ESPN Insider ranked each NFL team’s rookie production so far this season, and the Falcons come in at No. 11.
Atlanta has several rookies starting and contributing, and while we do see some rookie lapses from time to time, they’re coming along.
First round pick Keanu Neal has developed into a hard-hitting safety. The Insider article says he has given up the third-most yards of any safety this season, but it’s a big adjustment to the pro game from college, and he’s been an upgrade over William Moore.
Second round pick Deion Jones has had a phenomenal season. Remember when we used to all cringe when we saw Falcons linebackers trying to cover tight ends, or worse, running backs out of the backfield? Well, Jones is pretty good in coverage. He has three interceptions on the season, two of which he’s returned for touchdowns.
Third rounder Austin Hooper has filled in decently with Jacob Tamme on injured reserve, and fourth round pick De’Vondre Campbell has exceeded his draft status with his play. Factor in undrafted free agent Brian Poole, who has been a pleasant surprise in a season that the Falcons need quite a bit of help at cornerback, and the rookie class has had an impact this season.
The Dallas Cowboys came in first, which only makes sense considering the performances of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Falcons were on the top of the NFC South. The New Orleans Saints, with rookie standout Michael Thomas, came in at No. 13. The Carolina Panthers were No. 21, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were listed at No. 23.