NFL Rookie of the Year Watch: Week 10
The 2023 Rookie of the Year candidates come from all across the league this year.
As we surpass the midpoint of the season, more rookies are beginning to become more involved on their teams.
Let’s dive into who could potentially win these awards at the end of the year.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks
When Rashaad Penny went down in Week 5, many fantasy owners didn’t know what to expect from the Seattle run game. But Walker has made this team even more elusive and tougher to stop through the air and on the ground.
The former Michigan State Spartan star already has seven touchdowns through eight games. With the emergence of this Seattle offensive line and smart play by quarterback Geno Smith this team should continue to produce throughout the year. Walker is going to become the focal point of the Seattle offense in a heavy run system. He is a lock to become talked about in the offensive rookie of the year conversation as long as he stays healthy.
Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans
Coming off a 139-yard rushing day rookie running back Dameon Pierce is making his case for Rookie of the Year.
Pierce's play might have been overshadowed thus far because of the lack of talent in Houston, but the Texans have their running-back of the future. The Texans running back has run for 80 yards in five of his last six games, even though Houston will be in the running for the number one pick come springtime.
Pierce has as good of a chance to win rookie of the year as any of the rookies thus far.
Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints
Coming into the season, Olave was supposed to be the number three receiver in a very talented wide receiving room. Veterans Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas have already been injured and ruled out for the season. So Olave has been thrown a bit into the fire, but has answered the bell nicely.
With struggles of quarterback Andy Dalton, it makes it hard to see Olave winning this award. His stats thus far though back up being in contention for offensive Rookie of the Year but without a change at quarterback the ceiling for Olave to get much better throughout the season is a bit low. But the Saints do have their number one wide receiver to replace Michael Thomas going forward.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates
Jaquan Brisker, S, Chicago Bears
The rookie safety out of Penn State Jaquan Brisker has quietly become one of the best young defensive backs in football for the Chicago Bears.
What Brisker brings and how he pairs up with other safety Eddie Jackson is what is keeping the Chicago team in games, along with Justin Field’s abilities to make plays on the other side of the ball.
Quarterbacks are only completing 44% of passes thrown in Brisker’s direction. He also has 55 tackles to go along with one interception through nine games. Defensive Rookie of the Year is definitely a possibility for Brisker who at this pace might even make the Pro Bowl.
Tariq Woolen, CB, Seattle Seahawks
When you look at Seattle’s 6-3 record, the credit belongs to its rookie draft class. Headlining that is the play of cornerback Tariq Woolen.
The rookie out of San Antonio State has made huge plays for the Seahawks’ defense including four interceptions which is the second highest total in the league right now. Woolen also hasn’t been penalized since the first game he played and is only giving up just over 30 yards a game.
If Seattle stays in the top of the NFC for most of this year, Woolen’s burst onto the scene will keep him in the Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation.
Sauce Gardner, CB, NYJ
Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner has been everything that we expected him to be so far this season. His unbelievable play in college has translated nicely to the league and has given head coach Robert Saleh’s defense a group of young talent that Jet fans are really excited about.
Gardner is PFF’s highest rated corner that has played over 80% of snaps. Gardner is going toe to toe with the opposing team’s best receiver week after week and seems to only be getting better with more experience throughout the year.
Is anyone really willing to bet against a player named Sauce?
Sam Kirk is third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Sam Kirk is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is also featured weekly in the CommRadio news department on Thursday newcasts. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles, interviewing players and contributing to their YouTube channel.