NFL first-round rookie ratings: Who stood out, disappointed, surprised

Note a few first-round rookies on their pre-season performances. Why the hell not? Do these ratings still correctly predict a player’s performance when the matches really matter? Of course not. But in most cases, we now have an idea of ​​whether or not a rookie is fit to get into the NFL.

These ratings are for first-round recruits of the 2022 pre-season, listed in the order in which the players were drafted. Before we begin, if a rookie is not listed, it is either because he did not play in his respective team’s opening game or, for various reasons, was unable to qualify. have a lot of impact, good or bad. .

Category B-

Walker recorded three pressures in two preseason outings. He flashed as a force against the race. The No. 1 pick’s length and strength increased again, often fending off blockers. Has he been dominated? No. But hardly looked out of place. The passing part of his game was expected to take him, and it will.

Category B-

We haven’t seen much of Hutchinson this pre-season, but I’m intrigued by his use in the exhibition final against the Steelers, where the former Michigan superstar lined up from wide nine through technical three. He had pressure and was close to saving a sack on a few other occasions.

Rating: A

Stingley has been stingy this preseason, giving up just one reception in his target zone and showing dynamic explosiveness after receivers in man and zone. He also had a pass breakup but displayed such tight coverage, the targets he was heading for were few and far between.

Rating: A-

Gardner hasn’t been targeted all preseason. In other words, Sauce has been stifling his missions all summer. But we only saw it in 23 cover shots. All in all, head coach Robert Saleh and the entire Jets organization must be more than happy with their first of three Round 1 selections.

Grade: B+

Prior to the frightening knee injury that ultimately wasn’t ruled too serious, Thibodeaux looked sharp and powerful at the Giants’ point of attack, though he didn’t generate a plethora of pressure. The ball burst looked exactly like Oregon’s, he dealt with the force of NFL tackles well, and shoved.

Category B-

It was an expected preseason from Ekwonu, who, on film at NC State, was a Mack truck for running play and mostly good but unspectacular at pass protection. That’s precisely how he played during preseason, although we all know the pro pass is more critical than anything else in the NFL.

Category B-

Neal did not play the final pre-season game but otherwise he was solid but far from dominant in the other two pre-season games. It moves exceptionally well for a human with its large and heavy frame, but balance will likely come with time.

Category B

After a shaky second preseason outing, Cross was terrific against the Cowboys, on all but one pass blocking snap, when fellow rookie Sam Williams got the best of him on a bull rush. which led to a Geno Smith bag. What I’ve noticed with Cross is that his extremely calm nature during one play — and how that translates into incredible recovery ability — translated from Mississippi State to the Seahawks. Huge plus.

Category B-

Six catches for 53 yards is the opposite of an explosive stat line for such an explosive athlete and receiver, but that’s where we are with Wilson after his first preseason. Now some of that wasn’t his fault, he didn’t have Zach Wilson for most of its representatives. He was sudden and looked quick on film.

Category B

Few looks for Olave in pre-season – only five goals in total. Now we haven’t had James Winston this preseason, and we saw what Saints quarterback depth looked like last season. Yeah. Nothing too worrying for Olave, he had a touchdown against the Packers.

Rating: C-

I’m not burying Davis in preseason. Don’t bury a recruit. But out of 37 snaps, Davis had no tackle or pressure. Of course, at around 350 pounds, Davis gets a lot of attention that helps his teammates, and that has absolute value. But overall pick No. 13 must itself be productive to become a successful pick.

Grade: B+

The more Hamilton played this pre-season, the better he became. Three missed tackles in his NFL debut. Not one after that. Against the Cardinals, Hamilton deflected a pass near the line of scrimmage on a throw into the end zone. In his 81 preseason snaps, the former Notre Dame standout looked comfortable in coverage and against the run.

Grade: C+

Only seven shots of the pass protection variety for Green this preseason, and he allowed a quarterback rush in one instance and was about to give up a few others. In the running game, he was more stable, but that’s usually the case for all young blockers. The Texans need the very experienced Green to come in ready to thwart rushers in pass protection.

Category B-

Dotson turned two targets into a pair of catches for 23 yards against the Chiefs in Week 2 of the preseason. It was all from Penn State’s first-round selection. His only two targets of the pre-season. Not terribly alarming. Not great. Hence the note.

Rating: A

Johnson has figured out his missions throughout preseason, allowing just one press of 30 pass-blocking snaps, and it’s not like he’s about to lose any battles in the lead- head-to-head against NFL veterans. He also moved through the running game methodically, often plowing lanes for the Chargers running backs.

Grade: B+

It was just four catches for 37 yards this preseason, but Burks didn’t look like someone who deserved criticism for not being athletic or coming into the NFL quite suddenly. He was effective out of the line of scrimmage, opened up in some instances, and showed off his great catching radius and run-after-catch skills on his touchdown.

Rating: D+

Penning was a turnstile in his first two preseason outings, then he was injured in the preseason finale. His turf toe could land him on IR in season, and he may not be able to come back all season. Damn.

Rating: A-

Pickett started preseason as Tommy Maddox then was Neil O’Donnell and in the finale he was a Ben Roethlisberger/Terry Bradshaw hybrid. The point I’m weakly trying to get across here – Pickett seemed to be taking steps in his development in August. He probably starts the season as a substitute for Mitchell Trubiskybut the Steelers should be reasonably happy with their current quarterback situation.

Category B-

Short audition for McDuffie in August — only 26 shots. He wasn’t involved much but wasn’t burned on the pitch for the opponent’s big plays and didn’t sniff on tackles or allow massive separation.

Grade: B+

Walker was the definition of asset this preseason, with seven tackles on 34 snaps. He quickly crossed the line of scrimmage and fought blocks like he did last season at Georgia. Safe tackle was often displayed too.

Rating: A-

Two broken passes and another forced incompleteness of tight cover on the touchline indicate Elam have had a solid pre-season. And he did. A mostly male cornerback in college, Elam seemed to be transitioning well to Buffalo’s heavy zone program, but also got the most out of his press reps.

Rating: A-

Smith played guard in the first two outings of the preseason – solid at the point of attack and rarely out of position. The only question – will he be forced to take on the role of left tackle with Tyron Smith outdoors for an extended period?

Rating: C

Three pressures on 33 quick passes this preseason for Johnson. Being just below the 10% mark is probably as expected, but the Jets probably want and need more of him this year. Johnson sought to burst quality around the corner.

Rating: C

A pressure and a single tackle on more than 40 defensive snaps in the preseason for Wyatt hints at a slow start for the former Georgia star. The Packers shouldn’t panic just yet, of course, but it would be wrong to suggest he made a very positive impression in August.

Grade: B+

Strange fought like hell this preseason, almost like he was trying to prove to everyone that he actually deserved to be a first-round pick. Now, not all of the reps were gorgeous, textbook reps, but Strange absolutely got the job done in most cases.

Rating: A-

Karlaftis wasn’t as disruptive in the preseason finale against the Packers as he was in the first two exhibition contests, but overall he looked sharp and decently powerful at the point of attack. He was brilliant against the Bear.

Rating: A

What didn’t Hill do this pre-season? On 81 snaps, he had seven tackles, one pick, one pass breakup and recorded pressure from his safety/cornerback/linebacker role in the Cincinnati defense.

Grade: B+

Cine didn’t play in the final pre-season game for the Vikings and before that he had four tackles and looked explosive and extended in his cover both when flying to the sideline or in torrid descent. He didn’t miss any of his tackle attempts either.

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