Rookies mature at different rates in the NFL. 

Some find instant success, while others need more time to adjust to the professional environment. In certain cases, those first-round investments never pan out and their respective organization experiences a setback because of a poor draft-day decision.  

The Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson didn't become a full-time starter, let alone an MVP-caliber player, until his second season. On the other hand, Justin Herbert made an immediate splash with the Los Angeles Chargers by setting the rookie record with 31 touchdown passes. Then, there's the Las Vegas Raiders, who released 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette on Monday because of poor play and an even worse attitude. 

Halfway through these players' first seasons, signs could point to which direction every team's first-round selection is trending, though they're far from finished products. 

Assigned grades only account for the individual's performance to this point in the campaign and how much they've showed to date. Where each goes from here will help determine their career paths. But this is where each sits right now. 

1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

During Trevor Lawrence's final year on campus, the quarterback went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 overall prospect and projected top selection. He landed with the 1-15 Jacksonville Jaguars. 

To the team's credit, it already topped last year's win total, though it's still not very good. Situation matters. In Lawrence's case, flashes of what made him the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck are readily apparent. At the same time, he's also suffered some from a poor surrounding cast. 

Lawrence ranks third among rookies and 33rd overall with a 61.5 passing grade according to Pro Football Focus' Ian Hartitz. He's also thrown the fourth-most interceptions with nine. But he's displayed better decision-making in recent weeks. 

With better playmakers and protection to go along with his natural growth, Lawrence still has the potential to grow into a franchise signal-caller and find himself counted among the league's elite. 

Grade: C

2. QB Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Whenever a team invests the second overall pick in a quarterback only to see him suffer an injury and have a former undrafted free agent step into the lineup and create as much excitement with his play, some worry bubbles to the surface. 

Even so, Zach Wilson's natural arm talent is unmistakable. The 22-year-old looked overwhelmed to start his career but he'll get a chance to take a step back and absorb the game without being forced to a lead an offense as he deals with a balky knee. 

The Jets would be smart to slow-play Wilson's current situation and make sure he's 100 percent before reinserting him into the lineup. 

"If he's fully healthy, for sure," head coach Robert Saleh told reporters when asked if Wilson will play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. "But we'll see how he is. ... We're not in any hurry to rush him back."

Grade: D+

3. QB Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

What are the San Francisco 49ers doing at their quarterback position? Seriously. The team is 3-5. Obviously, veteran Jimmy Garoppolo isn't giving them a better chance to win. Yet, head coach Kyle Shanahan seemingly doesn't want to play this year's third overall pick, Trey Lance. 

"I thought Jimmy was alright," Shanahan told reporters when asked directly if Lance would start Monday against the Los Angeles Rams. "I thought that pick at the end, those last couple of plays were some bad plays right there, on that last drive when the game was out of hand. But Jimmy was alright."

The 49ers traded up in the first round to select Lance. Whether he was actually Shanahan's guy or not is inconsequential. Lance is the future of the 49ers organization, and Garoppolo just being "alright" isn't enough.

The transition should have happened sooner, but everyone is still waiting. 

Grade: F

4. TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts is a unicorn. The Atlanta Falcons made him the highest selected tight end ever with this year's fourth overall selection. He hasn't disappointed. 

The first-year target leads the Falcons with 546 receiving yards. He's second among all rookies in receiving yardage. Pitts is also well on his way to breaking the NFL rookie receiving record by a tight end if he continues on his current pace. 

The Falcons traded away Julio Jones earlier this year knowing they had another instant mismatch in Pitts. Atlanta's coaching staff is taking advantage of the situation by playing him out wide or in the slot nearly 75 percent of the time, according to Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner. 

Defenses don't really have an answer for a 6'6" tight end who glides about the field and adjusts to the football better than most wide receivers. 

Grade: A

5. WR Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Ja'Marr Chase's overall pace has been slowed over the last two weeks, but no one can deny how special he's been from the onset of his career. 

"There's so much confidence there," head coach Zac Taylor said of the rookie wide receiver and his connection to quarterback Joe Burrow, per The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr. "And it's not just false confidence and bravado of, 'I'm talented so I go out there and make plays.' They’re putting in the work behind the scenes."

The results have been spectacular. Chase ranks third in the league with 835 receiving yards and tied for fourth with seven touchdown catches. Technically, he's still on pace to break Justin Jefferson's rookie receiving record, though he's managed only 81 yards during the Bengals' current two-game losing streak. 

Overall, the Bengals had a choice with this year's fifth overall pick. They went with Chase and he's been everything the team hoped he would be. Cincinnati can address its offensive line in next year's first round. 

Grade: A

6. WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

Jaylen Waddle will be constantly compared to Ja'Marr Chase, who went one pick ahead of him, and former Alabama teammate DeVonta Smith, who the Philadelphia Eagles eventually acquired after swapping first-round picks with the Miami Dolphins. 

While those comparisons may be considered unfair, Waddle has performed relatively well overall. He leads the Dolphins receivers with 56 catches and three touchdowns. He also leads all rookies with 31 first-round receptions, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Waddle benefits from manufactured touches. The Dolphins' coaching staff could definitely open up the offense a little more to take advantage of Waddle's dynamic downfield capabilities. Even so, he's a weapon in an offense that's not performing well as a unit. 

Chase and Waddle have been better. But Waddle hasn't been a disappointment despite the circumstances around his selection. 

Grade: B

7. OT Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions

An injury may have prevented the Detroit Lions from making a significant mistake. Though the team's coaching staff doesn't seem to realize the potential blunder. 

When the Lions drafted Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick, they decided to move him from left to right tackle. The then-20-year-old looked out of sorts playing on the opposite side of the formation. 

But Taylor Decker suffered a finger injury that required surgery. Sewell moved back to left tackle and appeared far more comfortable. He's been inconsistent with multiple sacks surrendered, though he's played as well or better than any rookie tackle not named Samuel Cosmi or Rashawn Slater. 

With Decker set to return in the near future, the Lions are still considering Sewell at right tackle instead of moving the veteran. 

"Look, he's a damn good athlete. And a professional. He'll be fine," head coach Dan Campbell told reporters. 

Sewell's rookie campaign could turn quickly based on what happens next. 

Grade: B-

8. CB Jaycee Horn, Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers' Jaycee Horn looked impressive to start the season. Unfortunately, he broke three bones in his foot during a Week 3 contest against the Houston Texans. 

"I think Jaycee Horn is a warrior," head coach Matt Rhule said of the first-round cornerback. "I think he's tough; I think he's everything that's right about young people, everything that's right about football.

Horn remains on injured reserve and isn't guaranteed to return before the end of the 2021 campaign. 

The sample size is small but promising. Once Horn is back on the field—whether it's this season or next—everyone can get a better feel for the type of player he'll become. Right now, a limited viewing points toward an aggressive and talented cover corner. We'll know more once he's back in the lineup. 

Grade: C

9. CB Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos

Cornerback is difficult enough to play in a pass-first league slanted towards the offense. It's even harder when you're a rookie thrust into the starting lineup. Yet Patrick Surtain II has thrived. 

Sure, he's had his share of moments when he could be better either against the run or proper positioning in coverage. At the same time, Surtain allowed 40 or fewer yards in seven of his first eight professional games, per Pro Football Focus. 

"I've been really impressed," Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said of Surtain. "He's a pro. He keeps getting better every week. I think he's going to be one of the better corners in the league. ... Needed to tackle better in a few games... He just keeps getting better, keeps getting more confident." 

Unfortunately, the rookie defensive back sprained his knee in the Week 9 contest against the Dallas Cowboys, and the corner is expected to miss a few weeks, per ESPN's Jeff Legwold. 

Grade: B