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Late-round and undrafted NFL rookies who have made an impact this preseason

In all likelihood, these stars are highly-touted rookies, first-round picks or players who maybe even missed their first year in the league.
To go with his excellent production against the run, Niemann has been targeted only once in coverage, and that target resulted in an interception.
In two games, Sims has logged 24 snaps in route and has caught five of his eight targets for 131 receiving yards, one touchdown and is currently averaging a whopping 5.46 yards per route run — the best mark among rookie wide receivers with at least 20 routes run.
The most impressive aspect of Sims game action so far has been his production on deep passes, as he’s caught both targets of 20 or more yards downfield for 84 of his receiving yards.
Through three preseason games, Tolliver’s average of 4.35 yards per route run ranks second among all rookies with at least five targets.
Undrafted Free Agent Preseason Snaps: 67 Overall Grade: 85.8 Celestin, an undrafted rookie linebacker out of Minnesota, has been a menace for opposing offenses in his three preseason games and has racked up eight total defensive stops so far, which is tied for the fourth most among rookie inside linebackers.
Undrafted Free Agent Preseason Snaps: 71 Overall Grade: 83.4 The former Texas defensive tackle has been outstanding against the run so far this preseason, and through three weeks, he’s accumulated a whopping seven tackles and six defensive stops in run defense, both of which rank first among rookie interior defensive linemen.
Through three games, the former Virginia linebacker ranks second among all rookie players at the position with 10 defensive stops, seven against the run and three against the pass.
Round 7, Pick 241 Preseason Snaps: 123 Overall Grade: 81.6 Stroman heads into his final preseason game having played more snaps than any other defensive player on his team and the seventh most among all rookie cornerbacks in the NFL.
In three games, Wims has caught 15-of-20 targets for a league-leading 227 yards and has averaged an impressive 2.52 yards per route run, which ranks seventh among all rookie receivers with at least five targets.

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Aug 17, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Ben Niemann (56) returns an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Every preseason in the NFL, stars emerge. In all likelihood, these stars are highly-touted rookies, first-round picks or players who maybe even missed their first year in the league. However, on some occasions during the league’s preseason schedule, impact rookies come from out of the blue for the layman. Here at PFF, with our analysts grading every player on every play of every game at the NFL and FBS level, these players are not so out of the blue as one may think.

Through three weeks, here are some of the late-round and undrafted players who have stood out during their preseason outings:

Undrafted Free Agent
Preseason Snaps: 70
Overall Grade: 92.2

After three weeks of the 2018 preseason, the Iowa product sits firmly atop the 2018 draft class with an elite grade of 92.2. Niemann has been a standout player for the Chiefs defense so far, and he has found success in all facets of the game, but his best work has come against the run, where he’s racked up nine tackles and six defensive stops on just 38 run-defense snaps. To go with his excellent production against the run, Niemann has been targeted only once in coverage, and that target resulted in an interception.

Undrafted Free Agent
Preseason Snaps: 37
Overall Grade: 90.8

The undrafted rookie out of Alabama has certainly turned heads throughout the preseason and is well on the way to earning a place on the Redskins 53-man roster. In two games, Sims has logged 24 snaps in route and has caught five of his eight targets for 131 receiving yards, one touchdown and is currently averaging a whopping 5.46 yards per route run — the best mark among rookie wide receivers with at least 20 routes run. The most impressive aspect of Sims game action so far has been his production on deep passes, as he’s caught both targets of 20 or more yards downfield for 84 of his receiving yards. Through three weeks of the preseason, Sims’ elite receiving grade of 92.1 ranks first among rookie receivers with at least 20 snaps in route.

Undrafted Free Agent
Preseason Snaps: 40
Overall Grade: 87.4

The former Arkansas-Monticello pass-catcher has performed way beyond expectations on his 40 preseason snaps so far, and while he may not make the final roster this time around, he has shown flashes of his potential for the future and maybe even a practice squad spot in the desert. In three preseason matchups, Tolliver has caught 3-of-5 targets for 74 yards, and while that may not sound overly impressive, it’s important to note that all three of those catches have been contested by a defender at the catch point. Through three preseason games, Tolliver’s average of 4.35 yards per route run ranks second among all rookies with at least five targets.

Undrafted…

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