NFL Rookie of the Year Watch
We are more than halfway through the year and many rookies are making impacts across the league.
On the offensive side there are a lot of receivers and running backs who have been instant impacts for their teams throughout the season.
Dameon Pierce has been everything the Texans offense needs as they are really thin at the skill positions.
Pierce has been a sparkplug all season long with over 700 rushing yards and is the whole run game for Houston.
Chris Olave of the Saints went from being the third guy in a room with Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry to the top receiver in the Saints offense. Olave is the Saints leading receiver by over 300 yards.
Kenneth Walker III had to step up once Rashaad Penny went down with an injury for Seattle and is now their leading rusher. The Michigan State draftee has added a whole new element to the Seahawks passing offense by adding a rushing threat.
George Pickens may have made the catch of the year already, but he has been contributing to the Steelers offense too. After not really being used in the first half of the season Pickens has gone on to have a team leading 12.8 average yards per catch.
The Jets have been led by Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson on offense, but Hall went down with an injury. Wilson on the other hand, is leading the Jets in receiving yards, receptions and targets.
The defensive side of the ball has seen people rise and make impacts throughout every round of the draft.
On the defensive line, Aidan Hutchinson has been the pass rusher that the Lions have been missing for years and has five and a half sacks on the season.
Travon Walker was picked just ahead of Hutchinson and has not put up the sack numbers that Hutchinson has, but he is serving as an important piece of the Jaguars line.
Malcolm Rodriguez is the third-leading tackler for Detroit and has been the top rookie linebacker this season as a sixth-round pick.
At safety, Jaquan Brisker is a turnover machine for the Bears and paired with Eddie Jackson, makes them one of the best safety duos in the NFL.
Derek Stingley Jr. was a highly drafted cornerback by the Texans and he has quietly been locking down receivers for a team that struggles across the board.
Chiefs rookie Trent McDuffie missed a few games early on but has looked very solid without putting up big numbers, since the receivers he covers rarely get targeted.
Patriots cornerback Jack Jones is in a similar situation but he has done a tremendous job taking over for JC Jackson.
Sauce Gardner has been one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL. While locking down top receivers, he has also forced multiple turnovers in key spots to give the Jets a chance to win.
Tariq Woolen was acquired with a pick in the Russell Wilson trade and has five interceptions on the year, which is second in the entire NFL.
James Morrison is a third-year majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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