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2021 GZL Rookie of the Year Tracker (So Far)
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

The 2021 season is in full swing and itís time to check in on our Rookie class to see who is contributing and who isnít. Some players look good on tape or in the weight room, but you canít really judge a young player until you see them in action. We are now halfway into the new campaign and there are already some rookies who are pulling away from the rest of the pack. So far some of the big first rounders havenít produced, while some performers have defied their draft position. Still with less than a third of the season left, a lot can change.

The big story so far of the rookie class is the success of two Top 10 picks, HB Derrick Henry and DE Shaq Lawson. Henry is on his way to eclipse 1700 yards rushing while Lawson is pacing out to a 16 sack rookie season. Henry started the season with 5 straight 100 games, though has cooled a bit over the course of the last three games. Still, heís been a workhorse and looks to be the odds on favorite for rookie of the year at this point. Lawson has at least 1 sack in his last 4 games and the sky is the limit for his talent. Throw in Carson Wentz who has his head above water in Minnesota and Rollo Salsbury, who leads all rookies with 3 interceptions, and itís been a good year for Top 10 players so far.

Absent is DE Purifoy Bolden who has a respectable 3 sacks, but hasnít had the impact the Cowboys expected. OT Ronnie Staley went fourth overall and leads all rookies in pancakes, but also has given up a few sacks. Not that heís not had a good solid first season, but just beyond the Top 10 so far. Michael Thomas, the 5th pick overall in Houston has had a respectable start, but is only on pace for 800 yards and 2 TDs. If he wants to make this list he needs to pick up his game.

Here are the Rookie of the Year Candidates:

1. Derrick Henry, HB, CIN (884 yds, 5.0, 4 TDs) Previous Rank: Drafted 1.4
2. Shaq Lawson, DE, CAR (25 tak, 3 TFL, 8 sacks) Previoius Rank: Drafted 1.10
3. Royce Felton, HB, STL (894 yds, 4.3 avg, 4 TDs) Previous Rank: Drafted 2.14
4. Carson Wentz, QB, MIN (1971 yds, 54.3%, 10 TDs, 8 INTs) Previous Rank: Drafted 1.2
5. Hunter Henry, TE, NYJ (508 yds, 13.7 yds, 6 TDs) Previous Rank: Drafted 2.8
6. Noah Spence, DE, BUF (27 tak, 5 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 INT) Previous Rank: 1.25
7. Keyvan McGree, OLB, SD (41 tak, 1 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 INT) Previous Rank: 1.27
8. Quinton Smith, WR, WAS (642 yds, 15.3 avg, 2 TDs) Previous Rank: Drafted 2.13
9. Rollo Salsbury, CB, ATL (42 tak, 1 TFL, 3 INT) Previous Rank: Drafted 1.1
10. Will Fuller, WR, SF (560 yds, 14.7 avg, 2 TDs) Previous Rank: Drafted 1.24


Also Receiving Consideration:
OLB Jaylon Smith, HB Napoleon Kerr, OT Shon Coleman, OG Rich Jacques, K Roberto Aguayo, WR Josh Doctson, MLB DeShaun Kennedy, OT Ronnie Staley

Dropping out of the Top 10: NA
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