Maybe NFL teams are on to something. Whether it be dumb luck or the lockout meaning teams had a lot more time on their hands to evaluate talent, we’re in the incredible position of our top three spots being occupied by the top three picks.
Chalk that one up as a win for the scouts.
But it’s not just the Top 3 that are showing well. This has been a class that, by and large, has come in and hit the ground running. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first overall pick or an undrafted rookie free agent, the opportunity has been there to impress, and my have some impressed.
As is the formula, here’s our Top 10 in the race for rookie of the year.
1.  Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers, +26.5 (558 snaps)
After seven long weeks playing second fiddle, Cam Newton finally gets the accolade he’s been desperate to receive; No. 1 in my race for Rookie of the Year rankings. Our sixth-ranked QB deserves it, as he makes Carolina relevant again. More yards throwing balls deep than any other quarterback.
2.  Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos, +20.8 (415 snaps)
He didn’t do much wrong against Detroit, but nor was he in position to do much wrong. Those kind of performances are to be expected from our top ranked 4-3 OLB, but aren’t going to stop Cam Newton overtaking him.
3.  Marcell Dareus, DT, Buffalo Bills, +11.2 (326 snaps)
After a solid if unspectacular start to his days in the NFL, Dareus has exploded to life in his past two outings, where he seems to have stepped up his play to compensate for the loss of Kyle Williams. Destroyed Washington.
4.  Adrian Clayborn, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +9.4 (325 snaps)
A week off to rest, Clayborn knows how to put QBs under pressure. Will he be better for the bye?
5.  Jabaal Sheard, DE, Cleveland Browns, +9.0 (421 snaps)
It seems like such a long time ago Sheard was making a fool out of Marc Colombo. Has slowed down incredibly since.
6.  Tyron Smith, RT, Dallas Cowboys, +6.3 (476 snaps)
Unfortunately will have to deal with the Eagles again later on in the year, which doesn’t bode well given that he just gave up three sacks (after giving up two through the first six games).
7. [-] Jurrell Casey, DT, Tennessee Titans, +8.5 (279 snaps)
Mitigating circumstances? Casey was just going up against a group of individuals calling themselves the ‘Colts’ offensive line’. Still, you can only own the people put in front of you, and he did own them.
8.  Aldon Smith, OLB, San Francisco 49ers, +7.3 (232 snaps)
Drop off in production for Smith after the bye. Just the one sack this week. A fearsome pass rusher who the 49ers are bringing along nicely.
9.  Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals, +9.8 (446 snaps)
Loves to throw the ball to A.J. Green. Unfortunately defenses are starting to realize this, and the result are interceptions. When he’s not efficient, he’s not very good.
10.  Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Washington Redskins, +6.8 (466 snaps)
Three ‘meh’ performances in a row from Kerrigan now. Just holding onto his place in the Top 10.
Mike Pouncey, C, Miami Dolphins: During the Dolphins bye week I came very close to writing an article praising Pouncey. I’m glad I didn’t. He’s been horrible since coming back.
Five To Watch
Marcus Gilbert, RT, Pittsburgh Steelers: Remember when the Steelers were losing? Well now they’re not and the improved play of Gilbert is a big reason why.
J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans: Four defensive stops in the run game represent the best return of the season for Watt. Keeps him in a competitive hunt.
Chris Culliver, CB, San Francisco 49ers: There was a cornerback last year who only played in his teams sub package defense initially, and earned his way into the starting line up. Culliver may not be Joe Haden, but he’s played remarkably well when on the field.
Karl Klug, DT, Tennessee Titans: Klug has the kind of burst off the snap that will just beat some offensive linemen all day. It’s why the Colts had to bench Seth Olsen. A menace.
DeMarco Murray, HB, Dallas Cowboys: Need to see him get more carries, but the signs are definitely there.