A pair of Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers are high on the rookie rankings from the 2021 NFL Draft.
We’ve reached (more or less) the quarter point of the newly minted 17-game NFL season, and it’s always a great time to check in and look at how teams, players, and rookies look through four games. Four games is a solid benchmark of snaps to analyze, and there has been some shuffling in the rookie rankings heading into this week. Let’s look at how this NFL Draft class ranks through the quarter point!
NFL Rookie Rankings Through Week 4
1. Rashawn Slater, OT, Chargers
Rashawn Slater still sits at the top of the rookie rankings, as he’s been the best offensive lineman from the class so far. There was all that guard talk before the NFL Draft, but Slater has been excelling outside at tackle. He’s got great hands, quick feet to mirror, and has been a force in the run game. He had a phenomenal rep on Monday night where he lost ground, reset his hands quickly, and dropped his pad level to prevent pressure. Slater’s patience and balance show the advanced skill set he has.
2. Greg Newsome II, CB, Browns
He didn’t play last week, but Greg Newsome has been fantastic to this point in an extremely talented Browns secondary. His abilities in man coverage, mainly how easily he changes direction and flips his hips, have really limited the targets his way so far as a rookie.
3. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Browns
He dropped off the rookie rankings for a week, but Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has had two spectacular weeks in a row. He flies downhill and is able to work around blocks to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Owusu-Koramoah is fluid in coverage and had a couple reps playing EMLOS with great pursuit from the back side. He’s doing a lot in the Browns defense and excelling in all of it.
4. Micah Parsons, LB, Cowboys
He was talked about as the best linebacker prospect in the NFL Draft, and for good reason. Parsons’ athleticism stands out every week, and he’s made an impact on the edge as well. His get off, burst, and quickness make him a tough ask for tackles, and he can cover a ton of ground working sideline to sideline defending the outside run.
5. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals
Chase continues to prove that the preseason wasn’t a big deal, as he’s still a dangerous deep threat with his physical skills and stacking ability. He’s tracking the ball very well and providing Joe Burrow with more confidence to throw it deep. Chase can separate quickly as well.
6. Creed Humphrey, C, Chiefs
In a major Chiefs overhaul on the offensive line, Creed Humphrey has been a major part of it through four games. The unit as a whole is still gelling, but Humphrey has been strong in a phone booth as a pass protector while also being a force to combo and climb as a run blocker. His fall to the late second was shocking in the NFL Draft.
7. Odafe Oweh, EDGE, Ravens
Speed and athleticism definitely win out on the edge, and Odafe Oweh has done that so far this season. He’s been able to turn the corner and win on the outside track with great explosion at the snap, and flatten his track with bend while also closing to the quarterback quickly.
8. Josh Myers, C, Packers
Another rock solid center on the rookie rankings, Josh Myers has been huge for the Packers to keep Aaron Rodgers clean and help the versatile run game in Green Bay roll. His processing skills are very good, he’s been able to work quickly out of his stance, and he picked up stunts really well against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
9. Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Chargers
Asante Samuel Jr. continues to be a key cog in the Chargers secondary, and he’s been sticky in man coverage and opportunistic when the ball is in the air, timing things well at the catch point. He’s a willing participant to make tackles in the run game and has done well against stiff competition thus far.
10. Trey Smith, G, Chiefs
There were concerns ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft for Trey Smith, but his lunging and balance issues have made huge improvements. He’s a true finisher and has put some defensive linemen on the ground as well as reset the line of scrimmage on occasion. Smith is a brick wall in pass protection as well.