Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 10
With Sheldon Richardson on a bye could he hold onto his place?
In a word, yes. His nearest rival, Star Lotulelei didn’t impose himself on the 49ers or on the Race for Rookie of the year, but that’s not to say Richardson would have found things easy viewing. Nope, as the Class of 2013 get more experience under their belt many of them are starting to look at home in the NFL. Of course we’re getting to a stage of the year where that once infamous rookie wall is visible, so will that play a part?
For now let’s update the rankings.
1. Sheldon Richardson, DE, Jets: +14.6
Had the week off and was able to watch his nearest rival put forth his worst game since the early weeks of the season. The downside is everyone else closed the gap between themselves and our eighth-ranked 3-4 defensive end.
2. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: +13.0
After the highs of Thursday Night Football came the relative low of a second overtime defeat on the bounce, this time to the Ravens. His 14 carries didn’t yield anywhere near the same excitement.
3. Star Lotulelei, DT, Panthers: +10.1
The 49ers ensured Lotulelei couldn’t have anywhere near the impression he would have hoped. They got bodies on him and won the one-on-one battles when required.
4. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Bills: +6.9
Only Daryl Smith has a higher coverage grade than Alonso, who continues to show the kind of top-notch instincts that separate him from most rookie linebackers.
5. Marcus Cooper, CB, Chiefs: +10.0
When the Chiefs meet the Broncos we’ll have a better idea as to whether Cooper is the real deal. He can expect to see a lot of Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker.
6. Larry Warford, RG, Lions: +9.0
Part of the Lions successful revamp of their offensive line. Warford has adapted to the NFL with relative ease that bodes extremely well for his future.
7. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: +9.3
Struggled to get much going with 61 of his 70 yards after contact, highlighting what kind of treatment he can expect with opposing defenses keying in on him. Still a valiant effort from a player who clearly adds a new dimension to the offense.
8. Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Cardinals: +9.1
A polarizing figure during the offseason, a productive player come kickoff. He mans the slot like a natural and has worked himself into the starting lineup at safety. The gap between him and a spot in the Top 3 is small. Very small.
9. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: +8.6
We’ve come to expect more than the 41 yards he picked up against the Broncos. A top talent nonetheless.
10. Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins: +9.7
He’s coming on strong, especially after showing some of his blocking chops against the Vikings. A mismatch that has proven extremely able when it comes to doing damage over the middle of the field.
Eric Reid, S, 49ers: Knocked out of the game versus the Panthers, he falls more through the brilliance of others.
Five to Watch
Travis Frederick, C, Cowboys: Didn’t lose face in the Cowboys defeat. But has to do more if he wants to make a move.
Zac Stacy, RB, Rams: This was his chance to jump into the race but he remains on the outside after his most plodding display to date.
Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals: Is extremely productive, but 11 carries a game makes it hard to pierce a Top 10 that is extremely competitive.
Michael Bowie, RT, Seahawks: While rookie tackles are struggling all over the league Bowie has settled in nicely. He’s not perfect but he doesn’t look out of place.
Sio Moore, LB, Raiders: Has made his share of plays even if the fans might like to see a few more tackles against the run.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled