Hard to believe the season is almost over! We’ve been through more than three quarters of the season and the Rookie of the Year race has really shaped up. It’s been about 7 weeks since we last checked in and much has changed in the top candidates, though a lot has stayed the same.
Interesting to note the battles that have emerged for the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year slots. On the defensive side of the ball, based on how fast Shawn Oakman started, it’s hard to imagine anyone but him winning the award. The Buffalo rookie notched 8 sacks in his first 4 games, an incredible achievement. Since then, however, Oakman’s pace has slowed. Over his next 6 games Oakman managed just 1 sack. The rookie seems back on track as he’s recorded a sack in each of his last 2 games. Still, Charger rookie Collin Kilpatrick has managed to close the gap with a steady performance so far. He’s got only 2 fewer sacks, but also has more tackles for loss, has forced 3 fumbles, recovered 2, and even scored 2 TDs. So the last few games will determine this tightening race.
Offensively, it appears to be a 3 man race between Dallas’ Melvin Gordon, rookie WR Odell Beckham, and Top 5 pick Todd Gurley. Gurley has more yards than Gordon, but Gordon has more TDs and better average. However, Gurley has found his groove, recording 3 100+ games in the last 5, including a 200 yard effort against the Cowboys. The darkhorse may be Odell Beckham, who may not have the size of the prototypical receiver, but has everything else. His 900+ yards and 9 TDs indicate what a playmaker he is.
Also worth noting how the Top 3 overall picks are not on the Top 10 list or even in consideration. First overall pick Trae Waynes has shown flashes, but his 38 catches allowed is 2nd worst amongst the rookie class and 6th worst in the league. HB Jeremy Hill went 2nd overall to the Eagles, and while he has been productive, he’s yet to notch a 100 yard game or find the endzone. Former DT and current Patriot DE Leonard Williams has a respectable 4 sacks on the season, considerably less than Oakman and Kilpatrick.
Please note that even if a team loses, I don't hold that against a player who has made exceptional efforts on the field. Lastly, this is meant for entertainment purposes only, so let's keep it civil, and if you don't like it, you are always welcome to make your own list.
Here are the candidates for Rookie of the Year:
1. DE Shawn Oakman, BUF (39 tak, 3 TFL, 11 sacks, 2 FF) Previous Rank: 1st
2. HB Melvin Gordon, DAL (1065 yds, 5.1 ypc, 7 TDs) Previous Rank: 2nd
3. DE Collin Kilpatrick, SD (29 tak, 7 TFL, 9 sacks, 3 FF, 2 FR, 2 TD) Previous Rank: 3rd
4. WR Odell Beckham, Jr, STL (958 yds, 18.8 avg, 9 TD) Previous Rank: 8th
5. HB Todd Gurley, TB (1099 yds, 4.1 ypc, 5 TDs) Previous Rank: 4th
6. OT Bonaventure Royer, NO (67 pancakes, 2 sacks) Previous Rank: NR
7. QB Nick Foles, MIN (48.8%, 1298 yds, 9 TD, 6 int, 77.5 rating) Previous Rank: NR
8. OT Brandon Scherff, DET (54 pancakes, 1 sacks) Previous Rank: 7th
9. OLB Shane Ray, BAL (52 tak, 14 tfl, 1 sack) Previous Rank: NR
10. FS Cleveland Orr, TEN (11 tak, 1 sack, 2 INT) Previous Rank: 10th
Dropped Out of the Top 10: WR Amari Cooper, WR DeVante Parker,OLB Randy Gregory
Others receiving consideration: WR DeMarco Mann, FS Landon Collins, OT Ja’Wuan James, OT Thomas Donahue, MLB Galen Farris, KR Joshua Michaels, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Xavier Young