NFL rookie rankings: Micah Parsons jumps to No. 1, but who else makes the top 10?

NFL rookie rankings: Micah Parsons jumps to No. 1, but who else makes the top 10?

Who are the top first-years through 12 weeks of the NFL season? How high does Mac Jones rank? And where are the standout rookie receivers on our top 10?


Twelve weeks into the 2021 NFL season and we are squarely in the body-of-work zone for the league's first-year players. Some of the rookies have flashed one week and felt every bump on the learning curve in others, while some have been derailed for a moment by injuries. But in the third rookie rankings of the season, there is, again, a new No. 1. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons ascends to that spot, as he continues to be versatile, impactful and exceedingly busy, given he has played 84% of the team's defensive snaps.

Six of the top 10 were selected in the first round of last April's draft, and the Patriots' Mac Jones continues to be the only rookie passer to crack the top 10 -- though Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence continues to grind his way closer to the list. But it isn't about some flash here, a big play there and a mistake over there; it's about play from Weeks 1 through 12 as a whole. It's about degree of difficulty in what these players are being asked to do and how they've handled it.

Per usual, we polled some personnel executives around the league to get their thoughts and worked our way through the game tape to make this top 10 list. We also include who just missed the list and a few other names to keep handy in the coming weeks. Finally, we looked to ESPN Stats & Information's Seth Walder to pick an under-the-radar rookie to keep an eye on and ESPN Chalk's Doug Kezirian to provide the best value bet for rookie of the year.