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Top 10 NFL Rookies - December 2021 Rankings

Ranking the best NFL Rookies of the 2021-2022 NFL season with names such as Ja’Marr Chase, Najee Harris, Mac Jones and more as they battle for NFL Rookie of the Year

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By Fan Rankings | December 03, 2021 - 02:19 PM

Year in and year out the landscape of the NFL evolves and the faces of the league rotate as top tier rookies emerge as playmakers around the NFL. The same can be said for the 2021 NFL season as the 2021 NFL draft class has put a staple of their playmaking abilities to start the season over the first 12 weeks of the 2021 NFL schedule.



When looking at the 2021 NFL draft class it is hard to not like what you see on paper and now what success has been performed through the early part of the season. A class that was loaded with offensive weapons and potential stars on defense. 

While it is difficult to analyze the rookie class of offensive lineman, the rest of the 2021 NFL draft picks can be analyzed and ranked in a battle of the top NFL rookie. The list includes the likes of Ja’Marr Chase and Mac Jones on the offensive side of the ball while Micah Parsons and Pat Surtain II on the defensive side of the ball. 

 

With that said, here is our NFL Rookie Rankings:




Honorable Mention

DeVonta Smith

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Much like his former Alabama Crimson Tide teammate Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith is emerging as one of the game's top bright stars at the wide receiver position. 

Smith is 35 in the NFL in receptions with 48, 24th in receiving yards with 686 and tied for 30th in touchdown receptions with four while averaging 14.3 yards per reception. Smith and Jalen Hurts have built strong chemistry early on while becoming a great young QB-WR tandem. 



Elijah Mitchell

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Elijah Mitchell has emerged as the San Francisco 49ers featured running back after injuries altered the team’s top plans entering the season. After being drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft out of LSU, Mitchell has put together a strong rookie season. 

Mitchell has carried the ball 143 times on the year for 693 yards with four rushing touchdowns. In addition, Mitchell has pulled in 14 catches for 108 yards to start the season. Mitchell has rushed for 504 of the 693 yards over the team’s last five games with three rushing touchdowns.




Top 10 NFL Rookies

  1. Jaylen Waddle

Team: Miami Dolphins

The former Alabama Crimson Tide star wideout is slowly putting together a solid rookie season for the Miami Dolphins in 2021. 

Waddle, who the team drafted with the sixth overall pick during the 2021 NFL draft, has emerged as a primary weapon in the Dolphins offense that has struggled at times this season. On the year Waddle has pulled in 77 catches for 759 yards to go along with four touchdown receptions and a 9.9 yards per catch average.




  1. Jevon Holland

Team: Miami Dolphins

One defender who has emerged as a true playmaker is the Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland. Holland, who played his college ball at Oregon, is a key part of the Dolphins secondary and one that has caused issues for opposing quarterbacks including former MVP Lamar Jackson. 

On the year, Holland has recorded 35 tackles, recorded two sacks and two interceptions while posting seven passes defended.




  1. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Team: Cleveland Browns

After his strong showing on Sunday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has emerged as one of the top rookies of the 2021 NFL draft including on the defensive side of the ball. 

While the numbers haven’t shown up in the statistics, Owusu-Koramoah has been all over the field this season. The Browns rookie has recorded 33 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble while posting four passes defended.




  1. Pat Surtain II

Team: Denver Broncos

Like father, like son is the famous saying and that saying can be linked to Pat Surtain II who is following in his father’s footsteps. 

Surtain, who the Denver Broncos drafted out of the University of Alabama is tied for 10th in the NFL in interceptions with three and tied for 6th with 11 pass defended while also recording 31 tackles. Two of his three interceptions came in the team’s 28-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in which one was returned for a 70 yard pick six return.




  1. Odafe Oweh

Team: Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have had a knack of finding talented defensive stars in the NFL draft and the same case can be made for 2021 NFL draft pick Odafe Oweh. Oweh who is making a case for himself to be in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year running has recorded five sacks this season and three forced fumbles.

 In addition to those numbers Oweh’s presence on the field has been felt by opposing quarterbacks all season long as he continues to put pressure week in and week out.




  1. Kyle Pitts

Team: Atlanta Falcons

The six foot six inch tight end out of Florida is a true weapon on the Atlanta Falcons offense while becoming a mismatch for linebackers across the NFL. Pitts, who the club selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft has racked up 661 receiving yards to go with one touchdown while averaging 14.7 yards per catch. 

While his touchdown numbers have yet to see a boost, much of that has come with the lack of talented playmakers on the Falcons offense after losing Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.




  1. Najee Harris

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

One thing is for certain is that the Alabama Crimson Tide produces some of the game's top stars and it shows up with Najee Harris this season. Harris is currently ranked 4th in the NFL in rushing attempts with 196, 8th in rushing yards with 708, tied for 13th with five rushing touchdowns. 

In addition, Harris has been a key playmaker in the passing game pulling in 34 catches for 255 yards with two touchdown receptions.




  1. Micah Parsons

Team: Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys have found a new stud linebacker after selecting Micah Parsons during the 2021 NFL Draft out of Penn State. Parsons' presence has been felt on the Cowboys defense as he ranks near the top in nearly every defensive category among all rookies. 

Parsons has recorded 52 tackles with nine sacks and two forced fumbles. The increased play on the defensive side of the ball has the Cowboys atop the NFC East in 2021.




  1. Mac Jones

Team: New England Patriots 

One name that will be debated as the top NFL Rookie in 2021 is the New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. Jones, who was set to compete with Cam Newton this year eventually won the battle before the start of the regular season and has never looked back. 

Jones ranks at the top among all rookie quarterbacks in nearly every offensive category. Meanwhile Jones ranks 10th in passing yards with 2,850, 16th in touchdown passes and is ranked 3rd in completion percentage with a 70.3 mark.




  1. Ja’Marr Chase

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Coming in just ahead of Mac Jones and Micah Parsons is the Cincinnati Bengals stud wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Chase, who is ranked 6th in the NFL in receiving yards with 906 has slowly emerged as a true number one receiver this season. In addition to the 906 yards, Chase ranks tied for 4th in touchdown receptions with eight and 7th in receiving yards per game with 82.4 per game. 

Chase has also posted 355 yards after contact and 14 catches of at least 20 yards this season including the fourth longest reception in the NFL at 82 yards.



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