Sep 9, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches a touchdown as Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (21) defends during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Week 1 of the regular season is in the books which means we’re officially through our first lap in PFF’s race for the Rookie of the Year award. Just like last season, we’ll be tracking the rookies all season long, updating you each week with where they stand among our top 10. Our grades will weigh heavily into the rankings (read this for more info on how we grade) but they aren’t all we consider when determining these rankings. Remember, this is a season-long race and after Week 1 we have a small sample of data to play with.
These rankings are fluid and if the race this year is anything like it was in 2017 – just two rookies who placed in the top 10 after Week 1 were still there after Week 17 – we should be in for a fun ride.
PFF Overall Grade: 85.6
The fourth overall pick had his hands full with Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers offense in his professional debut and he certainly stepped up to the challenge. While Brown did get the best of him for a touchdown on a back shoulder throw that Ward was still able to contest, it was an impressive debut for the rookie. Ward finished the game with two interceptions, peeling off his coverage for the first one to dive in front of Antonio Brown with Pittsburgh in the red zone. Ward also recorded a pass breakup and two stops. The former Ohio State star exits Week 1 as our sixth highest-graded cornerback.
PFF Overall Grade: 90.3
We’ve made it two spots into this list and so far, we’ve got two Cleveland Brown defenders. Avery logged 44 snaps against the Steelers in his rookie debut and he exits Week 1 as our second highest-graded edge defender. Avery was disruptive as a pass-rusher, recording three pressures (one hurry, one hit and one sack) with one being a strip sack with 48 seconds to go in overtime that set up a game-winning field goal opportunity. Avery also recorded two run stops on 10 run-defense snaps, and his 20 percent run-stop percentage was the second highest among any defender who saw at least 10 snaps in run defense.
PFF Overall Grade: 92.1
A fourth-round pick out of the University of Washington, Dissly currently owns the highest grade among tight ends after one week of football. The former Husky caught a touchdown in the first quarter against Denver on a nice play where he sold that he was pass-blocking before releasing downfield. He followed that up later in the quarter with another near touchdown after he forced multiple missed tackles on his way to a 67-yard gain. Dissly’s third catch also resulted in a Seattle first down.
PFF Overall Grade: 89.7
Bentley was our sixth-highest graded linebacker after…