per catch, trailing only Henry Ruggs. Yes, Chase is averaging over 20 yards per catch with a quarterback who was objectively horrific passing downfield in 2020 as a rookie.

We knew the connection between Joe Burrow and Chase would be substantial. However, I’m not sure if Nostradamus could have predicted such a sharp improvement in Burrow’s downfield passing. Chase is catching almost 66% of his targets despite carrying an aDOT (average depth of target) of 16 yards.

His 92.2 yards per game is outpacing the incredible efforts of Justin Jefferson (87.5) just one year ago. He also already has 5 touchdowns, just 2 shy of Jefferson’s season total in 2020.

3) Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys

Micah Parsons played 100% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps against the Patriots. Listen, I wanted him to play more snaps than he was as a pure pass rusher, but I still am just not quite there with his usage overall, especially as Keanu Neal has returned to the team.

New England played well in the trenches, and this Week 6 contest was probably Parsons’ first “welcome to the NFL” moment. He struggled a bit this week, but he’s still a teleportation device disguised as a football player, so he’s always around the football.

He hadn’t played in such a slow-paced, ground-it-out style yet. I’m sure he’s excited for the bye week to let that body rest.

4) Rashawn Slater, OT, Los Angeles Chargers

Another week, another dominant performance from No. 70. The rookie was nearly perfect as a pass protector yet again, this time against the likes of Odafe Oweh and the Baltimore Ravens’ slew of pass rushers.

The Chargers’ offensive line struggled against the Ravens’ relentless attack, but Slater held the blindside admirably. It’s amazing that Slater has been so good, considering the concerns some had over his 33-inch arms.

It just goes to show you that technical proficiency can reign supreme. Sure, that lack of length might hurt him against aliens like Myles Garrett, but even Joe Thomas in his prime would have his hands full with Garrett.

Week 10 against Minnesota looks intriguing, but then you find that Danielle Hunter rushes from the left side of the defense a majority of the time. It won’t be until they face the Steelers in Week 11 that he’ll face an individual or unit that should provide a stern test for the rookie.

5) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Cleveland Browns

Speed is the new black, and JOK has plenty of it to go around. This young man is a heat-seeking missile. He’s flying everywhere, making plays on the edges, and doing a fine job as a coverage linebacker, which we knew would be the case after playing as a slot/safety at Notre Dame.

This is the second week in a row he’s gotten more than 60 defensive snaps, which shows that sometimes the NFL really is a meritocracy because he was clearly the Browns’ best option at the position.

6) Osa Odighizuwa, DT, Dallas Cowboys

Osa Odighizuwa had his least productive game as a pro against the Patriots, but most of that is due to game flow more than performance issues on his end. Mac Jones only threw the ball 21 times, so it’s not as if he could pin his ears back and hone in.

The Patriots’ offensive line played well against the Cowboys’ defense on Sunday. It’s partially the reason they averaged over 4.5 yards per carry with their top two runners. He’ll need to return to form against Minnesota after the bye week if he wants to hold a high position on the NFL rookie rankings moving forward.

7) Odafe Oweh, OLB, Baltimore Ravens

Oweh had his most challenging game as a pro from a pass-rushing perspective, but that’s mostly because he had to face the No. 4 player on the NFL rookie rankings heading into Week 7.

Oweh’s technical ability isn’t anything to write home about yet. He’s been winning off inconsistent hands hitting a rush move, and his athleticism and sheer determination have made up for some of the inconsistencies.

With the hot Bengals coming to town next week, it’ll be an excellent divisional test to see if he rises or falls.

8) Josh Myers, C, Green Bay Packers

Josh Myers could only manage a few snaps this past week after injuring his finger the week prior, but he’s not missed enough time yet to bump him down the list. Unfortunately, this time a knee injury sidelined the rookie center.

He’s been an excellent pass protector in the middle for Aaron Rodgers, even as the Packers have lost most of their offensive line to injury. Myers hasn’t allowed a sack yet as a pro. In fact, he’s only allowed 1 hit on Rodgers in 156 pass-blocking snaps.

Hopefully, he’s able to heal and get back on the field because it’s been wonderful to watch him win play in and play out in the middle.

9) Eric Stokes, CB, Green Bay Packers

With Jaire Alexander on the mend for the time being, Eric Stokes has to be the guy for the Packers’ cornerback room. Now, Kevin King is missing time with injury, and Stokes is battling his butt off!

He’s been targeted 36 times in his six games played, and he’s allowing fewer than a 60% completion against, and he’s forced 4 incompletions, which is 2 more than any other rookie cornerback.

Offenses test him often. Stokes allows some yards, but for how often he’s tested, the young man shows why the Packers decided to spend a first-round pick on him. He possesses excellent reactive athleticism and has played a more physical brand of football than I’d seen coming from Georgia.

10) Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos

Patrick Surtain II has not been the issue on the Denver Broncos’ secondary. The rookie cornerback has looked almost precisely how we all thought he could coming out of Alabama. He’s athletic and one of the most technically proficient cornerbacks to come out of college in a long time.

The one thing that could have been considered a knock on him was the somewhat inconsistent tracking of the football. However, he’s already shown on multiple occasions in 2021 that he can shoot the hands through the catch point if he’s slightly out of position, and he can track the ball when he does get his head around.

NFL Rookie Rankings Week 7 | 11-25

These top NFL rookies just miss out on the top 10.

11) Gregory Rousseau, DE, Buffalo Bills
12) Nate Hobbs, CB, Las Vegas Raiders
13) Azeez Ojulari, OLB, New York Giants
14) Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
15) Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Los Angeles Chargers

16) Samuel Cosmi, OT, Washington Football Team
17) Trey Smith, G, Kansas City Chiefs
18) Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
19) Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants
20) DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

21) Alim McNeill, DT, Detroit Lions
22) Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
23) Penei Sewell, OT, Detroit Lions
24) Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots
25) Pete Werner, LB, New Orleans Saints

Dalton Miller is the Lead NFL Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read more of his work here and follow him @daltonbmiller on Twitter and Twitch

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