Top 10 Rookie of the Year candidates entering Week 15

Bears S Adrian Amos sits at No. 6 on our list of top Rookie of the Year candidates through 14 weeks.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Gary Landers)

(AP Photo/Gary Landers)

Top 10 Rookie of the Year candidates entering Week 15

After a week’s break, we return with the race for Rookie of the Year entering the final stretch. There are just three games left for our competitors to make an impression, so let’s see who is leading the way so far.

1. Ronald Darby, CB, Bills (90.2 overall grade)

A PFF Pro Bowl CB, Darby climbed the rookie wall with a strong effort against Philadelphia that saw him post his joint best grade of the year. He’s been a revelation this year, and it’s nice to see him finishing the season strong.

2. Leonard Williams, DE, Jets (86.7)

Williams is on a hot streak right now, with three positively-graded games. He was better rushing the passer against the Titans than he had been previously this season, but his work in the run game remains his standout skill.

3. Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers (74.8)

As good as he was against Atlanta, Winston couldn’t quite replicate that against the Saints a week later. Nonetheless, the former Florida State Seminole has turned a corner from inconsistent rookie to a guy defenses should be scared of. It’s been the rookie year Bucs’ fans must have hoped for.

4. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams (81.7)

Gurley isn’t the every-down back (like Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon), which will always hurt your grade, but his home run ability makes him one of the true difference-makers in this draft class.

5. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars (83.0)

Yeldon can be really happy with his efforts and what he’s brought to the Jaguars’ offense. He might not deliver explosive play, but he often gains more than his line gives him.

6. Adrian Amos, S, Bears (81.3)

For Chicago Bears fans, seeing solid play at the safety spot represents a huge improvement on recent years. Amos has looked anything but a fifth-round pick, with a string of impressive efforts.

7. Mitch Morse, C, Chiefs (81.1)

A solid rookie year is ending as it started for Morse: good work in the run game, with some limitations in pass protection.

8. Mario Edwards, Jr., DE, Raiders (81.2)

No rookie has played as well as Edwards the past six weeks. He has delivered excellent play wherever the Raiders have lined him up, with his ability to contribute in every phase of the game adding to the Oakland defense in a big way.

9. Damarious Randall, CB, Packers (77.4)

Randall was better against Dallas, but there’s no denying he has been exposed a little in the last month. It’s still been a hugely encouraging rookie year for the Packers’ first-round pick, though.

10. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders (74.7)

Cooper has now dropped 14 passes as a pro—that’s an element of his game he really needs to correct if he’s to be a top NFL receiver.


Five to watch

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: One step forward, another back. Mariota had a hard time against the Jets.

Arik Armstead, DE, 49ers: Playing time remains his Achilles heel, despite continuing to make an impact.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: Lockett is a playmaker who is proving to be more than just a special teamer.

Rob Havenstein, RT, Rams: Havenstein looks like he’s been on an NFL field for more years than his rookie status would suggest.

Grady Jarrett, DT, Falcons: More playing time is giving Jarrett a chance to show how disruptive he can be against the run.

  • Bob

    I feel like Mario Edwards should be a bit higher, but eh.

    • Malachi

      he wasn’t playing much earlier in the season, had he been starting all year i’m sure he would be higher up

  • Dr__P

    It is hard to compare the stats of players ACROSS positions. In fact the OLD PFF traditional stats made the comment NOT TO DO SO as they were normed [read curved] differently.

    Then the old stats had a major issue as the rankings were based on the sum of the individual games scores. If a player played in fewer games, he was at a competitive disadvantage.

    With the new even more OPAQUE scores – who knows what is going on.

    Yet consider Byron Jones a CB/safety with 80.4 ranked right after AMOS at safety. Yet some weeks he is ranked as a CB as he plays multiple positions.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Hybrid position players are definitely at a disadvantage as are players whose specialty is excelling on special teams like Devon Hester use to do.

    • osoviejo

      “With the new even more OPAQUE scores – who knows what is going on.”

      I find it hilarious that they expect anyone to actually pay money for their rankings, especially considering that they can’t put together a top-10 list just using those rankings–they always have to be “adjusted” for this, that, and the other.

      So then, what’s the point of these expensive, inscrutable rankings again?

      • Dr__P

        The standard stats and signature stats had issues but were transparent in methodology. One could make the adjustments for such issues as multiple positions. One thing about the standard stats is that you could track IMPROVEMENT in a player over time, game by game and by season over season.

        The signature stats were based on the season’s results instead of the game scores. They were, in essence, more efficiency related instead of summary in nature. Thus the issue of fewer games did not come into play.

        One can hope that these new system is just a way to get folks to forget the standard stats and the signature stats become the new standard.

        Yet why is anyone even reading articles on this site if you do not care for their work?

        • osoviejo

          I don’t care to -pay- for their (new) work. There’s a difference.

          This wasn’t the case until this season. They’ve been collecting $60 a year from me since they’ve been in business. That’s over.

        • crosseyedlemon

          Q. Yet why is anyone even reading articles on this site if you do not care for their work?
          A. Well, you have to do something online that convinces the wife that your too busy to help with the laundry.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I think an offensive lineman would have to be able to walk on water to win the award but its nice to see Norse at least getting some recognition.

    • larry mckinney

      Yep, Morse.

  • Jarad

    Has Marcus Peters Fallin off that much? I’d think the big plays he’s made would make up for the ones he’s given up. He’s also up towards the top in pd. Just curious.

    • Malachi

      feast or famine, 5 picks sure, but he’s allowed even more TDs (7 i last recall). the 19 PBUs are crazy, for sure, he’s a future superstar

    • Adrian Hupp

      Peters has, 5 picks 1td with plenty of PD passes this can’t be right

      • Neal

        7 tds but most targeted cb in nfl….am I right?

  • Tim

    Adrian Amos over Jaquiski Tartt?

    What a freaking joke.

    • Glaine Babbert

      Like the 49ers

    • Bill Doerr

      I thought u were a Bears fan Obama

      • crosseyedlemon

        Never believe anything a politician says. Obama goes to every city saying he’s a fan of their team. Hillary Clinton probably knows more about football than him anyway.

    • Dr__P

      Whatever you like about Tarrt has not shown up in the PFF stats and ranking.

  • derek lundeen

    Amos was a great value pick. Kevin White on the other hand.. I guess we will find out next year.

    • GiveNoFuq

      That’s sucks to. Hopefully he learned something this year, so he’s not a complete rookie in terms of hitting the field.

  • AKjester

    Rawls’ injury makes him not one to watch for this award, but in 5 years I think he will easily hold a top 5 spot on the list. Pretty good for a guy who went undrafted.

  • James Winslow

    Yeah I would take Gurely over Yeldon any day of the week.

  • Bill Doerr

    I don’t know how you don’t even honorable mention rookie RB David Johnson, who has more TDs than Gurley or Yeldon. Johnson is the first rookie RB since GALE SAYERS to have 4 rushing TDs, 4 receiving TDs , and 1 kick return TD.
    At 6″2/224 pounds he has Elite power, Elite speed for his size running a 4.45 40 , via NFL Next Gen stats he is tied as the 2nd fastest player clocked in the NFL this season at 22.4 MPH, Teammate John Brown is 1st. Johnson also has Elite Athleticism , posting a 43in vertical leap at the combine.
    He has been playing as a rotational guy, but recently took over as starter & has absolutely shined. He has 100+ yards rushing in each of the last 2 games, dudes a beast. Johnson has had over 120+ yards from scrimmage in each of the last 2 games as well. Johnson’s skill set is extremely similar to that off Matt Forte, Johnson is a more powerful version of Forte. Johnson also doubles as Elite receiver & route runner , he was an excellent pick . To me the 2nd best RB pick behind Gurley right now . Johnson is AVG 4.5 YDs Per Carry with 330 rushing yards , playing at a much higher level than CJ2k was , and has 26 receptions for 300 yards with 8 combined TDs , and 9 total TDs. Scouts said leading up to the draft that Johnson with his Elite size, Elite Speed , Power & Athleticism that if he had came out of a Bigger D1 program like Ohio ST or USC for example, he would of been a 1st round pick but due to coming out of Northern Iowa would likely be a 3rd round pick , where AZ drafted him and hit a home run on that pick , getting a 1st round talent guy in round 3 who has a future as an Elite RB ahead of him , the kid has it all.

    • Robert Valliere

      I was with you until “elite receiver”. Dude, I know you’re excited about him, but you’re way over the top. Take it down a notch and realize your guy needs some more games to be in the same league as the every game rookies.

      • crosseyedlemon

        I would also add that investing in a thesaurus might not be a bad idea. Using the word “elite” seven times in a comment is a bit excessive.

  • Skins fan

    Scherff should get at least an honorable mention. +8.3 in the last 5 games and has only given up 3 pressures in that time while doubling his run blocking grade.

  • Robert Valliere

    I wonder what Byron Jones’ ranking is. He’s played exceptionally well for us, just given the eye test, especially since he’s had to play 3 different positions.

    [EDIT] did someone say Byron Jones is at 80.4? Why isn’t he listed then?

    • SeattleSteve

      Probably doesn’t play that much snaps compared to Darby and Randall.

      • jason witten

        He plays pretty much every snap. They must have forgot he was a rookie.

  • brian

    Too bad Jordan Hicks got hurt, he’d certainly be in the conversation

  • Adrian Hupp


    • Adrian Hupp

      IDK how you guys grade but he’s going to win it on the D side

      • shaunhan murray

        I think the big plays catch people’s eyes too much.He has given quite a few touchdowns.Alot more than darby.Not all great corners putup Box Score stats.


      Ill take this bet

  • shaunhan murray

    Good year 4 corners…Who did my Steelers take? Come On!

  • Michael M

    PFF seems to configure it’s grading around certain people they like. Ziggy Ansah, Jamaal Charles, Marcus Peters aren’t like whomever they want them to be, so they take some of the best players in the league and go out of their way to give them weak scores.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Jay Cutler doesn’t have the worst grade in the league so the staff must absolutely be in love with him…lol. I think your conspiracy theory needs a bit more thought.


    I hate the Chiefs with a passion but Marcus Peters will be a HOFer. In the true sense of NFL accounting he has only given up 2 TDs and with the 19 defended that’s really a plus 3.5. I would rank him 2.1 or 2.3 on this list. Hardest position besides QB to learn in a draft he would go 1.3 to 1.7 he would .8 if QBs were taken out of the picture.