The Cleveland Browns' rookie class might not have won a game, but players like DE Myles Garrett, S Jabrill Peppers and TE David Njoku along with QB DeShone Kizer and DTs Caleb Brantley and Larry Ogunjobi did little to indicate they can't play in the league. As this group grows, it should improve.
Grade: Above average.
Best rookie: Garrett started 11 games and finished with seven sacks. As the season went on, he played better. Against Chicago, he had an interception return for a touchdown negated by penalty. In the finale against Pittsburgh, he had a sack and a forced fumble. First overall picks are taken to provide those big plays. Garrett admitted he had much to learn about the NFL game, and as he continues to adjust, he figures to get better. He has shown no signs he was not worthy of the first overall pick.
Most improved rookie: Kizer struggled with turnovers so badly early in the season that he was benched for a game. After throwing 12 interceptions his first six starts, Kizer had 10 in his final nine games. His interception percentage at one point of the season was 6, but in the final nine games that percentage was 3.7. Kizer needs to grow, but he showed a lot by playing his heart out in the finale in Pittsburgh, in which he accounted for almost 400 yards passing and running. His overall numbers reflect rookie struggles, but his improvement warrants that he be among those competing to start in 2018.
Most disappointing rookie: None of the above. There really wasn't a rookie who disappointed with his play. There were inconsistencies, learning curves and injuries (most notably to OT Rod Johnson and CB Howard Wilson), but none of them showed they aren't capable of playing in the NFL.
Jury is still out on ...: Njoku. There were moments when Njoku seemed as if he'd be a regular force. But in the final four games he had only four receptions for 54 yards. Some of that was because Josh Gordon was back, and some of it the quarterback's decisions. But in the final two games especially, it seemed as if Njoku would be a valuable weapon on simple turnarounds that he could then turn into bigger gains. He did that against Pittsburgh, with a short catch he turned into a 34-yard gain. But that was the only time. The needle still points positive on Njoku, but he needs to be more consistent.
Undrafted rookie evaluation: S Kai Nacua had the biggest impact in this group, and the impact wasn't immense. Nacua started three games due to injury to Derrick Kindred, and had 11 tackles. The rest of the undrafted group did little to warrant notice.