Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 6

Checking in with the rookies, Khaled Elsayed updates the ROY race and names those on the outside looking in.

| 3 years ago

Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 6

2014-RROY-WK06We’re racing through the weeks now and after the usual week hiatus, so does return our Race for Rookie of the Year.

Last time around it was Khalil Mack who led the way with his strong work in the run game helping him to stand out above all other rookies. But in the two weeks that have followed has the gap to him been closed? Has he been overtaken?

Let’s find out.

1. Joel Bitonio, LG, CLE: +10.3

One of the reasons the Browns have turned into a competent offense overnight despite losing their star skill player? How quickly Bitonio has not just adjusted to the NFL game, but excelled at it. His work in the run game has propelled him to the third-highest grade of any guard.

2. Khalil Mack, OLB, OAK: +14.2

Sackless and struggling? Not quite. Mack has got enough pressure to earn a positive pass rushing grade and really excelled against the run. His +10.7 mark in that regard is best of all 3-4 outside linebackers, impressive when that group contains Terrell Suggs and Justin Houston.

3. Aaron Donald, DT, SL: +11.6

Something changed this week for Donald who went from playing a third of the snaps per game to over three quarters. The team realizes they’re onto something and seem prepare to let him loose. Our fourth ranked defensive tackle on the year.

4. C.J. Mosley, ILB, BAL: +6.7

One of a trio of former Alabama defenders sitting in the Top 5 of our inside linebacker rankings. Mosley has already proved an active force against the run, where his +7.5 grade sits atop the position.

5. Jason Verrett, CB, SD: +7.7

Playing time was initially his biggest obstacle but he’s overcome that and backed it up with a series of strong performances. Allowing just 44% of balls thrown into his coverage to be complete.

6. Zack Martin, RG, DAL: +4.8

Was something of a quiet start for Martin who was getting beat a little too often in the game for our liking. Has, however, ironed out these creases in his game and put in three very impressive displays as a key component in a recharged Cowboys team.

7. Corey Linsley, C, GB: +3.8

Would it be better if he was a bit stouter in pass protection? Yes. Is it eye-catching his work in the run game? Also yes. The fifth-rounder looks at home in the NFL, with what was a concern for Green Bay now being a reason to cheer.

8. Anthony Barr, LB, MIN: +3.5

You’d probably like some more explosive plays out of Barr, but given how he’s been used it’s commendable that he’s kept his head above water in a new position to him.

9. Aaron Lynch, OLB, SF: +6.1

Hard to ignore. Lynch isn’t starting but his playing time is increasing and his 13 quarterback disruptions aren’t to be sniffed at.

10. Branden Oliver, RB, SD: +2.8

The Chargers may have found something with Oliver. The undrafted free agent can turn open space into big yards and push the pile enough when required. Really taken advantage of a depleted backfield, but how will he fare as others at his spot return?

Dropping Out

Kyle Fuller, CB, CHI: Better against Atlanta but too hot and cold at this stage.

Ja’Wuan James, RT, MIA: Was in contention until some pass protection issues this week pushed him out of it.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR: A better fantasy player than real player at this point. Highs and lows.

Jack Mewhort, LG, IND:  Missing time is always going to count against you, especially on the line.

Five to Watch

E.J. Gaines, CB, SL: Allowing 52% of balls into his coverage to be completed in an impressive start to life in St Louis.

T.J. Carrie, CB, OAK: Teams haven’t really gone after him yet, but when they have they haven’t got too much joy.

Jace Amaro, TE, NYJ: Is becoming a bigger part of what the Jets do.

Justin Britt, RT, SEA: Close to cracking the Top 10, with only really his poor showing against Denver keeping him out.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, MIN: Needs to play more like he did Atlanta than he did against Detroit. Would probably appreciate more help from his pass catchers and line as well.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled


  • mutzki

    Corey Linsley is his name.

    • Dohkay

      Pancaking dudes is his game?

  • Yonatan Bogale

    Is Clinton-Dix that much worse to not even be in the “Five to watch” list?

  • outsidecenter

    Kyle Fuller up and down? So Verret goes up against Oakland and they give up 4 tds, Bears go up against Jones and White and a top five O, and hold them to 13 pts. Interesting. Last week he holds Benjamin to 35 yards, this week Jones does nothing. Up and Down? He has had one bad game against oh by the way Rogers and GB. befuddled.

    • Dohkay

      I wouldn’t call Atlanta a top 5 offense. They destroyed New Orleans and Tampa Bay, something most teams have been able to do (they both rank bottom 5 in points allowed) and struggled against CIN, MN, NYG, and CHI.

      Fuller’s still ranked 24th at his position but that’s on the back of two fantastic performances early on against the 49ers and Jets. He rated negatively in 3 other games and slightly positive last week.

      • outsidecenter

        Not sure what rankings you are going by but Atlanta is currently 3rd in total offense 3rd in scoring and 3rd in passing. I would consider that top five. Julio Jones is considered a top five receiver by most accounts. To not take in account who the player is playing against in your grade is again a big ? for me.

        • Dohkay

          I was suggesting their top 5 rating was a bit inflated having played two teams that rank 28th and 32nd in scoring defense and 25th and 31st in pass defense. Against those two teams, Ryan averaged 367 yards and 3 TDs with 0 INTs. Against the other four teams he averaged 279 yards and 1.5 TDs with 1.75 INTs. That’s all. Julio is very good but did Fuller follow him around the whole game? I hadn’t heard that so correct me if I’m wrong but Jennings probably earns some credit for shutting him down, too.

          Also, PFF does not take into account opponents. They only grade the player. So if Fuller shut down Calvin Johnson or Jarius Wright he’d grade the same even though it’s obviously more impressive to shut down the former. I agree that it certainly can make you question the grades sometimes.

          • outsidecenter

            Given the stats you presented I would grant you that Atlanta’s ranking may be inflated a bit. But given the fact that PFF doesn’t take into account the opponents of a team, not sure why you are in your assessment of Atlanta’s Off. I think that is a flaw in the metrics you guys are using. As far as Fuller, no he didn’t follow Jones around but as you guys say you watch every play you can easily watch the plays between the two. And the 2 biggest plays he made were against Jones. A force fumble and a pass defended on a 3rd and one play in the 4th.

          • Dohkay

            I don’t work for PFF nor do I watch every play. I’m just telling you that simply because the TEAM shut down a good (but not great) offense doesn’t always translate to every player getting a good grade. He scored 0.8 positive and Jennings was 1.2 positive. Those are good grades.

            If he did that every week he’d be top 10 or top 5 for the season.

          • outsidecenter

            Again there has got to be some flaw in PFF metrics if Jennings scored a higher grade then Fuller, I would love to see how they came up with those two grades.

          • Dohkay

            Thrown at 7 times, allowed 4 catches for 60 yards. With regards to covering Julio, he allowed 3 catches on 5 throws for 53 yards.

        • boston

          chargers gave up 28pts… Verrett wasn’t the one beat in coverage for any of those td’s

    • Ferguson1015

      Just goes to show that an individual can do excellently even if his defensive teammates don’t and vice versa

    • Shmeeeee

      I am equally befuddled.

  • Dohkay

    Khalil Mack is a beast.

    • Troll Chris

      Pretty sure he is a human. But say whatever you like, Chris

      • Dohkay


  • joof

    Loooove this……it’s really shaping up. Donald or the Cownoys OLineman may end up staying in the top 3 by the end of the year.

  • Darnell

    Cool to see Bitonio and Britt mentioned. Two olinemen that I really liked going into the draft.

  • MachoMenos

    So, if the guys who are ahead of Branden Oliver are are linemen, it would be safe to assume that he leads the offensive rookie of the year race, right?

  • DerDings

    Call me crazy, but Chander Catanzero should be up there. I know how everyone likes to ignore kickers, but seeing how low the level of kickers has dropped this season, a rookie who’s still perfect earns being mentioned more than say Teddy Bridgewater.

  • Jordan MacGeever

    No mention of Jarvis Landry?