The September NFL All Rookie Team

The first month of football is over and it is a shame. However, through the first four games of the season, a ton of rookies have emerged as some of the top players at their position. Here are the rookies at each position that have shined the brightest over the past moth.

Quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater

Minnesota Vikings

2nd overall Prospect, 1st Quarterback, 1st Round Grade

Despite only play for a little bit more than one game, Bridgewater has placed himself ahead of Derek Carr as the best rookie quarterback. In his first start, Bridgewater looked like a five year veteran (shocker) in torching the Atlanta Falcons. He was poised, made great decisions and moved well in and outside the pocket. If his play is an indicator of the year to come, not only could Teddy push being a top rookie, but he is helping the Vikings look like a threat in the NFC North.

Sep 28, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws during the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Falcons 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Running Back

Isaiah Crowell

Cleveland Browns

26th Overall Prospect, 1st Running Back, 1st Round Grade

Crowell finishes the month as the best running back among the rookies. In his limited snaps, he has displayed fantastic burst, vision and power. The Browns need to give him more carries as he is bay far the most talented player in their backfield. However, his running mate has not been to bad either…

Terrance West

Cleveland Browns

159th Overall Prospect, 8th RB, 5th Round Grade

West is not the dynamic player that Crowell is, but he is a very steady, hard running back with good vision and leg drive. Behind Cleveland’s awesome offensive line,  West does a great job getting into the open field and picking up consistent yardage down to down. I still think the more dynamic Crowell should be seeing more carries, but no doubt he is a steady, dependable back.

Wide Receiver

Jordan Matthews

Philadelphia Eagles

20th Overall Prospect, 1st Wide Receiver, 1st Round Grade

Matthews has done an outstanding job so far given the spread out nature of the offense he plays in. He may not have gaudy numbers that people want to see from a rookie skill player, but he has been very steady for the Eagles. He has done a great job working underneath from the slot and finding soft spots in defenses. He has cleaned up his hands the last two weeks and looks like an increasingly more active part of the offense. The best is yet to come.

Sep 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) catches an 11-yard touchdown against Washington Redskins inside linebacker Perry Riley (56) and strong safety Brandon Meriweather (31) late in the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

John Brown

Arizona Cardinals

 182nd Overall Prospect, 25th Wide Receiver, Early 6th Round Grade

Brown has made an almost seamless transition to a monster deep threat at Pittsburg State to a monster deep threat in the NFL. His speed has been immense and quite evident on the field. The Cardinals are doing a spectacular job of putting him in the best position to succeed and he is rewarding them by stretching the field and threatening the defense deep down the field.

Tight End

Jace Amaro

New York Jets

62nd Overall Prospect, 5th Tight End, 2nd Round Grade

Overall, I have been unimpressed by the rookie tight end performances as a whole. However, for the most part it is due to them not being utilized rather than actually playing poorly and Amaro embodies that. The talented wide receiver has done a good job when put on the field of getting open and providing a large, athletic target in the passing game, but he just has not been given the opportunity. Hopefully the offensively starved Jets realize what they have in the rookie and start feeding him the ball more.

Offensive Tackle 

Ju’Wuan James

Miami Dolphins

105th Overall Prospect, 14th Tackle, 3rd Round Grade

James has been pretty spectacular relative to my initial grade on him. He still needs work as a pass blocker, but he has been spectacular in the running game. His improved quickness combined with his immense arm length and heavy hands make him a best coming downhill as a run blocker. If he can improve his footwork as a pass blocker, the Dolphins have a stud tackle on their hands.

Jake Matthews

Atlanta Falcons

6th Overall Prospect, 1st Tackle, 1st Round Grade

Matthews had a rough start to the season with some poor play and an injury. However, he rebounded with a very, very good game against Minnesota that make me believe that he is on his way in the right direction. His lateral agility and technique were evident as a pass blocker as he did a good job of keeping Matt Ryan for the most part. He looked good moving in the running game, although he has room to improve in that regard. Overall, I am impressed with Matthews’ progress and he should be a cornerstone of the offensive line for a long time.

Offensive Guard 

Joel Bitonio 

Cleveland Browns

12th Overall Player, 3rd Offensive Lineman, 1st Round Grade

Bitonio has been nothing short of phenomenal for the Browns up to this point. He has been an absolute beast in the running game, showing off his awesome athletic ability and strength. He is keying a lot of the Browns running game and sometimes looks like the best player on the field. He is doing well as a pass blocker, but it is tough to match his movement and his attitude in the running game. Bitonio is one of the most fun linemen to watch in the league already. Stud.

Sep 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Billy Winn (90) and guard Joel Bitonio (75) celebrate after Billy Cundiff (not pictured) kicked the game winning field goal to defeat the New Orleans Saints 26-24 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Weston Richburg

New York Giants

32nd Overall Player, 7th Offensive Lineman, 1st Round Grade

Richburg started slow for the Giants as he made a transition to playing guard after playing center at Colorado State, but Richburg looks to have finally arrived, stringing together two very good performances. Fresh in my mind is his dominant performance against the Redskins as he was a bulldozer in the running game and showed off his technique and intelligence in the passing game. He was one of my favorite prospects to watch in college with his high motor and nasty attitude and his game is transitioning to the pros already.

Center

Corey Linsley

Green Bay Packers

Unranked

So far, Linsely has been a  a solid addition to the Packers offensive line. He has not been spectacular, but he moves very well and does a good job in the running game and passing game. He has decent tools, so if he is able to improve technique and awareness, he could develop into a nice Player for Green Bay.

Interior Defensive Line

Aaron Donald

St. Louis Rams

46th Overall Prospect, 7th IDL, 2nd Round Grade

Donald landed in the perfect spot to succeed and he is showing that early. His anchor still leaves a lot to be desired, but his superb quickness and technique help him split blockers and disrupt the offense. He has done a great job causing problems in the running game and flashes his pass rush skills that made him so dominant in college. He can still get washed out if he does not win at the snap, but being on a stacked defensive line really helps him cause problems.

Beau Allen

Philadelphia Eagles

189th Overall Prospect, 20th IDL,  6th Round Grade

Somewhat of a surprise appearance, Allen has been severely outplaying his draft positioning. Despite looking like a two down run stopper in college, he has displayed very good burst for a 320 pound nose tackle. He is doing a good job plugging up against the run and is offering a lot as a pass rusher in his limited snaps. Philly should see to increase his workload considering how disruptive he has been.

Edge Defender

Khalil Mack

Oakland Raiders

5th Overall Player, 2nd Linebacker, 1st Round Grade

Khalil Mack spent the better part of September wrecking offenses highlighted by his dismantling of the Patriots in week three. His versatility and do all ability have been stupendous for the Raiders defense. He has been a dominant run defender and continues to create issues as a pass rusher. He looks like a truly special player despite a poor surrounding cast and Raiders fans should be excited about his play for years to come.

Sep 21, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden (38) gets up ended by Oakland Raiders line backer Khalil Mack (52) during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Lynch

San Francisco 49ers

75th Overall Player, 86th Edge Defender, 2nd Round Grade

As his snaps have increased over the first four games, the monster that everyone thought he would be after his freshmen year at Notre Dame is becoming more and more visible. His great blend of quickness, strength and size are coming together to form quite a player. His first three performances were decent considering a low snap count, but he blew up the Philadelphia game. He was a very disruptive force as a pass rusher despite playing less than 50% of the snaps. The 49ers would be smart to get him on the field more and they could be rewarded with great results.

Linebacker

Anthony Barr

Minnesota Vikings

94th Overall Player, 10th Linebacker, Early 3rd Round Grade

Anthony Barr is off to a decent start for the Vikings. He has done a good job flowing to the ball, using his speed to chase running plays down and using his burst to be a threat to rush the passer from anywhere along the front. Mike Zimmer has done a great job of moving him around and utilizing his speed. Barr is having issues in coverage and still has raw football instincts, but his physical tools are at work and he is playing well because of it.

Prince Shembo

Atlanta Falcons

Unranked

One of the biggest head scratchers of the draft was the Falcons drafting who I thought was a below average edge type of player to play inside linebacker. Alas, it looks like I have been proved wrong to this point. Shembo has done a good job at inside linebacker, looking natural coming downhill against the run and playing smart in coverage. Despite rarely doing so, Shembo is a very good blitzer as he has a good first step and good hands. It was an odd pick, but the Falcons may have found a gem in Shembo.

CJ Mosley 

Baltimore Ravens

3rd Overal Prospect, 1st Linebacker, 1st Round Grade

Mosley turned in his best performance of the season against the Panthers on Sunday to cap off an impressive first month in the NFL. He has turned into a stud run defender, using his smarts to fly all over the field and make plays at the line of scrimmage. Like in college, he continues too display a steady ability in the passing game, using quick feet and instincts to make plays. The game is getting slower and slower for him and in turn he is getting better and better. The Ravens got a steal when they took him and he already looks like one of the best linebackers in the game.

Sep 21, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Terrance West (28) is taken down by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (91) and Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (57) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback

Kyle Fuller

Chicago Bears

13th Overall Prospect, 2nd Corner, 1st Round Grade

Despite having a rough outing against Aaron Rodgers and the gang on Sunday, Kyle Fuller has been pretty fantastic the past month. His awesome coverage skills, ball skills and physicality have been on full display. He is allowing a Quarterback rating of 56.3 (Per Pro Football Focus) when he is targeted! He has had his slip ups but for most of the month he has been a force at corner. 

Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) intercepts a pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson (86) in the end zone during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Chicago Bears won 27-19. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Verrett

San Diego Chargers

10th Overall Prospect, 1st Corner, 1st Round Grade

Verrett’s first month in the NFL was hindered a bit by an injury, but a spectacular start and flashes over the following weeks earns him a spot here. Verrett’s smarts, physicality and ball skills are what made him such a good prospect and those traits translated very quickly to the field. When healthy, he looks like a natural in man coverage and does a good job in zone. Hopefully he can stay healthy for the rest of the season so he can showcase his ability and continue to improve the Chargers secondary.

Safety

Calvin Pryor

183rd Overall Player, 20th Overall Safety, 6th Round Grade

Pryor has done a good job for the Jets the closer he is to the line of scrimmage. He has done a very good job against the run despite  few missed tackles and he should continue to play well as a run defender. He leaves a lot to be desired in coverage though. He continues to display poor instincts and bad angles in coverage and has spent a good part of the past three weeks getting picked on and serving as a liability in deep coverage. He has the talent to be a good player there, but like in college, his poor instincts continue to hurt him and the defense.

Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) carries as New York Jets free safety Calvin Pryor (25) comes in for the stop during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Ha Ha Clinton Dix

Green Bay Packers

9th Overall Player, 1st Safety, 1st Round Grade

Dix is improving week by week in all facets of the game and that is encouraging. He has the size and ability to be a versatile stud at safety. He needs to do a better job as a tackler, but he has shown good instincts and closing speed in coverage. Packers got a steal in drafting Dix relatively late and could have a a damn good player.

Rookie Of the Month: Joel Bitonio

It was between Bitonio, Mack and Mosley for this recognition because they have all been tremendous but I have to give it to Bitonio. Bitonio is playing like one of the best offensive linemen in the league and because of that, he is keying the Browns interior running game along with center, Alex Mack. Bitonio is an impactful run defender with great feet, strength and a nasty mean streak. If he continues to play like this he should get Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He will not because he is a lineman, which is stupid, but his play warrants such recognition. It is a joy to watch him play.