The time has come for the rookies of 2014 to make their regular-season debuts as NFL players. From No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to a plethora of players drafted after him, first-year players on all 32 teams are expected to make immediate impacts on the field as Week 1 games kick off on Thursday, Sunday and Monday.
Throughout the season here at Bleacher Report, I’ll be tracking which rookies stand out above their peers with weekly rankings of the NFL’s rookie class. Each week, the top five NFL newcomers at each position, and top 50 overall, will be highlighted.
Over the course of the season, rankings will be determined based upon which rookies have had the best performance and production for the regular season as a whole. High draft picks won’t be given places on the rankings simply based upon their hype coming into the league—they’ll have to prove on the field that they belong.
For this week’s rankings, we take a look at which players performed best this preseason and put themselves in the best positions to be significant contributors for their teams in Week 1. Consideration has been given to where each rookie stands on his team’s depth chart, but the rankings aim to reflect how each player has performed thus far moreso than what the expectations are.
Since preseason performances will be largely forgotten once the meaningful games begin, next week’s rankings will likely look drastically different, in part because some players will see significantly more playing time than others in the regular season. The players listed in the following slides, nonetheless, are the ones who stood out the most during the summer session.