NFL rookie report: Judging the 2018 draftees

4:04 am | January 14, 2019 | Go to Source | Author:


Every NFL team is usually pretty pleased the Monday after the draft. But after a full season, how are their draft selections working out?

NFL Nation reporters grade the rookies and look ahead to next season.

Click the links after each team to view the rookie reviews.

Scan through all 32 teams by division, or click here to jump ahead to your team:


AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills

No. 7 overall pick Josh Allen‘s 52.0 Total QBR for the season was second best among rookies to Baker Mayfield‘s 53.9. The jury is out on the Bills’ other first-round pick, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Class grade: Above average | Read more

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins’ rookie class was a mixed bag. They picked two defensive starters with long-term promise in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jerome Baker, and two tight ends, Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe, with room for growth. Grade: Average | Read more

New England Patriots

Five draft picks missed the entire season on injured reserve and a sixth spent half the season on the list. This sums up the Patriots’ 2018 draft class so far. Grade: Average | Read more

New York Jets

Between quarterback Sam Darnold, tight end Chris Herndon and defensive end Nathan Shepherd, the Jets found three immediate starters. They also found two special-teams players in cornerback Parry Nickerson and running back Trenton Cannon. Grade: Above average | Read more


AFC NORTH

Quarterback Lamar Jackson headlined the Baltimore Ravens’ draft class, but he wasn’t the only rookie who impacted the team’s offense. In total, four first-year players — Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews, right tackle Orlando Brown and running back Gus Edwards — ended up starting for the NFL’s ninth-ranked offense. Grade: Near perfection | Read more

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals might have found their next star safety in Jessie Bates III, but the rest of the 2018 draft class is a work in progress. The Bengals didn’t get much out of their 11 picks beyond the first three rounds, and everyone below the fifth round barely contributed. Grade: Below average | Read more

Cleveland Browns

Quarterback Baker Mayfield set the record for rookies with 27 touchdown passes, running back Nick Chubb was 6 yards short of 1,000 and cornerback Denzel Ward was named to the Pro Bowl. Grade: Near perfection | Read more

Pittsburgh Steelers

With changes looming for the Steelers’ roster, the franchise will need more from this group. Two talented pass-catchers and the behind-scenes development of third-round quarterback Mason Rudolph will determine whether that happens sooner or later. Grade: Average | Read more


AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans

The Texans hit a home run on the second day of the draft after not making a pick in the first two rounds. Adding safety Justin Reid in the third round gave the Texans a safety tandem that helped restore the defense to one of the NFL’s best units. Grade: Above average | Read more

Indianapolis Colts

Guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard were two of the 11 draft picks who saw playing time. Seven started at different points in the season. Grade: Near perfection | Read more

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars’ last pick (247th overall) was their best, which speaks to how badly the class performed. Punter Logan Cooke averaged 45.0 yards per punt, ranked fifth in the NFL in punts inside the 20 (35) and seventh in punts inside the 10 (12). Grade: Below average | Read more

Tennessee Titans

Outside linebacker Harold Landry was the standout rookie for the Titans. He finished the season with 4.5 sacks and established himself as the Titans’ best pass-rusher. Grade: Average | Read more


AFC WEST

Denver Broncos

Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb and wide receiver Courtland Sutton were one-two among Denver’s rookies with more than 800 snaps played this season. Undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay also made a major impact. Grade: Near perfection | Read more

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs didn’t have a first-round draft pick in 2018 and it showed in the limited contributions they received from their rookie class. Grade: Below average | Read more

Los Angeles Chargers

In the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, safety Derwin James has been a versatile playmaker for the Chargers this season. And the Florida State product is just part of talented rookie class for general manager Tom Telesco. Grade: Near perfection | Read more

Oakland Raiders

Jon Gruden’s first Raiders draft class since 2001 offered his first building block in another franchise rebuild. Grade: Average | Read more


NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys’ top five draft picks, from first-rounder Leighton Vander Esch to fourth-rounder Dalton Schultz, combined to start 34 games. Grade: Above average | Read more

New York Giants

The Giants’ draft, beginning with running back Saquon Barkley, looks really good. He led the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,028) and was second with 1,307 rushing yards. Grade: Near perfection | Read more

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles traded out of the first round and selected five players overall. Still, they were able to get solid production out of their top two choices and may have found a gem in the final round. Grade: Above average | Read more

Washington Redskins

They found a strong starting nose tackle in Daron Payne, and second-round pick Derrius Guice would have been a full-time starter if not for a torn ACL in August. Within the next two seasons, this class could produce three starters. Grade: Average | Read more


NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

Linebacker Roquan Smith got off to a slow start when he missed most of the preseason because of a contact holdout and injures. The No. 8 overall pick settled in and finished his rookie year with 122 tackles. Grade: Above average | Read more

Detroit Lions

GM Bob Quinn went into the 2018 draft with a clear purpose: revamp the Lions’ run game. He got two offensive linemen, a running back and a fullback among his haul of players. Grade: Above average | Read more

Green Bay Packers

Every member of the Packers’ draft class spent time on the 53-man roster except for fifth-round pick Cole Madison — the offensive lineman from Washington State never reported for undisclosed personal reasons. Grade: Above average | Read more

Minnesota Vikings

By season’s end, several rookies — particularly a few who joined the team after going undrafted — showed promise that their roles will create a meaningful impact for the Vikings, who are looking to move on from a lost season. Grade: Average | Read more


NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons

Led by first-round draft pick Calvin Ridley, sixth-round pick Foye Oluokun and fourth-round pick Ito Smith, the six-man class gave the coaches reason to be optimistic about the future. Grade: Above average | Read more

Carolina Panthers

When your first-round draft pick plays your No. 1 wide receiver out of a job and the second-round pick becomes a starter on Day 1, then you have to deem the class a success. Grade: Above average | Read more

New Orleans Saints

If defensive end Marcus Davenport and receiver Tre’Quan Smith realize their potential, the class will be deemed a success for the Saints. But when it comes to depth, this year’s haul was a big letdown. Grade: Average | Read more

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers’ class finished significantly below expectations. Just one player cracked the starting lineup in Week 1 (Carlton Davis), despite the Bucs having four picks in the first two rounds of the draft. | Grade: Below average | Read more


NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

Nine rookies played in Week 17 in large part because of injuries. Quarterback Josh Rosen was one of four who started. Grade: Above average | Read more

Los Angeles Rams

Rams rookies played only 573 snaps on offense and defense, the fewest in the NFL. Defensive end John Franklin-Myers, a fourth-round pick from Stephen F. Austin, appeared in all 16 games and played 283 snaps, the most by any Rams rookie. Grade: Average | Read more

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers leaned heavily on rookies for the second consecutive year in 2018, with a whopping seven of them starting at least one game. The Niners’ rookie class played 3,832 snaps in 2018, sixth among rookie classes in the league. Grade: Above average | Read more

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks’ 2018 draft class already has yielded at least two surefire starters, an All-Pro specialist and a handful of others who should be regular contributors if nothing else. That’s a nice haul despite the underwhelming start for the first player chosen among that group, running back Rashaad Penny. | Grade: Above average Read more


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