Top 10 Rookie of the Year candidates entering Week 7
After four positive games in a row, it happened: Ronald Darby earned a negative grade. One bad game, however, doesn’t ruin a season. The question, instead, becomes whether this sub-standard performance costs Darby his top spot in our race for Rookie of the Year, or can the good will he’s built up over the first five weeks of the season keep him at the front of the pack?
Let’s find out, doing so using Pro Football Focus’ new 0-100 grades (free trial access available).
1. Ronald Darby, CB, Bills (87.2)
Darby is still the top dog; with the type of lead he’s built, one off game isn’t enough to dethrone him. He now needs to make sure it was just one bad day, rather than the start of something worse, if he wants to keep hold of the top spot.
2. Henry Anderson, DE, Colts (85.3)
It’s a really close race following Darby, but ultimately, the consistency of Anderson impresses us a little bit more than those behind him. He didn’t have his best game against New England, but he’s had quite a year otherwise.
3. Leonard Williams, DE, Jets (85.2)
Williams looks like he’s really hitting his stride, and with another effort like the one against either Washington or Miami, he could vault himself to the top spot.
4. Adrian Amos, S, Bears (81.6)
The uneventful Amos. You don’t often notice him, but that can be a godsend playing at a position where the last thing you want is to be in a highlight reel for another player. He has missed just three snaps all year.
5. Marcus Peters, CB, Chiefs (79.9)
Speaking of highlight reels, Peters is a walking one. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad. He’s been beaten for six touchdowns, but his three picks and 11 pass breakups are equally eye-popping.
6. Damarious Randall, CB, Packers (79.5)
Playing time has him behind Peters, but with six pass breakups of his own on over 100 fewer snaps, he’s certainly no slouch.
7. Jordan Hicks, LB, Eagles (79.3)
Monday brought another 10-tackle effort from the ever-active Hicks. The Eagles didn’t expect him to play as much as he has, but they have to be pleasantly surprised with how well he has fit in.
8. Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins (78.4)
Still impressing, but Crowder might be at the mercy of Kirk Cousins for the rest of the year. That doesn’t bode well for his chances of moving up.
9. Mitch Morse, C, Chiefs (78.2)
Of all the rookie linemen, Morse is the one who has adapted to the NFL the best. Some concerns in pass protection, but he has been a real asset for the Chiefs in the run game.
10. Preston Smith, OLB, Redskins (77.5)
Smith was quieter against the Jets than he was against Atlanta. With another effort like that, he won’t keep his spot in the top 10.
HB Thomas Rawls, Seahawks: Just not going to play enough with Marshawn Lynch back.
HB Karlos Williams, Bills: A concussion and LeSean McCoy form a one-two punch that really puts a halt on a strong start to life in the NFL.
QB Marcus Mariota, Titans: Mariota found the going tough against the Dolphins, and is now likely to miss time due to injury.
Five to watch
HB T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars: Get him back on the field, and he’s got a shot.
NT Eddie Goldman, Bears: We didn’t really see Goldman making a push for the top 10 on the strength of his pass rushing, but he’s been making some solid progress in that area.
QB Jameis Winston, Buccaneers: It all comes down to his return from the bye week.
TE Maxx Williams, Ravens: Playing time remains the one thing holding Williams back.
WR Amari Cooper, Raiders: Cooper often plays like the most talented wide receiver from the 2015 group, but can he use his week off to cut out the negative plays?