Here we are going to look at the best rookie class from the NFL this past season. Also, it should be pointed out that the team with the best overall rookie may not even be at the top of the list. This is a list of best OVERALL draft classes, not a singular pick. Otherwise, the Dallas Cowboys would instantly be number one with their selection of Micah Parsons. Same goes for the Cincinnati Bengals and Ja’Marr Chase.
The top rookie class was actually by the Kansas City Chiefs. They didn’t have a first-round pick and yet still knocked it out of the park. They grabbed the linebacker Nick Bolton, then their starting center Creed Humphrey. Kansas City didn’t have a third-round pick either and grabbed defensive end Joshua Kaindoh in the fourth round. In the fifth round, they swooped up Noah Gray and Cornell Powell. Finally, they snagged Trey Smith, offensive guard, in the sixth.
Bolton was a Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team selection for a reason. He was also the 13th best linebacker in the league according to Pro Football Focus. The selection of Humphrey was another smash hit. He was the best player at his position according to PFF as well. The picks in the middle didn’t get much playing time. However, Smith was a stud in the sixth round, forming a wonderful offensive line that will be one of the best for a long time.
Second Best Rookie Class?
The close second to having the best rookie class was the Denver Broncos. As we all know, they grabbed the cornerback Patrick Surtain II in the first round. They dove into the second round by selecting Javonte Williams, running back. The third round saw picks Quinn Meinerz and Baron Browning get added to the squad. They skipped the fourth round completely and came back in round five to grab Caden Sterns and Jamar Johnson. After that, the only notable selection in the sixth and seventh round was the defensive end, Jonathan Cooper.
Without a doubt, Surtain and Williams make this draft class a lot better. Surtain had four interceptions in his rookie year and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He was also graded right behind the Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl cornerback Kenny Moore by PFF. Williams on the other hand averaged 4.4 yards per carry in the ground game. He was performing so well that the team slowly shifted him into the starting running back role. Pushing aside the veteran Melvin Gordon. Quinn Meinerz is a promising offensive lineman who appeared in 15 different games this season. He was a top-40 listed guard this past season. Browning was a strong special teams’ player and eventually worked his way into a starting role down the stretch.
Then we get to Sterns, the potential replacement for the veteran Kareem Jackson. The young safety snagged a few interceptions this past season and could be in line for more work moving forward. The last notable player was Cooper, who had 38 tackles and 2.5 sacks as a rotational piece in the defensive line rotation.
All in all, these two teams had the best draft classes overall. The Cowboys and the Bengals drafted the two best players but were pretty weak with some of their other selections. The Miami Dolphins were another team in consideration for this honor with back-to-back first round picks of Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips.
Let us know if you think there was a team we missed down in the comments!
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