The NFL's new 17-game regular season means statistical leaderboards are going to reach new heights in 2021 and beyond. More passing yards, more touchdowns, more sacks, more everything.
Though this will inevitably lead to record-breaking statistical showings by rookies, 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 No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence, which of the talented receivers in the class will have the most production and who will pace all rookies in sacks?
Let's take a look at the top five projected leaders among rookies in a variety of categories for the 2021 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, you can head over to our projections page to sort and filter through the entire league. I update them often leading up to the start of the season.