With an entire training camp, preseason, and first four weeks of the regular season now in the books, it’s time to take a closer look at the 2018 NFL Draft class and some underrated rookies.
While many of the bigger names are performing well, there are some underrated rookies who need to be noticed as well.Below are my top 10 underrated rookies so far this season.
10. Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Warner has been a great find for the 49ers, especially since they are dealing with the absence of Reuben Foster. Warner has stepped in and been a tackling machine for the red and gold. He has 43 combined tackles through two games, including 32 solo take-downs.
9. Hayden Hurst, TE, Baltimore Ravens
The lumbering South Carolina product has yet to play due to a stress fracture in his foot so I understand if this one may seem odd. Baltimore’s offensive scheme favors the tight end, however, and with little competition at the position a talent like Hurst should make a big impact when he gets on the field. Hurst is planning to debut against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
8. Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns
Callaway may not seem that underrated with his name gaining buzz after a beautiful touchdown catch in Week 2 and a number of targets in Week 3, but there is a method to my madness. Callaway is now the Browns WR2 and received 10 targets in Thursday night’s game against the Jets. With that type of role plus the presence of Baker Mayfield, the fourth-round pick has a chance to garner votes for Offensive Rookie of the Year if he picks things back up.
7. Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Pettis has been thrust into seeing more time than originally expected due to an injury to starter Marquise Goodwin. He took full advantage in Week 1, corralling two of his five targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. Pettis will also contribute in the return game.
6. Will Dissly, TE, Seatle Seahawks
Dissly scored in each of his first two games, seeing five targets from Russell Wilson in each contest. He is clearly a safety-blanket for Wilson, cementing his place in the offense. Unfortunately, he’s out for the season after suffering a knee injury in Week 4.
5. Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers
Alexander has been a big piece of the Packers secondary so far this season. He also holds the highest Pro Football Focus grade for rookie cornerbacks. He already has a sack and two quarterback pressures.
4. Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, New England Patriots
Bentley has not only been one of the best rookies thus far, he has been one of the better overall linebackers in all of football. He ranks top 10 in both run-defense and coverage grades, anchoring the Patriots’ defense.
3. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos
Despite the assumption that fellow-rookie Royce Freeman was going to lead this backfield, it has been Lindsay who has impressed. Lindsay surpassed 100 total yards the first two games this year, adding a score in Week 1. He had an explosive 53-yard run in Week 2 against the Raiders, and he’s showcased his speed and playmaking ability in the games that have followed.
2. Will Hernandez, G, New York Giants
Hernandez has come in and helped one of the league’s worst offensive lines from a year ago. He has graded out highly in all facets, especially run-blocking. He had a key block on fellow-rookie Saquon Barkley’s 68-yard touchdown run in Week 1.
1. Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts
The second-round pick has been a revelation so far this season. He has 54 total tackles, 38 of them being solo, four sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Leonard has played every defensive snap this season and was a huge reason why the Colts were able to hold the Washington Redskins to nine points in Week 2.