The folks over at Pro Football Focus have been ranking the top rookies in the NFL each week, and it’s always interesting to see where things stand. Following Week 10, there are some seriously impressive names on the list.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster doesn’t make their top 10, but he’s basically got an asterisk next to his name. That’s because they do mention Foster, but suggest he isn’t on the rankings due to his injuries and his total lack of playing time.
The top two rookies on their list are Marshon Lattimore, the breakout cornerback for the New Orleans Saints who boasts a 93.9 PFF grade. Then it’s Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who has a 90.5 grade.
Foster currently sits with an 89.0 grade, which would put him third on this list, but instead he’s sitting outside the top 10, with an editor’s note stating that Foster will “find his rightful place on the rankings of our year-long race” once he’s seen more playing time.
If Foster keeps up the level of play we’ve seen from him in the past two weeks he’s going to burst into this race with a force rivaled only by Jadeveon Clowney when he sees a Michigan running back. The only thing preventing Foster from placing within the top-10 in this week’s update for this season-long race is playing time, when he’s been on the field his play has been borderline elite. Foster has been on the field for 141 snaps over the past two weeks – after making it onto the field for just 64 snaps in the first eight weeks of the season – and he’s earned game grades of 85.7 and 86.8. Over the last two weeks he’s tied for the lead among linebackers with nine run stops and he’s also one of 20 linebackers to have three stops in coverage over that span. Leonard Fournette may want to look over his shoulder, his former SEC rival is right on his tail to crack this top 10.
They also list Foster’s elite stat: a 12.5 run stop percentage, which is fourth among all linebackers. Foster has been very good in limited time this season and it’s good to see him get his recognition, even if he’s not quite there in regards to body of work. I think Foster has the highest ceiling of any player in this draft class.
Solomon Thomas is a no-show on the list, which isn’t that surprising. He’s looked good at times, but has also been shut down plenty. When he is blocked well, he disappears, and is far behind Foster in his development.
There is one more notable name that makes the list as an honorable mention: safety Adrian Colbert. He made his first start of the season against the New York Giants and looked great. Obviously, he can’t make these rankings, but if he continues to play well after recovering from his broken thumb, the folks at PFF are watching, at least.