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NFL rookie rankings: Carson Wentz, Ezekiel Elliott tops thus far

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Before the 2016 NFL season kicked off, Daniel Jeremiah took stock of the rookie class, identifying the top newbies through the preseason. Now that a quarter of the campaign has elapsed, Jeremiah is once again training his scout's eye on the crop of first-year pros to provide an updated list of the 25 best rookies thus far in the NFL.

NOTE: The ranking below reflects changes from Jeremiah's preseason rookie rankings.

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1

Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

NR

Wentz has been phenomenal. He's protecting the football (zero turnovers in three starts), making great decisions and delivering the ball accurately. His combination of poise and playmaking ability has led the Eagles to a 3-0 start.

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2

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

1

Prescott is playing winning football from inside the pocket, where he works quickly through his progressions and doesn't get rattled. He will use his legs when necessary, but he's proven to be a passer first, runner second. He's been outstanding.

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3

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Elliott leads the league in rushing with 412 yards through four games, and he's just starting to find his groove. I thought he was a little impatient in the Cowboys' opener (when he picked up just 51 yards on 20 carries at a rate of 2.6 yards per carry), but he looks more comfortable and confident every week. He's proven to be a complete back and is well on his way to earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his rookie campaign.

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4

Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Ramsey has all the tools you look for in a No. 1 cornerback. He's long, athletic and fluid. He doesn't shy away from contact and keeps getting better every week. His movement skills are off the charts.

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5

Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans

2

Fuller has been the most impressive rookie receiver. He has explosive deep speed (seven plays of 20-plus yards), but he's proven to be a very polished route runner, as well. He is also a dangerous weapon in the return game. Houston hit a home run with the 21st overall pick.

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6

Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

NR

Ngakoue has been a force coming off the edge for the Jags. He's a little stiff, but he's explosive and powerful as a pass rusher. He currently leads all rookies with three sacks, and he's also collected an interception and forced three fumbles.

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7

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

NR

Shepard has thrived in the slot for the Giants. He is a very precise route runner and creates a ton of separation down the field. He's on pace to catch 80 balls and eight touchdowns.

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8

Deion Jones, MLB, Atlanta Falcons

NR

The 6-foot-1, 222-pound Jones is an undersized linebacker with elite speed and explosiveness. His range and awareness have led to several big plays, including a long pick-six against the Saints. He is a perfect fit in coach Dan Quinn's scheme.

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9

Cody Whitehair, C, Chicago Bears

NR

Whitehair took over the center position after Chicago lost starter Hroniss Grasu to injury. Despite lacking any experience at the position, Whitehair has adapted smoothly -- in fact, he's been one of the lone bright spots for the Bears' offense this season.

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10

Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

4

The 6-3, 212-pound Thomas is a big, physical wide receiver who fits beautifully in the Saints' offensive system. He uses his big frame to wall off defenders underneath, and he tracks the ball naturally over his shoulder. He leads all rookie wideouts with 21 receptions.

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11

Su'a Cravens, LB, Washington Redskins

1

Cravens has been outstanding through the first four games of his career, picking off a pass and logging three passes defensed. He's shown versatility in coverage and always seems to be around the football. He plays bigger than his size (6-1, 222).

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12

Jack Conklin, OT, Tennessee Titans

7

Conklin doesn't always incorporate the cleanest footwork, but he finds a way to get the job done. He's physical in the run game and has been better than expected in pass protection.

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13

DeForest Buckner, DE, San Francisco 49ers

NR

The 1-3 49ers aren't a very good football team, but Buckner has been a bright spot. He has the strength to hold the point of attack and plays with tremendous effort. I think we'll see his pass-rush ability improve as the season progresses.

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14

Joe Thuney, OG, New England Patriots

1

Thuney has been a Steady Eddie for the Patriots. He played both tackle and guard at N.C. State, but he's settled in nicely at guard for New England. He's been very consistent in both the run game and pass protection.

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15

Hunter Henry, TE, San Diego Chargers

Henry had an unfortunate fumble at the end of the Chargers' Week 3 loss to the Colts, but he's flashed some big-time ability through the early portion of the season. He has soft, natural hands, and he knows how to find soft spots in the defense, putting up 15.3 yards per catch on 10 catches. He has quickly gained the trust of quarterback Philip Rivers.

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16

Karl Joseph, S, Oakland Raiders

NR

Joseph has started the last two games for the Raiders, and he's been very productive (18 tackles in that span). He has the versatility to line up in the box or as the high safety. The physical tackler has excellent range in the back end.

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17

Keanu Neal, S, Atlanta Falcons

NR

Since returning from minor knee surgery late last month, Neal has shown why the Falcons selected him with the 17th overall pick. His athletic ability is a huge asset when he's matched up with tight ends in coverage; he did a respectable job against Greg Olsen for the majority of Atlanta's Week 4 win over Carolina. He is also a very physical force player against the run.

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18

Blake Martinez, LB, Green Bay Packers

NR

Martinez has been a very solid, dependable linebacker for the Packers, very quick to diagnose plays and find the football. He doesn't wow you with his athleticism, but he's always in the right positon, and he's a reliable tackler in space.

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19

Jatavis Brown, LB, San Diego Chargers

NR

Brown has taken over the inside linebacker position for Manti Te'o, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in Week 3. He lacks size, but he's very rangy and instinctive. His production has been impressive (one sack, four passes defensed and one forced fumble), and he should only improve with more reps.

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20

Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

NR

Hill was one of my favorite players to study on college tape, and he hasn't disappointed through the first four games of the season. He is an explosive athlete, and he's made an impact as a pass catcher and a returner. Hill is a perfect fit in Andy Reid's system.

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21

Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Buccaneers

19

Hargreaves doesn't have a ton of ball production, but he has flashed his athleticism in coverage. He is extremely fluid and isn't afraid to throw his body around against the run.

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22

Laremy Tunsil, OG/OT, Miami Dolphins

6

Tunsil hasn't been perfect (he's been late picking up some twists), but overall, I've been impressed with his play. He's started games at left guard and left tackle and he's flashed some big-time ability. He's been more physical in the run game than I expected.

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23

Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears

NR

Howard -- who racked up 111 rushing yards on 23 carries in his first career start Sunday -- looks like he has all of the tools to be a feature back for the Bears. He runs very hard, and he's also proven capable in the passing game. He should climb up this list as the season progresses.

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24

Tajae Sharpe, WR, Tennessee Titans

16

Sharpe doesn't have overly impressive stats (16 catches, 172 yards and zero touchdowns in four starts), but he has already established himself as the No. 1 receiver in the Titans' offense. He lacks elite burst, but he is a refined route runner and has excellent instincts and awareness. The 140th overall selection has already proven to be an outstanding value pick for first-year GM Jon Robinson.

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25

Cory James, LB, Oakland Raiders

NR

I didn't know much about James, but he's been a pleasant surprise since he took over the starting linebacker spot in Oakland. He is fluid in space and very instinctive. The Raiders found a gem in the sixth round.

Dropped out: Derrick Henry, RB, Titans (previously No. 5); Ronnie Stanley, OT, Ravens (No. 6), Noah Spence, DE, Buccaneers (No. 9), Matt Judon, OLB, Ravens (No. 10); Mackensie Alexander, CB, Vikings (No. 11); Ryan Kelly, C, Colts (No. 17); Paxton Lynch, QB, Broncos (No. 18); Robby Anderson, WR, Jets (No. 20).

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

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