Top Five Rookies 7 Weeks Into the Season

As we get closer to the midway point of the season, multiple rookies have turned in solid performances for their teams. Different players drafted in various rounds and signed as undrafted free agents, all trying to fight for a place in the league. Now, let's look at the top five best NFL rookies after seven weeks in the season.

#1. WR Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams

Kicking off this list is one of the two players in the group that were not a first-round selection. Nacua has been downright unstoppable for the Los Angeles Rams, quickly becoming one of Matt Stafford's favorite targets. Selected in the 5th round of the draft, Puka has earned his spot atop this list with his dominant performances thus far. He has registered 58 catches, 752 yards, and two touchdowns in seven games. His 752 yards are enough to place him third in the NFL behind established All-Pros Tyreek Hill and AJ Brown. He is a great athlete and a personable human being; I look forward to seeing his season and career develop.


#2. QB CJ Stroud, Houston Texans

It's difficult for me to put Stroud here and not at number one, as his impact on the Texans franchise is unignorable. The only reason I have Nacua ahead of CJ is due to him playing at an All-Pro level. Now, in no way should Stroud's season be taken lightly. Currently, he has the Texans at 3-3, which matches their season win total from a year ago. CJ's impact is largely to credit, both on and off the field. The rookie QB has reportedly gone the extra mile in relationship building with his teammates, which he attributes to a meeting with Tom Brady on the importance of the group. On the field, Stroud has also impressed, coming in fourth in passing yards a game with just under 280 and throwing nine touchdowns to only a single interception. While he has had some mishaps here and there, Stroud's overall performance has been what many had hoped in the Houston organization when selecting him second overall.  


#3 DT Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles

To many, Carter was the best prospect in the draft this past offseason. If not for certain college legal troubles, Carter might have been the number one selection. Philadelphia stole the Georgia Defensive Tackle with the ninth pick in the draft. It has been a fall that has the potential to be historic, as Carter has played up to that pre-draft hype. Seven weeks in, Carter is rushing the passer at an elite level for Philly. Carter leads the league in pass rush win rate for DTs at an astounding 26%, placing him above players like Aaron Donald and Quinnen Williams. Carter is tied for fourth in the NFL for QB pressures at his position with 12, while getting home for 3.5 sacks. Carter is constantly making life difficult for opposing QBs, as he is tied for fifth overall in QB hurries regardless of position. Run stopping has been a slight chip in his game so far, something he will surely improve on as he gets accustomed. Approaching mid-season of his rookie year, Carter has looked the part, thus cracking my list at number three. 


#4 CB Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks

Witherspoon, the number five overall pick out of Illinois, has been tremendous for Seattle. Standing at an even six feet, the physicality in his game stands tall on tape. Delivering bone-crushing hits seemingly every week, Witherspoon has made a name for himself as a good tackler, being tied for third in combined tackles by rookies. He continues to amaze in coverage as he bolsters the highest PFF grade of any NFL Corner. Witherspoon's impressive athleticism appears on tape, having run a 4.42 forty at the combine. In New York for Monday Night Football, Devon made his presence felt as he intercepted Daniel Jones and returned it 97 yards to the house. His only interception to date displayed athleticism as well as his instincts. While running mate Riq Woolen recovers from an injury, Witherspoon will continue to hold down the secondary. A future with the two of them securing this Seattle secondary should be something to behold for Seahawks fans. 


#5 RB Devon Achane, Miami Dolphins

Achane, while injured, is the second rookie on this list drafted outside the first round. Drafted with the 84th pick in the third round, Achane had a quiet week one to the season and then burst onto the scene with dominant performances. Starting with his 200-yard rushing and four total touchdown performance against Denver, which saw the Broncos take a demoralizing 70-20 loss. The following week, he ran for 100 yards on only eight carries with two more touchdowns in a loss to Buffalo. When the New York Giants came to play the week after that, Achane brought his best yet again. Rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown on only eleven carries, the Miami Runningback had an impeccable start to his career. Through only four games, he has amassed 460 yards rushing with five rushing touchdowns to match. It's an impressive feat, but it becomes even more impressive when you realize he did this on 38 carries, making his yards per carry a preposterous 12.1 yards. Catching the ball, he also has been very effective, holding two receiving touchdowns to his name. Injury is the only thing that keeps him at number five on my list, as I could easily see him returning to form when he returns. When he does return, Miami's electric offense will add another spark plug to its repertoire. 

Honorable Mentions:

CB Deonte Banks, New York Giants

RB Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

DE Will Anderson, Jr., Houston Texans