Top 10 Rookie of the Year candidates entering Week 12

T.J. Yeldon jumps to No. 5 as Khaled Elsayed gives the top 10 prospects for this season's Rookie of the Year award.

| 11 months ago
T.J. Yeldon

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Top 10 Rookie of the Year candidates entering Week 12

With Thanksgiving approaching, there’s a lot to be thankful for, not least of which is the new crop of NFL stars who have brought their talents to the field this season. Those rookies have, in some cases, had a huge impact on their teams. But who has performed the best? It’s time to see if Ronald Darby played well enough in the Bills’ defeat to hold off the challengers.

1. Ronald Darby, CB, Bills (89.5)

It’s going to take an almighty effort to dislodge Darby from the top spot, the way that he is playing. A real win for the Bills’ scouting department.

2. Leonard Williams, DE, Jets (83.7)

Williams didn’t have a great game against the Texans, despite three QB hits. It is encouraging just how much he is playing, though, and he is already a big part of the Jets’ defense.

3. Mitch Morse, C, Chiefs (80.8)

Morse played well against the Chargers, and he’s moved up in the race because of it. A big drop off in his play would have to happen for him to lose his spot as top rookie offensive lineman.

4. Damarious Randall, CB, Packers (79.6)

Is he starting to get found out? Not his best game against Minnesota, but his early season work keeps him in the running.

5. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars (80.5)

Slow and steady can win the race. Yeldon didn’t jump ahead of the man behind him, so much as let the other guy fumble his way down the list.

6. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams (79.5)

After those four back-to-back 100-yard games comes the wall. Gurley has struggled in recent weeks, with his last two being particularly poor. He’s only forced one more missed tackle than he has fumbles over that period.

7. Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings (84.4)

Things are starting to quiet down for Diggs, who had a solid, but unspectacular, showing against Green Bay.

8. Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins (79.5)

Crowder did next to nothing against Carolina, and the return of DeSean Jackson may spell the end of his hopes for making an impact in this race.

9. Markus Golden, LB, Cardinals (78.5)

Golden made a splash on Sunday Night Football, with a strip sack as his playing time increased. He has really added something to a strong Cardinals’ defense.

10. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders (75.1)

It’s frustrating to find him so low, because if you just accounted for the good things the rookie did, he might be the top guy. But we can’t ignore two dropped passes that take him up to 10 on the year.

Dropping out

Karlos Williams, HB, Bills: Williams just isn’t playing enough to make an impression.
Adrian Amos, S, Bears: Amos is a victim of the success of others.

Five to watch

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: It’s starting to come together for Mariota, who is looking less like a rookie each week.
Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: If he plays like he did in Week 11 through the end of the season, he could make a run at winning this race. Consistency is the key.
Thomas Rawls, HB, Seahawks: Rawls gets his chance, with Marshawn Lynch out for a number of weeks.
Mario Edwards, DE, Raiders: Edwards changed roles this week, but didn’t let up on how productive he’s been.
Arik Armstead, DE, 49ers: Armstead is looking like less of a project and more of a guy worthy of playing time.

  • Dallas1976

    Still can’t believe Marcus Peters isn’t on the list. That dude seems to always make big plays.

    • Steven

      It’s because he’s not consistent. Yes, he will make a great play but then have just average moments for the rest of games.

    • Brandon

      I agree. He was only targeted once at San Diego

    • shaunhan murray

      He makes some big plays but he also makes alot of bad ones

      • Dallas1976

        I have seen all the KC games, and I can count on one hand the number of ‘bad’ plays I have seen from him.

        • shaunhan murray

          U must have alot of fingers on yer one hand….

  • Fever

    I love what you do at PFF. Very good information. BUT C’MON GUYS!!! Take a step back from the film room for a moment and look at the big picture: Jameis Winston is the ROY. You can’t compare a rookie CB and a rookie QB on the same basis.

    • crashby89

      There is an OROY and DROY award. Think Winston is still slightly behind Gurley and Cooper but that gap is very small now.

      • Fever

        ROY on this list.

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  • NAJ

    Why is Yeldon below Randall and why is Diggs not 2nd with the 2nd highest grade? Does the fact he’s played less games count against him??

    • shaunhan murray


    • Jefferson

      One could also ask why is Rawls behind either Yeldon or Gurley? In the grades I’m looking at, Rawls is #9 RB overall and #5 in run grade, well above both the other two rookie. More yards/carry than either; more yards than Yeldon though less than Gurley (who has 50% more attempts); and better elusive rating and breakaway% than the other two.