NFL Rookie Rankings: Josh Jacobs tops the list, Kyler Murray isn't on it

With four full weeks in the 2019 NFL season's rearview mirror, it's a perfect time to evaluate the league's top rookies. The draft class brought a lot of intrigue, and it hasn't disappointed one month into the campaign.

We asked six of our writers and analysts to rank their top 10 rookies to this point. Then we pooled those lists, using Heisman-esque scaling for each ranking, and came up with one overall rank, 1 to 10. Our NFL Nation reporters checked in with analysis of how the first-year stars have played thus far, along with what to expect over the rest of this season. And finally, ESPN Stats & Information's Seth Walder examined the numbers and identified one under-the-radar rookie performer to keep an eye one.

Let's dive in, starting with a talented first-rounder out of Alabama.

1. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

Stats: 62 carries, 307 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
Drafted: No. 24 overall

On one hand, Jacobs has been a revelation. He never carried the ball more than 20 times in any game at Alabama and only had 251 total rushing attempts in his college career. But on the other, he was a first-round pick. The speed of the NFL game has not overwhelmed him as his role has grown. "It's not what everybody told me it was going to be, just to be honest," Jacobs said. "Since camp, I feel like I got the pace of the game. And I know there's levels -- the playoffs come and things like that -- it speeds up. But right now, it's smooth." Smooth like Jacobs' ever-expanding game. -- Paul Gutierrez

2. Brian Burns, OLB, Carolina Panthers

Stats: 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks
Drafted: No. 16 overall

Burns' pressure off the corner, including a team-high nine QB hits, has been a big factor in the Panthers collecting 14 sacks over the past two games and 18 overall (tied with New England for the league lead). His "Spider-Man'' pose for sack celebrations is already on T-shirts in Charlotte.

Burns also has been a big contributor on special teams, partially blocking a punt in Sunday's win at Houston on which he injured his right wrist. Although there is some question whether the injury occurred on the block or when he pounded the turf with his fist because he didn't get a full block. "I'm giving credit for getting it on the punt block,'' Carolina coach Ron Rivera said with a laugh. "It's neat to see these guys come out with that kind of enthusiasm on special teams. He really is a kid; he enjoys having fun, learning." -- David Newton

3. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins

Stats: 16 catches, 257 receiving yards, 3 TDs
Drafted: No. 76 overall

McLaurin's speed stood out from the beginning, but his ability to create separation with improved route running has helped his hot start. He has become a big-play threat because of those qualities. His max speed of 21.23 miles per hour -- on a Week 1 69-yard touchdown pass -- was the seventh-fastest speed reached by a receiver this season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. McLaurin missed Week 4 with a hamstring injury, but he should be fine moving forward. His targets won't decrease, and if the Redskins eventually start rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, their familiarity from playing at Ohio State will help. -- John Keim

4. Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Stats: 18 catches, 304 receiving yards, 2 TDs
Drafted: No. 25 overall

Brown has produced one of the best starts for a wide receiver in NFL history, but defenses have begun playing off him to take away the big plays, limiting him to six receptions for 71 yards over the past two games. If teams continue to play a "bend but don't break" defense, the Ravens are going to need to get Brown more involved with quick slants or wide receiver screens to take advantage of his speed. He is the only Ravens wide receiver who has the ability to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. -- Jamison Hensley

5. Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers

Stats: 17 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble
Drafted: No. 21 overall

At the combine, Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine met with Savage and quickly realized just how high his football IQ is. "Some guys can hardly explain their own job," Pettine said. "Other players -- such as Darnell -- can tell you the details of his job, plus everybody else around him." And when Pettine gave players a handful of playcalls in rookie minicamp, he remembers Savage being "bored after about two minutes of the meeting." "So we had to have a coach meet with him separate to start to move ahead on our install," Pettine said. "He was well ahead of most of the other guys, most of the returning guys in the room." It is no surprise to the Packers that Savage not only has played every snap through four weeks but also has produced on this level. -- Rob Demovsky

6. Gardner Minshew II, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Stats: 84-of-121, 905 passing yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT
Drafted: No. 178 overall

Nobody really knew what to expect out of Minshew when he came in for an injured Nick Foles in the season opener. He had looked good in training camp practices but struggled in preseason games. He went 22-for-25 in Week 1, and he has been one of the league's biggest surprises since, even directing a game-winning drive at Denver. The biggest thing about Minshew is his poise. Nothing rattles the kid. Just look at his TD pass to Ryquell Armstead against the Broncos, when he dodged three potential tacklers, kept his eyes downfield and let go of the ball just before getting hammered. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, he held onto the ball for 7.51 seconds, the longest in the league so far this season. No panic.

Patience along with his accuracy have the Jaguars optimistic they can not only survive the next five games until a potential Foles return, but also that they might be on top of the AFC South at that point. But if Minshew keeps playing the way he has, the Jaguars might be facing an interesting dilemma: Do they keep their $88 million QB on the bench? -- Mike DiRocco

7. Josh Allen, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Stats: 12 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Drafted: No. 7 overall

The Jaguars aren't using Allen exactly the way Kentucky did, but they are dropping him into coverage at times. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Allen's 20 coverage snaps are the most of the Jaguars' pass-rushers. He has had one monster game (two sacks and a forced fumble against Tennessee in Week 3), but how well he has played the run won't show up on the stat sheet. Allen has done a good job helping set the edge as the Jaguars have held opponents to 99.5 yards per game rushing. The expectation is that as Allen gets more comfortable in the scheme and the Jaguars figure out the best way to use him, he'll start making more plays. -- Mike DiRocco

8. Chase Winovich, DE, New England Patriots

Stats: 5 tackles, 3 sacks
Drafted: No. 77 overall

The Patriots have utilized Winovich primarily as a sub pass-rusher. However, the third-rounder from Michigan showed he could handle an expanded role on early downs in the season opener, when he was elevated up the depth chart with Kyle Van Noy missing the game. "I think his understanding is better than what it was when we got him, what it was at the end of the spring," coach Bill Belichick said. "He really gets better every day."

Winovich has been effective with a high-motor pass rush, working in tandem with teammates to create stress on opposing blockers with combination rushes. And as Belichick often notes, contributions on special teams can't be overlooked, with Winovich playing on the kickoff and punt-return units. In all, Winovoch has played 87 defensive snaps. And although his time on the field has diminished over the past two games, there should be more opportunity for him in the near future as the Patriots truly alter their game plan on a week-to-week basis. -- Mike Reiss

9. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

Stats: 11 catches, 166 yards, 2 TDs
Drafted: No. 8 overall

Hockenson set a rookie record in Week 1 for most receiving yards by a tight end in a debut (131) and looked like he might shake the trend of rookie tight ends getting off to slow starts. Defenses focused on him more over the next three weeks, but he still is a valuable part of Detroit's offense, particularly on third down and in the red zone. Hockenson has been everything Detroit wanted and instantly upgraded the position from a year ago. The bigger concern is his immediate future, as a brutal concussion suffered in Week 4 left him in protocol with an undetermined timetable of when he'll return. -- Michael Rothstein

10. Devin Bush, ILB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Stats: 37 tackles, 1 sack, 3 fumble recoveries
Drafted: No. 10 overall

An injury to veteran linebacker Vince Williams pushed Bush into a larger role early in his rookie season. After playing less than 80% of the snaps over the first two weeks, he has been on the field for every snap of the past two games. "He's learning, but it's not like it's above his head," defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. "It's not. He can do this. He'll get better and better as the season goes along. It's always tough. The game in the NFL is a lot faster than it is in college. It doesn't matter where you play college, it's still going to be faster. You have to think faster. You have to play faster. There's a lot of things that happen faster that he's got to adjust to. He will adjust to that because he's got the speed to do it, and he's got the intellect to do it too."

Bush recorded his first career sack against the Bengals, running untouched to bring down quarterback Andy Dalton for a loss of nine yards. He also had nine tackles against Cincinnati, including three for loss. -- Brooke Pryor

Just missed

Erik McCoy, C, New Orleans Saints
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers

Also received votes

Dalton Risner, OG, Denver Broncos
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Byron Murphy, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Ed Oliver, DT, Buffalo Bills
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Under-the-radar rookie to watch

Elgton Jenkins, OG, Green Bay Packers

Drafted: No. 44 overall

The second-round pick out of Mississippi State rotated in at left guard in Week 2, but the job became Jenkins' when starter Lane Taylor went down in practice a few days later with what is likely a season-ending biceps injury. Jenkins actually leads the league among qualifying guards with a pass block win rate of 98%, meaning he is sustaining his block for at least 2.5 seconds almost every time. In watching the tape, he has been very solid in pass protection, even looking to help teammates with double-teams when no defender has rushed at him. -- Seth Walder