Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 15

With just two weeks remaining, the race is coming down to the wire. Will the defensive force hold off the chasing pack of offensive youngsters?

| 4 years ago

Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 15

Race-for-ROY-WK15Fifteen down, two to go.

Weeks, that is, when it comes to the regular season… which means there’s now only two games before we decide on our Rookie of the Year. How quickly time flies.

This has so far been a race dominated by one man: Sheldon Richardson. But is he doing enough on every down to hold off the challenge of playmakers like Keenan Allen and Eddie Lacey as well as those doing less visible jobs like Larry Warford and Star Lotulelei. Let’s check in with our Week 15 updated, Race for Rookie of the Year.


On the Lead Lap…

1. Sheldon Richardson, DE, Jets: +30.1

It’s close at the top. Richardson earned another positive grade and picked up a seasons best three hurries, but there’s still that nagging doubt regarding his pass rushing. Still, his run defense is so good he is in pole position.

2. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: +15.4

The Chargers’ run-heavy gameplan limited his chances but he did continue his trend of games in the green thanks to his two touchdown grabs. The most impressive skill position player so far.

3. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: +16.0

The Packers’ workhorse back has come good when they’ve needed him the most and is now over 1,000 yards for the season. Has provided a real spark to the team.

4. Larry Warford, RG, Lions: +18.5

Remains fourth in our right guard rankings but had some problems in the run game with Haloti Ngata using the national television audience to show he’s still got it. His lowest grade of the year but that also serves to show how good he’s been the rest of the season.

5. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: +15.9

Bottled up somewhat by the Steelers but the encouraging thing is that the team is committing more and more to him. Liable to break loose at any moment.

6. Desmond Trufant, CB, Falcons: +8.6

The biggest positive from the most negative of years for the Falcons. Has upgraded the secondary and shown a knack for making plays on the ball.

7. Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Cardinals: +15.5

A real shame that this genuine Pro Bowl contender picked up such a serious injury. Was having a fine year that warranted more press than it was getting.

8. Star Lotulelei, DT, Panthers: +13.6

Has been a huge part of the Panthers renaissance, fixing what was once a problem area. Was better this week after a tough outing in the Super Dome.

9. Kiko Alonso, LB, Bills: +6.5

Fallen down the tackling charts and making less highlight reel plays. At the same time, though, has rarely let the Bills down and it’s important to remember he’s a rookie who has seamlessly assumed an every-down role. That rarely happens.

10. Kawann Short, DT, Panthers: +13.9

Part two of the Panthers reworking of their defensive tackle spot. Arguably more visible than Lotuleli though is so from a situational and backup role. Expect a bigger role from him in the coming years.


Five to Watch

LaAdrian Waddle, RT, Lions: Has outplayed some more sought after rookies, but needs to do a little more to make the Top 10.

Travis Frederick, C, Cowboys: I feel a little guilty leaving him off the list. Things aren’t great in Dallas at the moment but they did nail this draft pick.

Zac Stacy, HB, Rams: Steven who? Stacy looks like the Rams’ long-term feature back, already up to 857 yards despite missing plenty of time this year. Spearhead of a new-look offense.

Adrian Ellington, RB, Cardinals: Whether running the ball or catching it out of the backfield, this guy just makes plays.

Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles: Is getting more playing time which is really the only thing holding him back. Looks like he could turn into quite the weapon.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

  • a57se

    What is close about this race? Richardson is the only rookie to play well from game one through game 15. Based on your numbers, he has lapped the field. Please tell me what I am missing here?

    • Jeff

      Well by changing the front picture, it still looks like there’s heavy competition for the top spot. This certainly is not like last year’s jockeying of the top spot week in and out

    • Boss Hogg ROY

      If Richardson doesn’t win, what’s the point of even posting what their grades are? PFF can’t honestly say that any of the other guys are even close in this race if they truly believe in their system. Either their system is wrong, or they are just being biased.

      • Abouthat

        Do you read their information on grading? In a single position, a higher grade means better performance. Obviously a 30.00 Dlineman has outplayed a 15.00 lineman. However it is not normalized across positions. A 30.00 DL and a 15.00 WR may be closer than the grades indicate (although I doubt the discrepancy would be so large as to give the WR the no. 1 spot). For example, they see Dlineman every play and can grade them on performance on runs going away and passes. This isn’t true of WRs. A WR has half the plays to make an impact (assuming a hypothetical 50-50 run-pass split). Theoretically that would make a 30.00 comparable to a 15.00. Also, one has to be realistic and realize that a dominant run defender simply isn’t as useful as a good receiver or versatile slot corner, even if he has outperformed them. All these factors go into PFF calling it a closer race than the numbers indicate.

    • DerDings

      Mathieu was very consistent as well. Plus, he play a position where grades are probably hardest to get while defensive linemen always score the most points on PFF. I’d say, Mathieu played even better than Richardson, of course the difference now is the injury…

  • LightsOut85

    Keenan Allen is a BEAST. Can only imagine what he will be like once our offense gets straightened out (better option wide opposite him, and TE snaps more equal to talent/production), preventing defenses from keying in on him.

    Without doing the legwork, I’m guess he’s got the highest receiving grade you’ve given out to a rookie WR since 08?

    • bobrulz

      I did a quick check and it looks like it is easily the highest grade they’ve ever given a rookie WR.

    • GMcDowell

      It was shocking to see the WR-needy Chargers pass up Keenan in the 2nd round to take the bust (and closeted) LB from Notre Dame. They were LUCKY he was still around in the 3rd. What a horrible screwup it would have been…

      • Ferguson1015

        WR-needy Chargers? Since when? Danario Alexander was a stand-out for the second half of the 2012 season, Malcom Floyd has long been a consistent starter for San Diego, they were getting back Vincent Brown who was coming off an injury in 2012 after a promising rookie season in 2011. Not to mention Free Agent acquisition Eddie Royal who has played well when he has been on the field.
        Keenan Allen was not a slam dunk pick in the second round with the needs at other positions. Remember they never drafted an LT in the draft last season despite having one of the worst to get graded here the year before. Many Charger fans were hoping Armstead would fall to them (picked one pick before SD) until they realized that Keenan Allen was still on the board.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Eric Reid fell off the list completely. Didn’t he have a pick?

    • Garth

      Not only that, but a pick that he then gave himself up on to end the game and avoid any potential for injury on special teams. Don’t know how he dropped off.

    • GMcDowell

      Having a pick doesn’t make up for sucking in coverage game after game.

      • Hopper15

        I’m now convinced you have never watched Eric Reid.

  • Lee

    Richardson got shredded by Carolina who had over 130 rushing. Cam Newton was barely pressured by the Jets. It also took him to carries from the 1 yard line to get that TD which was barely a score. Star consistently got a push up the middle and Carolina got 5 sacks on Geno. Sure are grading this guy high for little impact.

    • Luke

      It wasn’t Richardsons fault the run defense was below average, he played very well in that game. Was able to chase down Newton on one play.

    • joe

      Jets had over 150 yards rushing in said game… so by your logic what does that say about star?

  • Jakub Mazur

    I’m a total homer (see my avatar) and a Lacy fanboy. And yeah, it’s LACY not “Lacey”…

    • GMcDowell

      Ball has a nose for the end zone that Lacy doesn’t. Green Bay has had to give more opportunities to Lacy than Denver has (with 2013 Pro Bowler Knowshown Moreno starting), but Ball will still be scoring TDs long after Lacy leaves this league.

      • Jakub Mazur

        You’re an idiot… Ball is a turnover machine… Have you ever seen Lacy stuffed on a goal-line play? Lacy is a three-down feature back and Ball will be at best spelling Moreno hear and there for some time. Go figure. Tool.

  • Hopper15

    Eric Reid still hasn’t allowed a single TD. He’s the real DRoy.

    • GMcDowell

      Not even on his own team! Hilarious!

      • Hopper15

        That makes no sense. He’s the only rookie starting on the niners defense.

  • Bob

    With Willis/Bowman/Aldon/Brooks/Smith/McDonald up front – anyone could drop back and become an All Pro safety in that defense.

    • Hopper15

      no they can’t.

    • Jack Casey

      It helps… But you can’t just throw any scrub in there and expect them to be pro bowlers just because of whom they play with. And Willis was banged up and Aldon was out for a while as well.

  • Mike

    Wow… no mention of Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson? Teams won’t even kick to the guy anymore. They use him like they did Percy Harvin, and the guy is a magician with the ball in his hands. Not saying he deserves ROY (doesn’t have the stats), but kid is electric.