We are two weeks into the NFL season, and certain rookies are starting to emerge over others. It is still too early to make complete conclusions, but we have some early insight. And with that, ESPN's Mel Kiper put together a breakdown of the top 20 rookies through two weeks of football.
It is not surprising that the San Francisco 49ers do not have any players showing up. 21 teams showed up in the top 20 and "others considered". The Chiefs (2), Titans (2), Bucs (3) and Washington (2) showing up multiple times. The Colts had one in the top 20, and one in the others considered list. The top five rookies on Kiper's list include:
CB Marcus Peters, Chiefs
QB Marcus Mariota, Titans
C Mitch Morse, Chiefs
QB Jameis Winston, Bucs
DE Henry Anderson, Colts
The 49ers rookie class includes the following on the 53-man roster:
DT Arik Armstead
S Jaquiski Tartt
OLB Eli Harold
TE Blake Bell
RB Mike Davis
P Bradley Pinion
OL Ian Silberman
OL Trenton Brown
WR DeAndrew White
Aside from Bradley Pinion, the team has taken their time integrating rookies. Arik Armstead is getting some work primarily in pass rush situations as an interior lineman. He's shown some strength, but remains a work in progress. Tartt looked the best in Week 1 of the rookies, but the team cut back on his snaps in Week 2. For now it seems like he will play more when they face stronger running games. That would not seem to bode well for Week 3, unless the team brings more blitzing against Carson Palmer.
The biggest surprise might be that Eli Harold has seen very little work. He got five defensive snaps in Week 1, and eight in Week 2. I expected more rotation, but it has been almost entirely the Aaron Lynch, Ahmad Brooks show. We don't really know what to make of this 49ers team quite yet, so I am not sure if this will be changing anytime soon.
And that really applies to most of the rookies. If the 49ers struggle this season, I would think we'll see more rookies sooner rather than later. Blake Bell got some opportunities against Pittsburgh, and showed some impressive hands. I don't think he becomes an integral part of the passing game quite yet, but he could be a lot more active as the season moves along.
Trenton Brown is the guy I'll be looking for if the right side of the offensive line continues to struggle. Erik Pears has not been good this season. He had some moments in Week 1, but they were entirely overshadowed by an abysmal Week 2. At some point, I could see Brown getting in at right tackle. We'll see if it happens sooner rather than later.