All five quarterbacks drafted in the first round have had impacts as rookies, one way or another. That’s Baker Mayfield with Cleveland at the top and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, the last pick of the first round, along with Sam Darnold of the Jets (third), Buffalo’s Josh Allen (seventh) and Arizona’s Josh Rosen (10th).
Saquon Barkley had a remarkable debut with the Giants as the No. 2 overall pick. Two of the top three betting choices for Defensive Rookie of the Year were drafted two spots apart: Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James (17th) and Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (No. 19).
A rundown of the debuts for the other first-round picks in last spring’s draft:
— No. 4: CB Denzel Ward, Cleveland — The 2017 All-American from Ohio State made the Pro Bowl, so the Browns appear to have hit twice with picks in the top four after a number of draft misses. Ward opened the season with two interceptions against Ben Roethlisberger and has shown surprising toughness with his ability to stop the run.
— No. 5: DE Bradley Chubb, Denver — Chubb would need a huge finale to surpass Jevon Kearse’s 14 1/2 sacks in 1999 with Tennessee, the NFL rookie record since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. But his 12 so far qualify as a huge success for a debut.
— No. 6: G Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis — With the Notre Dame product as the first guard taken in the top six in more than two decades, the Colts’ line went from allowing the most sacks last year (56) to the fewest (17) with a game remaining. During one stretch, Andrew Luck went 239 consecutive dropbacks without a sack.
— No. 8: LB Roquan Smith, Chicago — The 2017 All-American for Georgia is third among rookies in tackles behind second-round pick Darius Leonard of Indianapolis and Vander Esch, according to SportRadar. A standout rookie season has been overshadowed by the preseason blockbuster trade for pass-rushing star Khalil Mack.
— No. 9: T Mike McGlinchey, San Francisco — The second Notre Dame lineman drafted in the top 10 has been solid stepping in right away as the starter at right tackle. He has helped clear the way for a strong running attack but has had problems at times in pass protection.
— No. 11: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Miami — The first of four first-rounders from Alabama has started 10 games, including the past seven, and has been used at safety and cornerback. It’s undecided where he’ll wind up. He was pressed into CB duty recently because of Xavien Howard’s knee injury.
— No. 12: DT Vita Vea, Tampa Bay — It took a little more than half the season, but the former Washington player has emerged as a starter alongside six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. More than half of his tackles (16 of 24, according to SportRadar) have come the past three weeks.
— No. 13: DT Da’Ron Payne, Washington — Another Alabama first-rounder, Payne has started every game, with solid production. He has 51 tackles and five sacks for one of the NFL’s top pass-rushing defenses.
— No. 14: DE Marcus Davenport, New Orleans — The first UTSA player invited to the Senior Bowl learned quickly despite being raw, getting four sacks and a forced fumble in his first seven games. He doesn’t have a sack since, in part because of missing three games with a sprained toe, but his backfield pressure has helped the rush.
— No. 15: T Kolton Miller, Oakland — The former UCLA lineman went through a rough patch in the middle of the season when he tried to play with a sore knee. He’s had more issues even after getting healthy and has allowed more sacks or pressures than any offensive lineman in the league.
— No. 16: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo — Slowly but surely, the former Virginia Tech player is emerging as the defensive leader the Bills anticipated they were getting in trading up six spots for him. The 20-year-old Edmunds picked off Darnold earlier this month to become the NFL’s youngest player to intercept a pass.
— No. 18: CB Jaire Alexander, Green Bay — The confident Louisville product quickly earned the coaching staff’s trust to take on an opponent’s top receiver. Alexander has the speed to keep up down the field, and isn’t afraid to get physical.
— No. 20: C Frank Ragnow, Detroit — The former Arkansas player has been solid while starting every game at left guard. He gives the Lions a versatile player who could move back to center, his position in college, if they decide to reshape the offensive line to revamp their struggling offense.
— No. 21: C Billy Price, Cincinnati — The 2017 All-American from Ohio State missed six games with a partially torn ligament in his right foot. His most high-profile moment was an off-target shotgun snap that Andy Dalton tried to recover in the 11th game against Cleveland. Dalton tore a ligament in the thumb of his right, passing hand.
— No. 22: LB Rashaan Evans, Tennessee — The Titans traded up for the former Alabama player, who missed the preseason with a hamstring injury. He started slowly after making his NFL debut in Week 2. Evans has started seven of 14 games and led the team in tackles twice.
— No. 23: T Isaiah Wynn, New England — The former Georgia lineman tore an Achilles tendon in the preseason and spent the year on injured reserve.
— No. 24: WR D.J. Moore, Carolina — The former Maryland receiver had a typical rookie season for a wide receiver: up and mostly down. While he did have his first career 100-yard game while emerging as a starter the second half of the season, he’s had just two TDs while averaging 47 yards per game.
— No. 25: TE Hayden Hurst, Baltimore — The Ravens’ initial first-round choice, seven spots ahead of Jackson, Hurst missed the first month of the season with a foot injury and hasn’t done much since. The South Carolina product has 19 catches with one touchdown in 11 games.
— No. 26: WR Calvin Ridley, Atlanta — The former Alabama standout was the rookie of the month in September with six TD catches, the most by a rookie in the first four games in NFL history. Although he has cooled off, Ridley is already a strong complement to two-time All-Pro Julio Jones.
— No. 27: RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle — Penny hasn’t been able to beat out 2017 seventh-round pick Chris Carson, who surpassed 1,000 yards in Week 16. The former San Diego State back is third on the club in rushing, also behind San Francisco castoff Mike Davis. Penny has been battling a knee injury recently.
— No. 28: S Terrell Edmunds, Pittsburgh — The Virginia Tech product has seen a steady increase in production while starting all but one game this season. Edmunds had an interception in his third career game and had a recent run of seven tackles in three straight games.
— No. 29: DT Taven Bryan, Jacksonville — The former Florida player couldn’t help the Jaguars avoid their free fall from an AFC championship game appearance to the franchise’s seventh season with at least 10 losses in a span of eight years. Bryan has played sparingly with just one start.
— No. 30: CB Mike Hughes, Minnesota — The Central Florida product tore a knee ligament in Week 6 after making a solid impact early. Hughes had a pick-6 in his first NFL regular-season game against the 49ers, while taking over most of the nickel back duties and serving as the primary kickoff returner.
— No. 31: RB Sony Michel, New England — Michel was the first of the two standout Georgia backs to get drafted, with Nick Chubb going four picks later in the second round and surging in the second half with Cleveland. Michel leads the Patriots with 881 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
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