Analysis

NFL rookie rankings at halfway point of 2021 season: Bears' Justin Fields rising

With the 2021 NFL regular season at the halfway mark, former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah has reviewed his notes to rank the top 25 rookies in the league today.

Note: Arrows reflect changes from first-quarter rookie rankings.

Rank
1
Micah Parsons
Dallas Cowboys · LB

Parsons should be in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year. He's been that dominant on a weekly basis.

Rank
2
1
Ja'Marr Chase
Cincinnati Bengals · WR

Chase has proven to be a legit No. 1 wideout in the first half of his rookie campaign. He has elite run-after-catch skills. 

Rank
3
1
Rashawn Slater
Los Angeles Chargers · OT

Slater has played at a Pro Bowl level. He's dominant in pass protection and creates a ton of movement in the run game. 

Rank
4
9
Kyle Pitts
Atlanta Falcons · TE

It took a couple weeks for the Falcons to figure out how to properly use their new tight end. Since then, he's been a mismatch for defenses in every game.

Rank
5
1
Mac Jones
New England Patriots · QB

Jones has been the most steady and consistent rookie quarterback. I've been very impressed with his quick processing and accuracy. 

Rank
6
4
Javonte Williams
Denver Broncos · RB

Williams continues to make his mark with power, vision and balance. He's helped the Broncos turn their season around. 

Rank
7
2
Creed Humphrey
Kansas City Chiefs · C

Humphrey is a solid foundational piece for the Chiefs' new-look offensive line. He's technically sound and reliable in both run and pass blocking. 

Rank
8
4
Najee Harris
Pittsburgh Steelers · RB

Harris has provided power and physicality in the run game while also contributing heavily in the passing game. He's one of three players with 500-plus rush yards and 250-plus receiving yards this season.

Rank
9
5
Odafe Oweh
Baltimore Ravens · LB

Oweh has made a handful of game-changing plays for the Ravens. His speed/power combination off the edge shows up every week.

Rank
10
3
DeVonta Smith
Philadelphia Eagles · WR

Smith is coming off an excellent game against the Chargers (5 catches for 116 yards and a TD). I've been very impressed with his quickness and route polish. 

Rank
11
Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · QB

Lawrence doesn't have the most talent around him, but he's finding a way to keep the Jaguars in games and even played through an ankle injury to help Jacksonville stun the Bills in Week 9. He's only going to improve as the team upgrades his supporting cast. 

Rank
12
4
Patrick Surtain II
Denver Broncos · CB

Surtain is dealing with a knee injury that could sideline him for a bit, but he's having an outstanding rookie season. He can find and play the ball, and he's very active in run support. 

Rank
13
NR
Elijah Mitchell
San Francisco 49ers · RB

It's been a rough year for the 49ers, but they found a gem in the sixth round when they drafted Mitchell. He has a nice blend of explosiveness and instincts. 

Rank
14
NR
Nick Bolton
Kansas City Chiefs · LB

Bolton leads all rookies in tackles with 71, and I love the way he attacks the line of scrimmage. He's going to be a featured player on the Kansas City defense for a very long time. 

Rank
15
1
Jaylen Waddle
Miami Dolphins · WR

Waddle hasn't been as big of a deep threat as I anticipated, but he's reliable underneath and explosive after the catch. 

Rank
16
4
Christian Barmore
New England Patriots · DT

Barmore might be the best value pick in the draft. The 38th overall selection has shown flashes of dominance as an interior pass rusher and he's very stout at the point of attack. 

Rank
17
NR
Trey Smith
Kansas City Chiefs · OG

Smith is a mauler in the run game and he's improving in pass protection. He can get a little overaggressive at times, but I love his nasty demeanor.

Rank
18
9
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Cleveland Browns · LB

Owusu-Koramoah would be much higher on this list if he hadn't missed the last three games due to injury. He's a Swiss Army Knife, capable of playing just about any position in the back seven.

Rank
19
NR
Alijah Vera-Tucker
New York Jets · OG

Vera-Tucker has steadily improved throughout the season. I love his instincts in pass protection and his power in the run game. 

Rank
20
NR
Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · QB

Fields had a rough start to the season, but he's really stepped up in the past two weeks. He is pushing the ball vertically and he's using his legs to create offense.

Rank
21
2
Nate Hobbs
Las Vegas Raiders · CB

Hobbs has been outstanding as the Raiders' nickel cornerback. He's quick and aware in coverage. He's an excellent blitzer, too.

Rank
22
3
Michael Carter
New York Jets · RB

Carter has become a focal point in the Jets' offense. He runs hard and he's a weapon in the passing game. 

Rank
23
NR
Kadarius Toney
New York Giants · WR

Toney is extremely explosive and it pops when you watch the tape. He gives the Giants something they desperately needed on offense. 

Rank
24
NR
Azeez Ojulari
New York Giants · OLB

Ojulari plays hard and has a knack for rushing the passer. He's been very productive contributing to one of the most underrated fronts in the NFL. 

Rank
25
NR
Pat Freiermuth
Pittsburgh Steelers · TE

Freiermuth has excellent hands and he's earned the trust of his future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter.

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