NFL Rookie of the Year Watch
The NFL recently released the finalists for Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year and there were a few surprises.
On the offensive side of the ball, the very last pick of the draft Brock Purdy has worked his way into a frontrunner for what he has been able to do for the 49ers.
Coming into the season Purdy was a developmental project out of Iowa State as the third quarterback on the roster.
He was not expected to start at all this season or even next season but injuries to quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo thrust Purdy into the starting position.
Purdy shocked the NFL with a great start in his first game and has continued to perform well throughout the rest of the season which should make him the favorite for the award.
Kenneth Walker III is another finalist who was also put into a starting role after Rashaad Penny went down with an injury and he completely transformed the Seahawks team.
Walker III could have also benefitted from the fact that Seattle had DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett at receivers taking members of the defense out of the box.
Walker III’s rookie season can also be contributed to the star play of his two rookie tackles Abraham Lucas and Charles Cross.
Garrett Wilson was one of the Jets' top rookies this season and if it wasn’t for Sauce Gardner he would have been the best.
Wilson had over 1000 receiving yards this season and racked up over 80 catches while consistently facing the opposing team’s top cornerbacks.
On the defensive side of the ball, Sauce Gardner is in a tight race for Defensive Rookie of the Year as he was clearly one of the top cornerbacks in the league.
Gardner faced off against some of the best competition in the league and held Stefon Diggs to 8 catches for 130 yards over two games, Ja’Marr Chase to 29 yards, Tyreek Hill to 70 yards over two games and Justin Jefferson to 45 yards.
Aidan Hutchinson should have been the top pick in the NFL this past draft and has had a chip on his shoulder ever since.
At the defensive end, Hutchinson had three interceptions, 9.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits on the season.
Hutchinson led all rookies in sacks and was a noticeable leader on the Detroit Lions team that finished with a winning record after starting out 1-6 and should be the frontrunner for rookie of the year.
Tariq Woolen was acquired with a draft pick in the Russell Wilson trade and is looking like an absolute steal.
Woolen would be the first non-first-round pick to win the award since Shaquille Leonard did in 2018 while a 5th-round pick hasn’t won the award in the 21st century.
James Morrison is a Junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.