Elite Rookie Rankings

Each week we'll be ranking the NFL's 2013 1st round draft picks, 1 through 32, based on their performance throughout the season. At the end of the season you'll be able to know, thanks to this, who really hit with their selection and who whiffed completely. This isn't Mel Kiper Jr. selling you with his hours of supposed research giving him a magic crystal ball to predict things perfectly, this is all based on performance. The rankings will move as the team's top picks improve, get injured or decline. Here is our week 1 standings:

1. Sheldon Richardson, DE/DT of Jets, originally drafted 13th: He came ready to play week one and made the Jets look like geniuses, at least for a game. That's not easy to do. He dominated the game in the trenches with 7 tackles and a half sack.

2. Lane Johnson, RT of Eagles, originally drafted 4th: He may have been the third tackle selected, but he had by far the best performance in his first game. Blocking Vick's blindside he was masterful, particularly in the run game. 

3. Eric Reid, S of 49ers, originally drafted 18th: Going up against Aaron Rodgers in your very first start as a rookie is a terrifying concept. The LSU product turned in 7 physical tackles to go along with his first career interception.

4. Star Lotulelei, DT of Panthers, originally drafted 14th: Going into the draft I maintained steadfastly that he was the best player to enter by far. He did little to disprove that in his first appearance, looking every bit the menacing interior presence with 4 tackles including one for a loss.

5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR of Texans, originally drafted 27th: The Texans have to feel good about pulling off that miracle comeback win, and Hopkins did a lot to help. He's also 5th in the first week rankings, pretty good value for a guy that went 27th overall. He had 5 catches for 66 yards and already seems like a factor in an already potent offense.

6. Alec Olgetree, LB of Rams, originally drafted 30th: Speaking of good value, how about the Georgia product? He was all over the field, recording 7 tackles. The Rams are getting more psyched by the minute he fell that far.

7. Tyler Eifert, TE of Bengals, originally drafted 21st: A very steady 5 catch 47 yard performance by the tight end who already seems to have pretty good chemistry with Andy Dalton. He also blocked well and looks like the complete package.

8. E. J. Manuel, QB of Bills, originally drafted 16th: The most important thing Manuel did was have no turnovers. That kept his team in the game and it gave the Patriots all they could handle. I'll admit I mocked the Bills for this draft pick, but he had a very encouraging first showing. He finished 18 for 27 for 150 yards and 2 TDs. He also rushed for 23 yards on 3 attempts.

9. Tavon Austin, WR of Rams, originally drafted 8th: He didn't light the world on fire but you can already tell he's in the gameplan and the team will continue to involve him frequently. It's only a matter of time before his breakup game occurs. He had 6 catches for 41 yards.

10. Ziggy Ansah, DE/LB of Lions, originally drafted 5th: He's already showing off his absurd edge rushing potential, notching his first career sack.

11. Chance Warmack, G of Titans, originally drafted 10th: I thought the Titans made a huge reach with this pick but he looked very good in his first game, particularly in run blocking. It looks like the Titans have a solid starter on their hands.

12. Kenny Vaccaro, S of Saints, originally drafted 15th. Vaccaro was handed the duty of following Tony Gonzalez wherever he went as his first NFL assignment. While that doesn't sound fun, he held the future Hall of Famer to 3 catches, had 5 tackles, and caused the break up of the 4th down pass that would have potentially won the Falcons the game and secured the Saints a win instead.

13. Jarvis Jones, LB of Steelers, originally drafted 17th: There's lots to work on for Jones, but he did have 3 tackles including 2 for a loss, already showcasing his ability to make plays in the backfield.

14. Desmond Trufant, CB of Falcons, originally drafted 22nd: He went up against Drew Brees and more than held his own, with 5 tackles and a defended pass. He was beat at times too,  but an impressive start considering the competition.

15. Dion Jordan, DE/LB of Dolphins, originally drafted 3rd: Like Ansah he's already notched the first sack of his career thanks to superior pass rushing skills already on display. Careful with the bonehead penalties though, Dion.

16. Luke Joeckel, T of Jaguars, originally drafted 2nd: He did ok in his first start at right tackle. There's certainly not much talent around him. He held his own but didn't look like a dominant 2nd overall pick either.

17. Travis Frederick, C of Cowboys, originally drafted 31st: Like Joeckel his first start was ok. Nothing special, but for the most part he got the job done.

18. Justin Pugh, G/T of Giants, originally drafted 19th: Another offensive lineman, like Frederick, that I thought was drafted way too high. He struggled at times but go through his first start without a really major mistake.

19. Shariff Floyd, DT of Vikings, originally drafted 23rd: His lone stat was a tipped pass, but he played a good bit and seemed to control the line of scrimmage and absorb double teams pretty well.

20. Eric Fisher, T of Chiefs, originally drafted 1st: Not a great showing by the top pick, who really struggled provided good lanes to run through in particular. He will get better, though, there's almost no doubt. He did hold up ok in pass protection overall.

21. Sylvester Williams, DT of Broncos, originally drafted 31st: He played very little and didn't get much of an opportunity, but when he was in he did get a tackle for a loss which is promising.

22. Kyle Long, G of Bears, originally drafted 20th: I fully expected Long to be in the top 5 of these rankings this week, and I still do in the future. His preseason performances were so impressive he would be my favorite to end the year #1. This was a step back, though. After enjoying a fantastic preseason, Long just couldn't get it going in the run game.

23. Xavier Rhodes, CB of Vikings, originally drafted 25th: He struggled in coverage and was a beat a few times, but showed some potential. He had 3 tackles.

24. Cordarelle Patterson, WR of Vikings, originally drafted 29th: He only contributed 1 catch for 10 yards in limited spot play. I'm a little surprised to see him not more involved in the offense but he'll get there.

25. D. J. Hayden, CB of Raiders, originally drafted 12th: He came in mostly in sub packages and was victimized when he was in the game. Not a great first game. He had 3 tackles.

26. Dee Milliner, CB of Jets, originally drafted 8th: He was thrown into the fire and didn't look very good at all in coverage for the Jets. He had 2 tackles.

27. Matt Elam, S of Ravens, originally drafted 32nd: Played just enough to join in on the fun with the Peyton Manning 7 touchdown torching extravaganza of the Ravens' defense. He had one tackle and this was a debut to forget. 

28. D. J. Fluker, T of Chargers, originally drafted 11th: When the Chargers led 28-7 they turned to the run game to try and ice the contest. Unfortunately they could get nothing going on the ground, in large part due to Fluker's inability to get any push. A disappointing first game from him.

29. Bjoern Werner, DE/LB of Colts, originally drafted 24th: A disaster performance by Werner who looked completely lost out there. He wasn't good doing much of anything out there. Finished with 1 tackle, but there is nowhere to go but up.

30. Datone Jones, DE of Packers, originally drafted 26th: Didn't play much due to a bum ankle and was completely ineffective against the 49ers offense. He was also criticized by Donald Driver last week for being late to team meetings.

31. Barkevious Mingo, LB of Browns, originally drafted 6th: Out week one and did not play with a bruised lung. Should hopefully be back soon though.

32. Jonathan Cooper, T of Cardinals, originally drafted 7th: Out for the year with a broken leg.


Your thoughts on the rankings? Anyone too high or too low?

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.