Top 10 Rookie of the Year candidates entering Week 8
There are two schools of thought when considering the top NFL rookies entering Week 8. One is that the opposition’s coaches are learning more about them, and are eager to expose their weaknesses. The other is that, with six or seven games of NFL action under their belt, they’re starting to get acclimatized to life in the pros.
The truth is, for some it will be the former, and others the latter. So, the real question is, which players are rising in our race for Rookie of the Year, and which ones are finding the pace a little too hot to handle?
Let’s find out.
1. Ronald Darby, CB, Bills (90.6)
Remaining at the front, Darby flew across the Atlantic and brought his brilliance to Britain, with another excellent effort. It shouldn’t be this easy for college corners to adjust to the NFL.
2. Leonard Williams, DE, Jets (84.8)
Not as impactful against the Patriots as he had been previously, but Williams still managed to add three more quarterback disruptions to give him 26 on the year.
3. Henry Anderson, DE, Colts (84.2)
Anderson had some problems with the Saints’ run blocking. However, he again showed that he will contribute as a pass rusher, with two hits and one more hurry.
4. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars (81.7)
Yeldon is quickly becoming the face of the Jaguars’ offense, with his ability to turn a little room into something far more. He had his best rushing performance to date this past week.
5. Adrian Amos, S, Bears (81.6)
Amos dropped down on the list, though through no fault of his own. Amos was on a bye this week, and that allowed Yeldon to leapfrog him.
6. Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins (80.2)
Crowder caught a fantastic 80 percent of balls thrown his way, and really added a spark to the Redskins’ offense.
7. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders (79.8)
Speaking of adding a spark: Cooper hasn’t had the most even start to the year, but his destruction of San Diego felt like a real breakout performance. He has the potential to jump a lot of people on this list if he can continue to play like he did against the Chargers.
8. Damarious Randall, CB, Packers (79.5)
Like Amos, Randall had to sit by and watch others in his bye week.
9. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams (78.0)
Volume. That’s the only reason Gurley isn’t higher, but if he stays healthy, it won’t be long before he’s challenging the top five.
10. Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers (61.4)
Two horrible performances scar the NFL start of Winston, but what’s remarkable is how good he has been outside of that, and how little it’s gone noticed. He’s oozing star potential.
Marcus Peters, CB, Chiefs: Peters wasn’t on top of his game this week, allowing 125 yards into his coverage.
Jordan Hicks, LB, Eagles: Hicks was a victim of the Panthers’ strong offensive line, with his worst effort in the pros.
Mitch Morse, C, Chiefs: It’s his slightly below-average pass protection that knocks him off the top 10 for the first time this year.
Preston Smith, OLB, Redskins: Smith received more playing time this week—and promptly had some struggles against the run.
Five to watch
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings: The Vikings’ exciting playmaker has delivered the goods the past two weeks, but can he keep it up?
Rob Havenstein, RT, Rams: Second flawless game in pass protection this week highlights how the Rams right tackle is coming along.
Tre Jackson, G, Patriots: After a tough start, Jackson has now graded positively in four straight games.
Vic Beasley, DE, Falcons: Beasley has been quiet the past few weeks, but the defensive end might enjoy his matchup with the Buccaneers’ tackles more than he enjoyed facing off with Taylor Lewan.
Markus Golden, OLB, Cardinals: Golden isn’t as explosive as Shane Ray, but is arguably a more well-rounded player.