The New Orleans Saints drafted five players in the 2022 NFL Draft and have gotten a good look at two of them and a small look at one. The other two have either been injured or spent the season on the practice squad. Undrafted rookies have also helped this team in one way or another in 2022.
With the bye week now over and the Saints returning to practice, let's take some time to grade the rookies who have played at least a handful of snaps.
Grading Saints 2022 rookies
Chris Olave - A
The team's first pick in the draft has been dominant and while his odds for Offensive Rookie of the Year have gone in the other direction, no one would be surprised if he ended up winning it. Through 12 games (he missed one with an injury), Olave has racked up 60 catches for 887 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 73.9 yards per game. How can Olave NOT deserve an A here?
Trevor Penning - C
I could use the cop-out answer and not grade Penning since he's only appeared in two games so far but I decided to give him an average grade of a C. He struggled mightily in limited action during his NFL debut against the 49ers but looked a little better in Tampa.
Penning's PFF run-blocking grade is worth mentioning too. It's not a sparkling grade by any means but for a rookie playing in just two games, a 55.8 isn't anything to scoff at. It could be much worse.
Alontae Taylor - A-
The second-round rookie out of Tennessee has seen an increase in playing time with Marshon Lattimore not playing since Week 5 and he's delivered. While his PFF grades aren't anything special (49.5 overall grade), Taylor has proven that he can be what this Saints secondary needs him to be. Yes, he's had some rookie moments but overall, he's been solid.
Rashid Shaheed - A
The most pleasant surprise this season has been the undrafted gem out of Weber State. His first-ever touchdown came on his first-ever NFL carry that went for 44 yards and a trip into the end zone. A few days later, against the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football, Shaheed had his first-ever NFL reception -- a 53-yard bomb from Andy Dalton -- that also went for a touchdown.
Since that time, Shaheed has continued to be a weapon for this up and down offense. He currently has 12 catches for 239 yards and three rushes for 50 yards with a touchdown in each category. Shaheed has also been a great addition on special teams, averaging 22.4 yards on kick returns and 12.4 yards on punt returns.
Lewis Kidd - D+
We didn't expect to see much from the Montana State rookie this year but he's played 69 snaps this year and has struggled whenever he's out there. The majority of his snaps have come at left guard where he's filled in for Andrus Peat or as an extra lineman but he's also spent a very brief amount of time at left tackle and right guard.
Kidd's a backup for a reason so this grade shouldn't come as a surprise.