The 2021-2022 NFL season is officially underway. CBS Sports will be tracking rookie performers each week of the season and identifying those that stood out. In Week 1, the first-round selections did not disappoint and fans learned that preseason football matters very little.
Without further ado, the cumulative regular season rookie rankings as we head into Week 2:
Rashawn Slater Los Angeles Chargers OT
|The Chargers' rookie left tackle stepped into a competition with Chase Young and Montez Sweat after opting out last season. It was a stiff challenge but one that Slater handled with grace. Los Angeles' offensive line is significantly improved and the Northwestern product is one reason why.|
Penei Sewell Detroit Lions OT
|Detroit played Sewell at right tackle through the preseason, but an injury to Taylor Decker forced them to switch him back to his more comfortable position on the left side. The results were unsurprisingly positive. Sewell was able to limit Nick Bosa's impact on the game.|
Paulson Adebo New Orleans Saints CB
|Adebo opted out of the college football season last year but there was zero rust on the tires. He carried himself with confidence and recorded his first NFL interception; on Aaron Rodgers no less. New Orleans desperately needed a cornerback to step up opposite Marshon Lattimore and it appears the Stanford product is ready.|
Ja'Marr Chase Cincinnati Bengals WR
|Chase had no problems catching the football in his debut. He led all Bengals receivers in yardage and secured his first touchdown. The LSU product cooked Bashaud Breeland on a go route down the right boundary.|
Micah Parsons Dallas Cowboys LB
|Micah Parsons is all over the field (literally, if you were following the Twitter debate over his circuitous coverage path) for the Cowboys. The defense has some significant deficiencies but Parsons is able to mask some of those issues.|
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
|Mac Jones was efficient and that is all Bill Belichick asks of his quarterback. He attempted only five passes over 15 yards but did not turn the ball over.|
Jaylen Waddle Miami Dolphins WR
|Jaylen Waddle was really exciting in his debut. Miami manufactures touches for him and he is able to create yardage after the catch. Waddle will be the source of several explosive plays this season.|
Greg Newsome II Cleveland Browns CB
|Newsome II was on the field for 97% of the defensive snaps in Week 1. He was targeted once on 36 attempts from Patrick Mahomes despite being lined up over Tyreek Hill on a handful of occasions. It was a four-yard completion to Clyde Edwards-Helaire.|
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
|Zach Wilson's footwork was a bit erratic in the pocket and I saw the first half statistics just like everyone else. They were not great. The film bore out a better perspective, however. He was making throws with good ball placement but his wide receivers were doing him zero favors. Once his nerves calmed down, he did some very positive things.|
Rondale Moore Arizona Cardinals WR
|Moore is so fast and crisp in his routes. Arizona is going to create ways for him to get the football and that should open things up for DeAndre Hopkins. He excelled as a punt returner in the opener as well.|
Creed Humphrey Kansas City Chiefs C
|Cleveland's defensive tackle rotation is a work in progress but Humphrey held his own against the Browns.|
Josh Myers Green Bay Packers C
|Outside of being rag-dolled by Shy Tuttle once early in the game, Myers played really good football. He was able to get out and make blocks in space.|
DeVonta Smith Philadelphia Eagles WR
|Smith had a fine debut but it was not spectacular by any means. The first-round pick was a big part of a much improved Philadelphia receiving core.|
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Cleveland Browns LB
|Owusu-Koramoah downplayed the challenge of covering Travis Kelce and Kelce made him eat his words once. Otherwise, I thought the rookie did a nice job of getting off blocks and rallying to the football.|
Odafe Oweh Baltimore Ravens LB
|There's a lot to clean up, particularly with balance, but the pass rush potential is tantalizing. Oweh was fast around the edge and showed a strong swipe to separate himself from blockers. The traits are there for him to develop into Baltimore's next great pass rusher.|
There was a lengthy list of players who fell short, most notably Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence will almost assuredly be on this list by season's end. Several players showed flashes of great play, but it was inconsistent. Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth was effective as a blocker. Rams cornerback Robert Rochell looked good but is not seeing a lot of playing time right now. Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz made some big plays in Week 1 while showing that his game is more than just speed. Dolphins safety Jevon Holland made some big plays in space. Buccaneers edge rusher Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has natural movement skills that bubble to the surface.
It is difficult to take a player with a smaller sample size of reps each game over another getting the lion's share because it is easier to play with energy in a rotational role. The list is sure to be very fluid week-to-week.
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