2015 NFL DRAFT

Jets' Richardson the top rookie at the halfway point

By Dane Brugler | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst

Sheldon Richardson has quickly become one of the Jets' prime building blocks.  (USATSI)
Sheldon Richardson has quickly become one of the Jets' prime building blocks. (USATSI)

Hard to believe, but Week 8 of the NFL season is in the books and we are almost halfway to the end of the 2013 regular season. It's still too early to get an accurate read on all the rookies, but certain first-year players have separated themselves from the pack.

Here is a look back at our first quarter All-Rookie team.

Time will tell if these talented players hit the rookie wall or keep the momentum going through all 16 games, but here is this year's NFL All-Rookie team through the halfway mark:

QB EJ Manuel, Bills
This basically comes down to Manuel and Geno Smith (sorry, Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon), and although he hasn't played since Week 5 because of a knee sprain, Manuel gets the nod from me. At the halfway point, Smith is on pace for 38 turnovers and Manuel's body of work has been slightly more impressive.

Top rookie QB through four weeks: EJ Manuel, Bills

RB Eddie Lacy, Packers
After a slow start due to injuries, Lacy rushed for 395 yards in October after only 51 yards in September. He currently leads all rookie running backs in rushing and should be Green Bay's feature back the rest of the season if he can stay healthy.

Top rookie RB through four weeks: Giovani Bernard, Bengals

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
Hopkins wasn't the first wideout drafted, but through eight weeks, he is the only rookie pass catcher to have 40-plus catches at the halfway point. But the Chargers' Keenan Allen and Cowboys' Terrance Williams are nipping at his heels; all three are tied with seven receptions of 20-plus yards.

Top rookie WR through four weeks: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

TE Jordan Reed, Redskins
Reed has quickly emerged as one of the hottest young tight ends in the NFL (44/388/2) and one of the more reliable targets for Robert Griffin. He doesn't have much competition here at the halfway point, leading all rookie tight ends in catches, 10 more than the next rookie on the list (Tyler Eifert).

Top rookie TE through four weeks: Tyler Eifert, Bengals

OT DJ Fluker, Chargers
A surprise top-12 pick last April, Fluker has proven to be a reliable blocker for the Chargers and has emerged as one of the rocks of the offense. He has looked much better at right tackle than left, but coaches have been impressed with his development since Week 1.

Top rookie OT through four weeks: Jordan Mills, Bears

OG Larry Warford, Lions
Warford won the starting right guard position during training camp and has been a model of consistency for a first-year player, in both the run and pass game. A projected top-40 prospect by many, Detroit somehow stole him in Round 3. Bears right guard Kyle Long isn't far behind.

Top rookie OG through four weeks: Larry Warford, Lions

C Travis Frederick, Cowboys
Frederick doesn't have much competition here, but he has settled in nicely as the Cowboys starting pivot and deserves the top spot. Dallas turned some heads when they selected a center in the first round, but Frederick has started from day one and is expected to be the long-term anchor of the line.

Top rookie C through four weeks: Travis Frederick, Cowboys

DE Sheldon Richardson, Jets
Arguably the leading candidate to be the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Richardson has impressed many around the NFL with his fluid athleticism and brute strength. Although he was a defensive tackle prospect, he has been lining up mostly at end in the Jets' three man front.

Top rookie DE through four weeks: Ezekial Ansah, Lions

DT Star Lotulelei, Panthers
If it weren't for Richardson, Lotulelei would be getting more attention for his performance thus far as a first-year defensive lineman. He can be a little streaky at times, but when he's firing on all cylinders, Lotulelei is a tough guy to slow down. He has been one of the top-three defensive rookies so far through eight weeks.

Top rookie DT through four weeks: Sheldon Richardson, Jets

OLB Barkevious Mingo, Browns
Mingo was the first NFL rookie to record a sack in each of his first three NFL games since 2004, but has cooled off since then. Nonetheless, he still holds on as the top rookie outside linebacker halfway through the 2013 season, currently second in the league among rookies with four sacks.

Top rookie OLB through four weeks: Barkevious Mingo, Browns

ILB Kiko Alonso, Bills
Alonso jumped out to a quick start to his NFL career with 32 tackles over his first four games, but he has been even more productive the last four with a combined 49 tackles, including 22 stops against Cincinnati in Week 6. Alonso is second in the NFL in tackles (81) and is tied for the league-lead in interceptions (4).

Top rookie ILB through four weeks: Kiko Alonso, Bills

CB Marcus Cooper, Chiefs
The third-to-last pick of the 2013 NFL Draft (No. 252 overall), Cooper didn't make the 49ers active roster in camp, but he signed with the Chiefs, found the field and has performed well. He is the only player on this All-Rookie team who wasn't drafted in the first three rounds last April.

Top rookie CB through four weeks: Xavier Rhodes, Vikings

S Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals
It's tough not to go with Eric Reid here, but the Honey Badger has been excellent through eight weeks with his versatility at safety and nickelback. Mathieu has 49 total tackles and two interceptions halfway through his rookie season and is making the Cardinals look very smart for taking a chance on him.

Top rookies S through four weeks: Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals

K/P Caleb Sturgis, Dolphins
The highest drafted kicker or punter last April, Sturgis was selected in the fifth round and won the starting kicker job during the preseason. After making his first 10 field goal attempts as a professional, Sturgis has made only one of his last five field goal attempts, but is still the top rookie kicker or punter.

Top rookie K/P through four weeks: Caleb Sturgis, Dolphins

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