The 2020 NFL season has been a wild ride, like the rest of 2020, and we’re still a few weeks out from the halfway point.
It seems each week we see rookies put on performances that make statements around the league, and week 5 was no different. Moving forward, I will be highlighting the top rookie performances of each week in one spot for you. From the solid performances to the jaw-dropping games, the best from the rookie class will be delivered.
Week 5 turned out to be a great starting point, as a certain Steelers rookie erupted onto the scene. More on that later.
5. Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins
16 Rushes | 57 Rushing Yards(3.6 YPC) | 5 Receptions | 34 Receiving Yards
The Dolphins 7th round selection, Myles Gaskin, is quickly proving he should not have dropped so far in the NFL Draft. Week 5 was more of the same, as he had another solid game and helped the Dolphins roll the San Fransisco 49ers.
Even with the injuries, the 9ers are dealing with, no one saw a 43-17 Dolphins win coming this week. None of it would have been possible without Gaskin, who caught all 5 of his targets to lead the way in receptions alongside tight end Mike Gesicki. Perhaps receiving is where Gaskin has impressed the most, but it wouldn’t be right to compliment his overall game so far this year.
Expect to see his name consistently in the weekly top 5 rookie performances.
4. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
3 Targets | 2 Receptions | 118 Yards | 1 Touchdown
In the Raiders upset of their division rival Chiefs, the offense was the key to success. That tends to be the best way to beat the Chiefs, as you’re not stopping Patrick Mahomes consistently. Derek Carr and the Raiders made a statement as a team, and a huge part of that was from their rookie WR.
The 1st round draft pick out of Alabama showed off his elite speed on a huge 72-yard touchdown pass as the Raiders and Chiefs slugged it out. He only caught one additional pass, but even that one was a big play for the Raiders offense. Ruggs III finished the day with just two catches, one for 72 yards, and the other for 46 yards.
3. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
20-34 (58.8%) | 264 Yards | 4 Touchdowns
The only rookie QB to make the list this week, the 6th overall pick had his first turnover-free game in his NFL career this week. He didn’t stop at taking care of the ball though, as he threw for four scores and hit multiple big plays to put his team in position to win.
Ultimately the Chargers did not win, blowing a lead to the Saints and eventually falling in overtime. Herbert can’t be blamed specifically for the loss, but he certainly has to improve in some areas to become a good NFL starter.
His arm looked great, but I’d like to see him hit more passes in the short to intermediate game. That would lead to longer drives, more time of possession, and benefit the defense.
Regardless, he wasn’t supposed to be starting this quickly. What he has shown so far, and especially against the Saints on Monday Night Football, is a great sign of the future he could have. His big say resulted in a passer rating of 122.7. This is a game where he lost his number one wide receiver shortly after connecting with him for an early score.
Herbert looks like the real deal, and weeks like this will only help him grow.
2. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
11 Targets | 8 Receptions | 124 Receiving Yards
CeeDee Lamb has been the top rookie WR on a week to week basis early in this season, and that doesn’t look likely to change. While he will be catching balls from Andy Dalton now, the Cowboys are still going to be in shootouts and Dalton is more than serviceable.
Lamb is getting the benefit other WR’s don’t often get, playing in an offense that has dynamic player-makers across the board. That doesn’t take away from his game, though, and he continues to deliver at an incredible rate for the Cowboys offense.
Week 5 saw Lamb reach a career-high in targets, receptions, and yards. While he failed to get in the end zone, Cowboys fans have years to come of seeing him do that, too.
The defense is atrocious, but we’re already seeing why Dallas couldn’t pass up on Lamb when he dropped to them in the draft.
1. Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
11 Targets | 7 Receptions | 110 Receiving Yards | 3 Receiving Touchdowns | 1 Rushing Touchdown
The obvious top rookie performer from week 5, and one of the absolute best from the week regardless of experience; Chase Claypool. Saying he erupted onto the scene is an understatement, as his 4 touchdown day has Steeler fans ecstatic about the future of the offense.
Not only did he bring in the three receiving scores, but he also got credited with a rushing score, leading to a day that even great WR’s can only dream of having. The scary part for the rest of the league, though, is that the sky remains the limit for the 6-4 Notre Dame product.
Before his 11 targets in week 5, Claypool had totaled just 9 targets in his first three games. It seems Ben Roethlisberger decided it was time to see what the rookie can do, as he was targeted 5 more times than anyone else on the team. Clearly, it paid off.
Expect more of the same, in terms of targets and role in the offense. Obviously, it’ll be nearly impossible to duplicate the scoring performance, but the threat he provides off that performance alone is going to stress defenses out.
Week 5 was the beginning of a career that will be full of scoring plays. The Steelers got another great WR prospect.