Ranking the 32 best NFL rookies so far in 2019

You can have your midseason all-rookie teams, listed by position. We’d like to take a different approach this season.

Yes, it’s fun to measure the progress of the NFL’s first-year players and measure them up to their draft status — and sometimes the disparity is stark and shocking.

So we’re still doing that exercise, but just in a different format. We’re picking the best 32 rookies to date, regardless of position. This way we can measure the players through a broader lens and show exactly why, for example, Kyler Murray deserves to be a few notches above folk hero Gardner Minshew to this point.

It also can give us a look at which positions were strongest in the 2019 draft, where the weakest spots were and, in a few cases, ask: How in the heck did that guy go undrafted?!

Here’s our squad to this point, and yes, we had to omit a few highly drafted players — still good players until proven otherwise! — because they haven’t played enough to this point. Don’t worry, they’ve still have time to make our end-of-season list in a few months.

1. 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa

Actual: Round 1, 2nd overall

49ers rookie pass rusher Nick Bosa is already looking like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. (Photo by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Bosa – with seven sacks, an NFL-best 11 tackles for loss, an INT and a forced fumble — might win Defensive Rookie of the Year and possibly Defensive Player of the Year.

2. Giants DT Dexter Lawrence

Actual: Round 1, 17th overall

The modern NFL isn't supposed to favor 340-pound defenders, but Lawrence has athleticism that belies his size and appears to be a steal for GM Dave Gettleman.

3. Redskins WR Terry McLaurin

Actual: Round 3, 76th overall

McLaurin's quick emergence has been a great story amid a lost Redskins season, emerging as a go-to weapon in the passing game no matter the QB.

4. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray

Actual: Round 1, 1st overall

Kliff Kingsbury has handed the keys to the Cardinals' offense to Murray, who's proven to be accurate.

5. Panthers EDGE Brian Burns

Actual: Round 1, 16th overall

With 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a 56-yard fumble return for a TD, we're going to wonder how Burns slid to No. 16 in the draft.

6. Saints C Erik McCoy

Actual: Round 2, 48th overall

The Saints landed a first-round talent in McCoy to ease the retirement of Max Unger. McCoy is becoming one of the NFL's best young centers.

7. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs

Actual: Round 1, 24th overall

Jacobs' running has been as good as advertised, breaking tackles and racking up yards for the Raiders, who have yet to unleash him in the passing game.

8. Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew

Actual: Round 6, 178th overall

Gardner Minshew has proven to be a playmaker in Nick Foles' absence. (Photo by Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

After a couple of shaky outings, Minshew Mania is back in bloom. His 13-2 TD-INT ratio is impressive, especially for a rookie QB who replaced an injured Nick Foles.

9. Packers OG Elgton Jenkins

Actual: Round 2, 44th overall

Jenkins has been a nice performer for Matt LaFleur's burgeoning offense, and he's coming off what might have been his best game vs. K.C.

10. Steelers LB Devin Bush

Actual: Round 1, 10th overall

Bush has settled in nicely after being picked on in coverage early, with the acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick relieving some of his coverage duties.

11. Jaguars EDGE Josh Allen

Actual: Round 1, 7th overall

Allen has found ways to be productive in a reserve pass-rush role, with seven sacks and two forced fumbles in his past six games.

12. Chiefs S Juan Thornhill

Actual: Round 2, 63rd overall

The Chiefs' defense has its share of warts, but Thornhill isn't one of them. He's beginning to thrive alongside Tyrann Mathieu after a slow start.

13. Broncos OG Dalton Risner

Actual: Round 2, 41st overall

Risner has been a bright spot amid all the Broncos' offensive line concerns, even if he might be a little more sound as a pass blocker than in the run game.

14. Packers S Darnell Savage

Actual: Round 1, 21st overall

Savage has been impactful vs. the run and in coverage, and he'd likely be higher on the list had he not suffered an ankle injury.

15. Bills DT Ed Oliver

Actual: Round 1, 9th overall

Oliver didn't notch his first sack until Week 7, but he appears to be heating up as he gets accustomed to the size and quickness of NFL linemen.

16. Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman

Actual: Round 2, 56th overall

Hardman has done a nice job stressing defenses while filling in for the injured Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, catching four TDs and assuming punt-return duties.

17. Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf

Actual: Round 2, 64th overall

D.K. Metcalf has made an immediate impact in Seattle. (Photo by Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

There has been an all-or-nothing quality to Metcalf's game, but credit the physically imposing receiver for delivering big plays on a nearly weekly basis.

18. Titans WR A.J. Brown

Actual: Round 2, 51st overall

Brown has been closing in on the No. 1 WR job, and it's been impressive to see him contribute in nearly every game.

19. Ravens WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

Actual: Round 1, 25th overall

He's averaging 65.2 receiving yards per game but slid down this list due to recent injuries. When healthy, Brown is a blur in the open field and has star upside.

20. Colts S Khari Willis

Actual: Round 4, 109th overall

Aside from a few missed tackles and rookie missteps, Willis has been a nice Day 3 find for the Colts. A foot injury suffered in Week 8 bears watching.

21. 49ers OT Justin Skule

Actual: Round 6, 183rd overall

The son of the FBI's executive assistant director for intelligence, Skule has been a godsend for the Niners, stepping in well for the injured Joe Staley.

22. Vikings C Garrett Bradbury

Actual: Round 1, 18th overall

After a rough start plagued by penalties and breakdowns in pass protection, Bradbury has tightened up quite a bit in recent games.

23. Giants QB Daniel Jones

Actual: Round 1, 6th overall

Daniel Jones has shown promise after taking over New York's offense from Eli Manning. (Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

After some dicey outings that had people asking about Eli Manning again, Jones has developed a nice chemistry with fellow rookie Darius Slayton and is showing why he was drafted so high.

24. Broncos EDGE Malik Reed

Actual: Undrafted

With the injury to Bradley Chubb, Reed has stepped in and quietly done a nice job. Despite tremendous college production, the undersized Reed went undrafted.

25. Jets DT Quinnen Williams

Actual: Round 1, 3rd overall

After a slow start and an ankle injury, Williams has begun to make his presence felt, and he figures to be a full-time starter now that Leonard Williams has been dealt.

26. Redskins EDGE Montez Sweat

Actual: Round 1, 26th overall

Sweat is rounding into form and there's a lot to like in his game, even if the big plays have been scarce.

27. Jaguars OT Jawaan Taylor

Actual: Round 2, 35th overall

Taylor has allowed eight sacks and committed eight penalties, but he's faced a murderers' row of defenders and there have been promising elements to his game.

28. Cardinals CB Byron Murphy

Actual: Round 2, 33rd overall

Murphy has played all but one defensive snap this season and while he's allowed a fair number of receptions, he's also shown toughness and coverage ability.

29. Lions TE T.J. Hockenson

Actual: Round 1, 8th overall

T.J. Hockenson has given Matthew Stafford a valuable weapon. (Photo by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

His receiving production largely came in Week 1, and some considerable drops have hurt his stock. But the Lions appear to be a better offense with him on the field.

30. Bills OT Cody Ford

Actual: Round 2, 38th overall

Ford has cut down on mental mistakes and learned not to be so grabby. The flashes of upside are there, whether at guard or tackle.

31. Dolphins WR Preston Williams

Actual: Undrafted

Character concerns caused the gifted Williams to go undrafted, but he's making the most of his chance in chaotic Miami.

32. Patriots EDGE Chase Winovich

Actual: Round 3, 77th overall

He's averaging fewer than 20 snaps a game but has filled a pass-rush role and been a big contributor on special teams, running back a blocked punt for a TD.

Just missed the cut

Colts CB Rock Ya-Sin (Round 2, 34th overall); Giants EDGE Oshane Ximinies (Round 3, 59th overall); Texans DL Charles Omenihu (Round 5, 161st overall); Vikings TE Irv Smith (Round 2, 50th overall); Steelers WR Diontae Johnson (Round 3, 66th overall); Redskins LB Cole Holcomb (Round 5, 173rd overall).

We ran back the 2019 NFL draft class and ranked the 32 best rookies so far this season. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)