Projecting the top NFL rookies in 10 stat areas: What to expect from Pickett, Hall, Gardner, others

  • Fantasy football, NFL analyst for ESPN.com
  • Member of Pro Football Writers of America
  • Founding director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy
  • 2013 FSTA award winner for most accurate preseason rankings

With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror, we now have a much better grasp of what every team’s roster core will look like this season. That makes now a good time to take a look at projections for 2022 rookies.

The recent move to a 17-game season will inevitably lead to higher production from rookies than we had seen before 2021, but we also need to keep in mind that first-year players tend to experience a learning curve. So who will stand out? Which newly drafted players will lead the pack in major statistical categories? How many yards should we expect to see from first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett? Which of the talented receivers in the class will have the most production, and who will pace all rookies in tackles?

Let’s take a look at the top-five projected leaders among rookies in a variety of categories for the 2022 season. These team and player projections are my own, compiled through a thorough process that is both quantitative (league, team, coaching and player trends) and qualitative (projected depth-chart placement and role). And for full statistical outlooks, head over to our projections page to sort and filter through the entire league. I update it often leading up to the start of the season.

Passing yards and touchdowns

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