The Cardinals are letting their rookies get playing time this season, and that has given many valuable experience that can only help in the future. Paris Johnson at right tackle. Michael Wilson at wide receiver. Emari Demercado at running back. Kei'Trel Clark at cornerback and special teams. Even QB Clayton Tune scored his first NFL touchdown on Sunday.
But three rookies stood out against the Falcons, underscored when all three were among the top nine graded rookies for the week by Pro Football Focus -- including the top-rated rookie, second-round outside linebacker BJ Ojulari, who earned an 85.7 after his eight tackles and two sacks.
Defensive lineman Dante Stills, a sixth-round pick (who barely missed out on a sack of his own) was fourth at 80.8, while nickel corner Garrett Williams, from the third round, was ninth at 73.9.
Williams, like Kyler Murray, came into the season on the fly despite coming back from an ACL tear, and he has been solid in his role. Pro Football Reference lists Williams has being targeted only 12 times in four games, in which Williams has an interception, allowed six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown, and a passer rating of only 51.0. Williams gave up the TD against the Falcons when he got caught in the wash in the end zone and couldn't get to his man.
The Cardinals don't have a superstar rookie, per se. But these are the kind of first-year classes that quickly build a team.