Updated NFL Power Rankings: The rookies who stood out for every team in Week 1

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Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL regular season.

After a wild opening week, our NFL power rankings are, as expected, all over the place. From the Minnesota Vikings dominating the Green Bay Packers at home, to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffering a right thumb injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that needed surgery, the unexpected happened in Week 1, resulting in some major moves up and down the list.

While there was plenty of movement throughout the rankings, the Josh Allen-led Buffalo Bills stayed put at the top. And even though they handed the Los Angeles Rams a loss on Thursday night, the Rams still stayed in the top five. But two new teams did creep into the top 10 this week, while others fell out.

Along with the rankings, our 32 NFL Nation reporters from around the league provide us with one rookie on each team who made the biggest first impression — good or bad — in the first week of the season. Many rookies made a difference this week, including the Jacksonville Jaguars’ No. 1 overall pick, Travon Walker, and the Los Angeles Chargers’ seventh-round pick, Zander Horvath. And let’s not forget Washington Commanders rookie receiver Jahan Dotson, who scored two touchdowns in his debut.

So let’s get right into it with our No. 1-ranked team.

Jump to a team:
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF

Preseason ranking: 1

Rookie who stood out: RB James Cook

Unfortunately, the second-round pick stood out for the wrong reason — fumbling on his first career NFL snap during the Bills’ turnover-filled start against the Rams. The Bills recovered from their three turnovers in the first half to finish with a convincing win, but Cook played only two more snaps. With the talent that Buffalo has on his offense, his playing time will likely slowly increase over the course of the season. “I’m glad [Cook] got [the fumble] out the way,” Von Miller said. “He showed us all types of crazy stuff in practice, man, he’s gonna have an excellent year this year.” — Alaina Getzenberg

Preseason ranking: 4

Rookie who stood out: RB Isiah Pacheco

Pacheco led the Chiefs in rushing with 62 yards and scored on a 3-yard run. Sixty of his yards came in the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs resting their starters and protecting a 37-7 lead. But he still showed the hard-running style that led the Chiefs to draft him in the seventh round. One negative for Pacheco was a fumble, though he wound up recovering the ball himself. — Adam Teicher

Preseason ranking: 2

Rookie who stood out: G Luke Goedeke

Against the Cowboys, Goedeke had a pass block win rate of 87.5% (14/16) and a run block win rate of 70.4% (19/27), according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He wasn’t perfect, but it was a good first game. Transitioning from playing right tackle in college to playing inside at guard and also transitioning to the left side has been quite an adjustment. Goedeke also helped create some huge holes for running back Leonard Fournette to work with — he rushed for 127 yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry with the bulk of those yards coming before contact. — Jenna Laine

Preseason ranking: 8

Rookie who stood out: FB Zander Horvath

A seventh-round pick from Purdue, Horvath made his debut in a 24-19 win over the division-rival Raiders. The rookie fullback proved dependable in the second quarter, when he caught a 1-yard pass from quarterback Justin Herbert to put the Bolts up 10-3. He finished the game with one carry for 2 yards and two catches for 6 yards and a touchdown. Not huge numbers by any stretch, but a solid — if not unexpected — contribution from a seventh-round pick. — Lindsey Thiry

Preseason ranking: 3

Rookie who stood out: LB Keir Thomas

Only four rookies played Thursday against the Bills, and Thomas, a rookie free agent from Florida State, was the lone first-year player to play a non-special teams snap. This is not really surprising, given that the Rams’ first draft pick was in the third round, and that top selection, guard Logan Bruss, tore his ACL during a preseason game. Cornerback Cobie Durant, linebacker Jake Hummel and running back Kyren Williams each played on special teams, with Williams injuring his ankle on his one snap. He has a right high ankle sprain that required surgery and will sideline him for six to eight weeks. — Sarah Barshop

Preseason ranking: 9

Rookie who stood out: P Jordan Stout

Stout, the first punter selected in this year’s draft, is living up to the hype. He helped the Ravens win the field-position game by averaging 48.5 yards on six punts and placing half of them inside the 20-yard line. There is a lot of pressure on Stout, who is replacing the longest-tenured player in franchise history (Sam Koch). But Stout proved to be the team’s most consistent rookie, outshining first-round picks Tyler Linderbaum and Kyle Hamilton as well as preseason sensation Isaiah Likely. — Jamison Hensley

Preseason ranking: 5

Rookie who stood out: OL Cordell Volson

Volson, a fourth-round pick, made the start at left guard and had some shaky moments. But he showed why the Bengals are so optimistic about his potential. The North Dakota State alum finished with a pass block win rate of 93.1% in the second half, which is above average. Cincinnati knows Volson will have some rookie moments as he continues to adjust to the league. But his work ethic and consistency were major reasons he won the starting job and should boost the left side of the offensive line. — Ben Baby

Preseason ranking: 6

Rookie who stood out: WR Christian Watson

No one said standing out had to be in a good way. You get only one chance at your first big play in the NFL, and Watson’s came on the very first play of the season. And he dropped it. He ran a beautiful route to blow by Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson for what should have been a 75-yard touchdown. After that, he wasn’t targeted until the 3:57 mark of the fourth quarter. — Rob Demovsky



Ryan Clark expresses his concern for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ receiving corps this season.

Preseason ranking: 15

Rookie who stood out: DT Jordan Davis

The No. 13 overall pick out of Georgia played 22 defensive snaps (32%) against the Lions and made the most of his opportunities — recording a pair of tackles, including a stuff. The Eagles were gashed on the ground to the tune of 181 yards on 28 carries (6.5 average) but did not appear as vulnerable when Davis was on the field controlling blockers and reshaping the line of scrimmage. He earned more playing time going forward, starting Monday night against the Vikings. — Tim McManus

Preseason ranking: 23

Rookie who stood out: G Ed Ingram

The right guard was one of two rookies, along with punter Ryan Wright, to play extensively from scrimmage in Week 1. Ingram was decent as a run-blocker, ranking No. 11 among guards in run block win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. But he struggled on passing plays, giving up a third-down sack to Rashan Gary and a third-down pressure to Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark. Overall, Ingram ranked No. 29 among guards in pass block win rate. — Kevin Seifert

Preseason ranking: 19

Rookie who stood out: CB Kader Kohou

Kohou earns this title by default, considering he was the only Dolphins rookie to play more than two snaps. But he earned it nevertheless, recording a pass breakup and forcing a fumble in 18 defensive snaps. The undrafted rookie could see that snap count go up over the next few weeks with Byron Jones still on the PUP list until at least Week 5. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Preseason ranking: 7

Rookie who stood out: G Spencer Burford

The Niners didn’t have many good performances from anyone in Week 1, let alone the rookie class. But Burford followed a strong preseason in which he earned a starting job with a solid debut. He played all 67 offensive snaps and posted a 96.2% pass block win rate, which was 15th among guards through Sunday. He was less effective in the run game (65.2%, ranking 40th among guards), but it was an encouraging start for the fourth-round pick out of UTSA. — Nick Wagoner

Preseason ranking: 20

Rookie who stood out: WR Chris Olave

Olave’s debut is going to get overshadowed by the performances of Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, but that certainly doesn’t take anything away from him. He had the most snaps of any Saints wide receiver and had three catches for 41 yards. Olave, like Thomas and the rest of the offense, didn’t really get going until the third quarter, but he was responsible for catching a key 2-point conversion and had a 20-yard reception. Olave will certainly be used a lot this year as the offense starts to jell. — Katherine Terrell

Preseason ranking: 22

Rookie who stood out: RB Jaylen Warren

Even though the Steelers have rookies on the roster who figure to be major players this season, there weren’t many opportunities for the young guys to flash on Sunday. Warren, an undrafted rookie, ended up with the most playing time of a rookie, on the field for 23 offensive snaps. He stepped into a big role when Najee Harris went down at the end of regulation, and though he had only three carries for 7 yards, he figures to have an even bigger role against the Patriots if Harris misses time. Honorable mention standout rookie: third-round pick defensive end DeMarvin Leal, who played 17 snaps. — Brooke Pryor

Preseason ranking: 12

Rookie who stood out: WR/returner Montrell Washington

It was not a night for many in the Broncos’ rookie class to unveil their potential — two of the 2022 draft picks, S Delarrin Turner-Yell and DE Eyioma Uwazurike, were among the game-day inactives — so Washington had the only real opportunity of the rookies to make an impact in Week 1. He discovered it’s going to be bumpy at times. A 21-yard kickoff return was his best effort in the return game as he didn’t quite show the decisiveness he had in the preseason, but his spirit was willing, and he made good decisions for the most part. — Jeff Legwold

Preseason ranking: 14

Rookie who stood out: S Nick Cross

The third-round pick started at strong safety and played all 70 defensive snaps for the Colts, recording four tackles in his debut. Cross earning the starting job immediately was a mild surprise given the presence of veteran safety Rodney McLeod, who signed with the Colts earlier this year as a free agent. But Cross’ speed and playmaking potential catapulted him into a starting role. — Stephen Holder

Preseason ranking: 13

Rookie who stood out: G Dylan Parham

The third-round pick was a surprising starter at right guard in the Raiders’ season-opening loss at the Chargers. And while he was subbed out by Lester Cotton Sr., Parham did return as part of four different offensive line variations. His 35 offensive snaps (60%) were the fifth most of any Raiders O-lineman in the game. And if center Andre James is unable to go Sunday against Arizona with a concussion, Parham will replace James and the workload will grow. — Paul Gutierrez

Preseason ranking: 17

Rookie who stood out: K Cade York

How about a kicker who gave Cleveland its first Week 1 win since 2004 with a game-winning, 58-yard field goal in the final eight seconds? In his NFL debut, York booted one of the biggest kicks in Browns history, saving Cleveland from a disastrous defeat to former quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers. The Browns expended a fourth-round pick to select York out of LSU, hoping that he would be a special-teams difference-maker. Already, York has proved to be just that. — Jake Trotter

Preseason ranking: 11

Rookie who stood out: WR Kyle Philips

Philips’ strong training camp carried over to the season opener. The fifth-round pick’s impact was felt immediately when his first NFL touch resulted in a 46-yard punt return. The Titans scored a touchdown five plays later. Philips led all Titans receivers with six receptions for 66 yards. His 21-yard reception with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter helped set up a 47-yard field goal attempt by Randy Bullock that could have won the game. The fact that Ryan Tannehill went to the rookie wideout in that situation says a lot about the level of trust he has earned from the veteran quarterback. The day wasn’t perfect for Philips, however. He muffed a punt that the Giants recovered, and he had two drops in the game. — Turron Davenport

Preseason ranking: 21

Rookie who stood out: WR Jahan Dotson

Dotson caught only three passes for 40 yards, but two catches were for touchdowns and both highlighted his skill as a receiver — and why Washington is so high on him. He also got open on a couple of other throws but was missed. The No. 16 overall draft pick caught a 7-yard touchdown pass in which he froze the corner, got him leaning outside and then cut back inside to catch a dart from quarterback Carson Wentz. In the fourth quarter he caught the go-ahead touchdown pass, on which he was obstructed and had to make a lunging grab in the end zone. Dotson ran good routes and showed excellent hands — traits that drew Washington to him in the first place. — John Keim



John Keim speaks on Jahan Dotson’s chemistry with Carson Wentz and how effective he can be moving forward.

Preseason ranking: 16

Rookie who stood out: CB Jack Jones

The fourth-round pick from Arizona State played just 11 snaps, but he lands here because of a great lesson he learned from one of them. In coverage against one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL, Tyreek Hill, he was in great position to come down with a 50-50 ball for an interception … but didn’t make the play. Jones has flashed potential to be a sticky cover man, but if he wants to become a finisher, making those type of plays will be an important step. — Mike Reiss

Preseason ranking: 18

Rookie who stood out: DE Cameron Thomas

The Cardinals played just two rookies on Sunday, Thomas and cornerback Christian Matthew. Thomas had a tackle in four snaps and Matthew made a tackle on his only snap. Both could see more reps as the next few games go on because of the struggles Arizona went through Sunday against the Chiefs. — Josh Weinfuss

Preseason ranking: 24

Rookie who stood out: OTs Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas

None of Seattle’s rookies had a standout performance against Denver. Some of them (RB Kenneth Walker III) didn’t play, while others (CBs Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant) had some forgettable moments. Left tackle Cross and right tackle Lucas were hardly flawless in their NFL debuts, but the young bookends of Seattle’s offensive line did their part to give Geno Smith plenty of clean pockets. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, this marked only the third time since 1970 that an NFL team started a pair of rookie tackles in its season opener. — Brady Henderson

Preseason ranking: 28

Rookie who stood out: OT Evan Neal

Kayvon Thibodeaux didn’t play. Wan’Dale Robinson left early with a right knee injury. But you didn’t hear much about the No. 7 overall pick in Nashville. That’s a good thing for an offensive lineman. Neal wasn’t dominant by any stretch of the imagination. But he wasn’t a complete liability, which by rookie offensive line standards is considered a success. In fact, Neal did some really good things in the run game. It helped the Giants dominate the second half on the ground and helped Neal leave a positive first impression. — Jordan Raanan



Rex Ryan praises Brian Daboll for his coaching decisions in the Giants’ win over the Titans.

Preseason ranking: 25

Rookie who stood out: DE Dominique Robinson

The Bears got the consistency they hoped would show up from their high-ceiling fifth-rounder who began playing defensive end only two years ago. Robinson logged 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits, one tackle for loss and seven total tackles — which was the second-largest output by any Chicago defender in a 19-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers. What’s most impressive is how effective Robinson was in limited action. The defensive end was on the field for only 28 of 68 total defensive snaps. — Courtney Cronin

Preseason ranking: 10

Rookie who stood out: OT Tyler Smith

The No. 24 overall pick was serviceable in his first start replacing Tyron Smith. Remember, he took no snaps at left tackle in the preseason and had just a handful of days at work there in practice before facing the Buccaneers. And he spent most of the game playing with an almost equally inexperienced left guard in Matt Farniok. He had a false start penalty and some other missteps, but for a first start with such little time on task at that spot, he was good enough. The question is how much longer will he stay there. With Connor McGovern suffering a high ankle sprain, the Cowboys might move him to left guard once veteran tackle Jason Peters gets up to speed. — Todd Archer

Preseason ranking: 26

Rookie who stood out: LB Malcolm Rodriguez

Many people didn’t know what to expect when the Lions drafted Rodriguez as a sixth-rounder this summer, but the rookie earned a starting role in his NFL debut at linebacker, racking up six total tackles — including a tackle for loss. The Oklahoma State product is becoming a fan favorite after being prominently featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” Although No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson gets a ton of hype, and rightfully so, the 23-year-old — nicknamed “Rodrigo” — is proving to be another top option on defense. — Eric Woodyard

Preseason ranking: 29

Rookie who stood out: LT Ikem Ekwonu

Ekwonu unfortunately stood out for the wrong reasons. He gave up consecutive sacks to Myles Garrett in the second half, the second after he was given help from the tight end. Garrett was one of two Browns with a pass rush win rate (36.4 %) among the top 10 in the NFL Sunday. Overall, not a disaster, although we didn’t see Ekwonu’s ability to dominate as a run-blocker. The Panthers rushed for only 54 yards. — David Newton

Preseason ranking: 32

Rookie who stood out: WR Drake London

We didn’t know what the Falcons were going to get out of London, who was injured in the preseason opener against Detroit and didn’t return to practice until last Monday. But he showed he could slide into an NFL lineup with ease, tying for the team lead in targets along with tight end Kyle Pitts (seven) and leading Atlanta with five receptions for 74 yards. He also showed a willingness to run block, so a good overall first game for London. — Michael Rothstein

Preseason ranking: 31

Rookie who stood out: CB Derek Stingley Jr.

Stingley allowed only two catches on five targets and finished with a pass breakup on Colts wideout Alec Pierce in the end zone to prevent a touchdown. Colts QB Matt Ryan’s expected completion percentage when targeting Stingley was 57%, but he completed only 40% of his passes according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Stingley’s technique and ball skills were sound throughout the day. — DJ Bien-Aime

Preseason ranking: 27

Rookie who stood out: LB Travon Walker

How about a sack and an interception to go along with three tackles for the No. 1 overall pick in his debut? The interception was pretty impressive: He stopped his pass rush when he saw Antonio Gibson out of the corner of his eye slide in behind him, moved to his left and extended his arms to grab Carson Wentz’s pass. Walker returned the interception to the 11-yard line and the Jaguars scored on the next play to take a 22-14 fourth-quarter lead. Walker said after the game a No. 1 overall pick is expected to make big plays, and he needs to make more of them. — Michael DiRocco

Preseason ranking: 30

Rookie who stood out: CB Sauce Gardner

The No. 4 overall pick was very good in his debut. He played every defensive snap, broke up a long pass in the end zone and allowed only two receptions for 19 yards on four targets as the nearest defender, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. The Jets allowed three touchdown passes to Lamar Jackson, but Gardner wasn’t in the area on any of them. A couple of times, he was used on the Ravens’ big tight ends because of his size (6-foot-3). That kind of versatility makes him a useful chess piece for the defensive coaches. No doubt, some teams will go after the rookie more than the Ravens did, but he passed his first test easily. — Rich Cimini

Source: ESPN

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