Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 8

Khaled Elsayed lays out the state of play as the race for PFF's top rookie honor approaches halfway.

| 4 years ago
ROY wk8

Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 8

ROY wk8We’re eight weeks in and our Race for Rookie of the Year is starting to take shape. Sheldon Richardson has led the race for the past few weeks but is seeing increasing pressure put on him, especially with the Jets’ defense getting steamrolled by the Bengals.

So, could he stand up to the heat, or would one of the challengers push him down a spot? Well let’s see, shall we.


1. Sheldon Richardson, DE, Jets: +13.9

He just about earned a positive grade for the week but it was by far his least convincing performance, and one that earned him his lowest grade against the run. The whole team struggled so he’ll be looking to bounce back immediately.

2. Star Lotulelei, DT, Panthers: +11.1

Closes the gap with Richardson having a poor week. Has picked his game up in the past couple of weeks and remains one of the best defensive tackles against the run (ranked third in the league). Challenge is for him to maintain.

3. Larry Warford, RG, Lions: +7.7

After faltering in recent weeks was better against the Cowboys, even if he did allow two hurries. A more consistent display with his run blocking earns him a bump in the rankings.

4. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: +8.1

We do like Bernard, though we’d like it if he contributed more with his rushing.His 287 yards on the ground isn’t really enough to complement the work he’s doing catching passes out of the backfield.

5. Kiko Alonso, LB, Bills: +5.5

Would grade better but for his poor return on numbers of blitzes to pressure on the quarterback. Remains our fourth-ranked coverage inside linebacker with four interceptions, highlighting his playmaking ability.

6. Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Cardinals: +7.7

It’s getting harder and harder not to move Mathieu up. The versatile talent started at safety this week though saw more action covering the slot. Walked away with his second pick and almost had another in his highest graded performance as a pro.

7. Eric Reid, S, 49ers: +5.4

Has calmed down on the early season missed tackling and has settled into providing the kind of deep safety play the 49ers need out of their defense. Team really has to be happy with how he’s adjusted to the NFL.

8. Marcus Cooper, CB, Chiefs: +9.0

Perhaps the most surprising name here, Cooper has been a revelation since working his way into the Chiefs’ heavily used sub-package lineup. You could say he benefits from those around him, but so far he’s picked off two balls and broken up another six while allowing 36.7% of throws into his coverage.

9. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: +6.0

The workhorse. Lacy and his ability to keep on earning the tough yards has added a new dimension to a Packers’ offense intent on making life easier for its star quarterback. Has caused 15 missed tackles already on the year.

10. D.J. Fluker, RT, Chargers: +3.4

No action this week, but will be hoping a return to the right side of the line will help him solidify his place in the Top 10.


Dropping Out

Desmond Trufant, DB, Falcons: Kept the streak alive with his seventh pass defense in as many games, but his worst grade of the year flung him from the main list.


Five To Watch

Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals: Arguably would be getting more attention from us if not for a fumble he was lucky to recover.

Travis Frederick, C, Cowboys: Still in the mix, but needs to up his game to get more spiel.

Nickell Robey, CB, Bills: Nickell by name, nickel back by nature. Robey has made that place his own for the Bills in impressive fashion.

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: Made the kind of immediate impact Chargers fans were hoping for. Now, can he do more?

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins: Those two drops are what stands between him and a spot in our Top 10. It’s coming.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

  • DerDings

    You do realize that Lacy and Bernard also have one fumble each, much like Ellington, only Ellington was able to recover it (in quite a heads-up play). In all other regards he has far more impressive numbers – especially if you consider the Card’s O-line.

    • Barbars

      Yes Ellington has just as many fumbles as guys he has had half the snaps of.

      • DerDings

        He has as many TDs as Lacy with half the touches.
        He has more yardage than either ot them with half the touches.
        And at least he recovered his fumble in contrast to the others.

        • Kyle Schwab

          I’m not sure what your trying to prove? He is on the Watch list because he hasn’t had enough stats to qualify before. Its easy to have awesome average number when you are limited. Lets see him sustain those numbers when he consistently gets more snaps.

          • Bubs Solo

            he did get more snaps this weekend and excelled. 154 yards on 15 carries.

        • Bill

          and Andre has less wins than lacy – enjoy being a cards fan…haha.

    • Kyle Schwab

      I wouldn’t say far more impressive numbers… their numbers are similar/comparable. Ellington has had less touches than both of those players as well, which makes the lone fumble more egregious.

    • Kevin

      You do realize the Cards and Packers have nearly the exact same graded run blocking Oline.

      Eddie Lacy also tends to be the RB over an entire game wearing defenses down. He also finishes out games when the Packers are comfortably ahead to run out the clock which really skews his numbers.

      Look at the success Starks had when he was coming in after the defense already was worn down.

      • Jesse Reynolds

        Aaron Rodgers helps, you always have to respect him while Carson Palmer does not get the same respect (deservedly so).

  • Sharat Jonnalagadda

    How is rookie Mike Glennon doing guys? I feel like he has done one heck of a job on a dysfunctional team.

    • roguepatriot

      Awful. His spike in INT% in his senior season was a red flag. It shows in his rookie year. Has great mechanics and a cannon arm, but makes terrible decisions. Schiano is making him play before he’s ready. Needs time with the clipboard, like Rodgers’ first 3 seasons.

  • Bob

    Glad to see Robey getting a little recognition. For all the measurables he’s lacking, the kid can play. Can’t ask much more from a UDFA.

    • juunit

      Only thing he lacks is size. Guy is a great athlete.

      I’d like to see Hyde get some recognition too (and I’m kinda surprised he didn’t considering his punt return this week.) He was a 5th rounder, not a UDFA, but he’s still getting a lot more snaps than most 5th rounders.

  • Guest

    Ellington, an honorable mention. He has more EPA than Brady and RG3. He’s 2nd in EPA/P for running backs.

    • PFF_Neil

      What is EPA and how does it relate to being a quality half-back in the NFL?

      • roguepatriot

        It means he’s concerned about the environment. Though Brady’s LA home collects rain water and uses solar energy.

  • roguepatriot

    GG Bill Belichick. Draft every Rutgers defender while passing up the best of the lot.