Which first-round rookies had the highest grades in 2020?

2020 NFL rookie grades

The 2020 rookie class was an impressive collection of high-end skill players and quality defensive standouts, but it wasn’t without its underwhelming performers, too.

Detroit Lions first-round pick Jeff Okudah is an example of highly-graded prospects who failed to deliver in Year 1. He finished his first season with a putrid 48.1 grade from Pro Football Focus and was one of the worst first-round rookies in the league in 2020. Only Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen and Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette graded worse.

But this is a post about the league’s best first-rounders from this season. Here are the five highest-graded first-round rookies, as evaluated by Pro Football Focus, in 2020:

Justin Jefferson (WR, Minnesota Vikings)
2020 pick: 1.22
PFF grade: 90.4

Notes: Jefferson set an NFL record for the most receiving yards by a rookie with 1,400 and instantly became one of the league’s best playmakers. While some box-score numbers are deceptive, Jefferson’s 1,400 yards were legit. He’s a superstar and will go down as a massive steal from 2020’s first round.

Chase Young
Chase Young (Edge, Washington Football Team)
2020 pick: 1.02
PFF grade: 87.2

Notes: Young is everything the scouting community thought he’d be, even though it took him a little while to get going during his rookie season. Young finished 2020 with 7.5 sacks, including three over his final four games. Washington hit a home run with Young, who will soon be viewed as the most devastating game-wrecker in the NFL.

Tristan Wirfs (OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
2020 pick: 1.13
PFF grade: 82.2

Notes: Wirfs was far and away the best rookie offensive lineman in 2020. He played a critical part in Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offensive success after allowing just one sack all season.

2021 NFL coaching vacancies
Justin Herbert (QB, Los Angeles Chargers)
2020 pick: 1.06
PFF Grade: 80.1

Notes: Herbert is the most impressive rookie quarterback to come around in a long time. His stats are proof of that: he set an NFL record for the most completions and touchdown passes by a first-year passer. The better news for Chargers fans is that Herbert led Los Angeles on a four-game winning streak to end the season. He’s a true franchise quarterback who has a lot of playoff victories in his future.

Brandon Aiyuk (WR, San Francisco 49ers)
2020 pick: 1.25
PFF grade: 80.1

Notes: Aiyuk is a bit of a surprise on this list considering the 49ers offense wasn’t very effective in 2020. Still, he made the most of his opportunities and finished the year with 60 catches for 748 yards and five touchdowns. He added two more touchdowns on the ground. Beyond the stats, Aiyuk looked the part of a hold-your-breath playmaker every time he touched the ball. He will combine with Deebo Samuel to give San Francisco a dynamic duo for many years to come.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on The Draft Network, NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

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