After months of hype, the rookies of the 2014 NFL draft class took the field for their first game action last week as the preseason got underway. The preseason is a time for all rookies to make first impressions, but the first-round picks—from No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to No. 32 selection Teddy Bridgewater—were especially in focus.
It’s far too early to jump to conclusions on which rookies will emerge as stars and who will turn out to be busts. Still, the first week of the preseason did give us a better idea of how each team plans to utilize its rookies and which players appear to be in position for significant playing time in year one.
That remains to be seen for some rookies, such as Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert (groin) and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring), who missed their teams’ preseason openers while nursing injuries.
The rest are being evaluated on their first tests, which provided a glimpse into where players are ready to excel and where their games remain works in progress.
There's no perfect method for comparatively grading players across a multitude of different positions with different responsibilities, but the following grades take into account not only the statistics each rookie posted but also what skills each put on display, the competition each went up against and the mistakes that hurt each performance.
Players are listed in order of draft selection. Snap counts and quarterback-pressure totals are courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required for premium statistics). All other statistics courtesy of NFL.com unless otherwise noted.