It’s certainly been the “Year of the Receiver” when looking at the rookie class, as we have four of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from rookies at the position.
After Odell Beckham’s “Catch”, Mike Evans remarkable output in recent weeks and Sammy Watkins and Kelvin Benjamin hoping to keep pace, it’ll be an entertaining finish to see which of these receivers can earn the crown of top offensive rookie.
Rank-(LW) – Team
1-(1) Minnesota Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater has certainly been efficient as passer, especially when defenses haven’t attacked him, but has yet to produce a wow game for the Vikings. We shouldn’t be too hard on him, as consistency for a rookie is rare, but the Vikings are still waiting for a big game. Anthony Barr struggled in coverage more than usual against the Packers, but he’s been one of the best rookie defenders in the league thus far.
2-(2) St. Louis Rams
Tre Mason had some success against the Chargers defense in just 16 carries. It’s time the Rams feed him more and more throughout the game, as his starting to put together more consistent second-level runs. Greg Robinson was kicked back inside to left guard and really struggled back at his early season spot. His pass-protection woes continued.. Aaron Donald had another hugely impactful again, but it wasn’t enough to slow the Chargers rushing performance. He’s firmly in the rookie of the year discussion.
3-(3) Buffalo Bills
Sammy Watkins has to be frustrated as he sees his production and role in the offense continue to slip. Robert Woods was the star of the offense in the team’s blowout victory. His production and impact on the offense needs to increase. On a poor day offensively for the Bills, Seantrel Henderson played well against a struggling Jets front-seven, especially in pass-protection. Preston Brown has fallen in the defensive rookie of the year race thanks to other linebackers emerging, but his consistent value to this defense has been an awesome surprise for a unit that is exceed expectations.
4-(8) San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Hyde’s snaps stayed low, and Bruce Ellington didn’t have a significant role in the offense. Chris Borland had another highly impressive week (along with Aaron Lynch on the edge) and is in line to be arguably the rookie of the year favorite at this point. His impact needs to be felt against the Seahawks running game this week.
5-(7) New York Giants
Odell Beckham has certainly made his presence felt in this Giants offense, and after “The Catch”, he’s become a household name. But his ability to separate, finish at the catch-point and make plays after the catch has deservedly put him among the most feared receivers in the NFC, and on the rookie of the year radar. Andre Williams saw redzone carries, but his role will continue to fade as the Giants trust Rashad Jennings more.
6-(5) Jacksonville Jaguars
Marqise Lee has become the team’s third receiver, behind Cecil Shorts and undrafted rookie Allen Hurns, even with Allen Robinson out for the year. Blake Bortles really struggled against the Colts, especially when they sent 5+ rushers. This can’t be too out of the norm from what they expected, as he has plenty of growth still to do. Telvin Smith has become a wildly successful linebacker (playing the Will this week) for the Jaguars, especially in space and as a pass rusher.
7-(11) Tampa Bay Bucs
Mike Evans is on pace for 1,100+ yards and 10+ touchdowns. Both would be among the best totals for a rookie receiver in NFL history. Despite his three catch, 47-yard performance this past week, I don’t expect his production to fall sharply.
8-(12) Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr has continued to be good, not great, but has grown to be a more consistent and confident passer. Against a talented Chiefs defense that has given most passers a tough battle in recent weeks, he dealt with pressure well enough, albeit not as accurately as they’d like. Despite not putting up sack numbers, Khalil Mack was highly impactful as a pass-rusher and finishing tackles in the run game.
9-(18) Tennessee Titans
Of all the rookie passers, Zach Mettenberger may have proven to be the quickest learner and most aggressive of the bunch. While he’s still a work-in-progress, especially with timing in the mid-field, he’s on track to earn the chance to be the 2015 starter next year. Taylor Lewan struggled mightily against the Eagles pass rush and Bishop Sankey was the “lead back”, but saw minimal production on just ten carries.
10-(4) Arizona Cardinals
John Brown saw just three catches, but one went for 33 yards. He was the team’s best receiver in a field goal-only offensive game, and it’s clear it’s his vertical ability that opens the door for the rest of the offense. Deone Bucannon had a strong game against Russell Wilson’s offense, including a sack in his usual in the box positioning.
11-(6) Cleveland Browns
Isaiah Crowell is the team’s starter, but Terrence West received the most carries for the second straight week. Crowell is easily the most productive runner of the two, but West’s production has been nothing to sneeze at either. Joel Bitonio kept up his strong play next to Joe Thomas, and linebacker Chris Kirksey had many his best performance of the year, a key reason for the stifling performance in run defense for the Browns.
12-(9) Cincinnati Bengals
Jeremy Hill had another plus day as the team’s new lead back. He out-carried Bernard by just one and they finished with the same number of touches, but it’s clear Hill is the better of the two. Darqueze Dennard didn’t get any snaps against the Texans after getting work the prior week.
13-(10) Carolina Panthers
Kelvin Benjamin will hope to return from the bye week with more production, as he’s battling with the other three top receivers for the rookie of the year honors.
14-(14) Baltimore Ravens
CJ Mosley had another strong week in run defense and as a pass-rusher, including 8 tackles and a sack. He’s at 99 tackles on the year, and is on pace to cross the 130 tackle mark by season’s end. Lorenzo Taliaferro didn’t see a snap as the team’s 3rd string rusher.
15-(13) Green Bay Packers
Davante Adams’s role has been reduced as the team has used more two tight end sets in recent weeks. He started as the team’s outside receiver opposite Jordy Nelson, but finished 47 snaps, just four targets, and one catch. HaHa Clinton-Dix has been adequate in coverage, but has been hit or miss at times in center field. He didn’t struggle against Bridgewater, however.
16-(15) Miami Dolphins
Ja’Wuan James actually played quite well against a talented Broncos pass-rush, which allowed Ryan Tannehill plenty of time to attack vertically. He’s had multiple successful games at right and left tackle this year. Jarvis Landry has become the new key to the passing game, as he’s their best short and mid-range route runner. He say 9 targets, 7 catches and 50 yards (all team highs) and two scores.
17-(16) Philadelphia Eagles
Jordan Matthews has clearly become Mark Sanchez’s favorite target and has quickly become the team’s number two receiver. He should be able to continue producing the rest of the way, and could near the 1,000-yard marker if he keeps pace down the stretch.
18-(17) Dallas Cowboys
Zach Martin has continued to be the most consistent blocker for the Cowboys, on a unit that has made it’s case for the best in the NFL. He deserves Pro Bowl consideration.
19-(19) Houston Texans
Alfred Blue was mediocre after another week of filling in for Arian Foster, putting u just 2.9 yards per carry against a good, not elite, Bengals defense. Jadeveon Clowney got the starting job and the same number of snaps as Whitney Mercilus, but produced just one tackle. It won’t be a sharp, major impact on this defense like many expected.
20-(20) Chicago Bears
Kyle Fuller hasn’t been nearly as dynamic as he was earlier in the year, and struggled with Mike Evans in the team’s narrow victory. Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson’s snaps have grown but neither has made a substantial impact.
21-(21) New Orleans Saints
With Brandin Cooks out for the year, the Saints have no other drafted players making an impact on their roster. Ronald Powell, their 5th round pick, saw just one snap.
22-(22) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers were on a bye week.
23-(23) Atlanta Falcons
Jake Matthews actually wasn’t bad for the Falcons, his first “good” game (especially in pass protection) in the past few weeks. The offense was able to put up points against a talented Browns secondary thanks to the pass protection by the unit’s usually struggling play.
24-(24) Washington Redskins
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was matched up with Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree in the game, and while he allowed one of Crabtree’s biggest catches, he allowed just two receptions all game. He’s been a pleasant surprise for a defense that has exceeded expectations.
25-(25) Denver Broncos
Bradley Roby struggled mightily against the Dolphins, allowing one of Jarvis Landry’s touchdowns (in the redzone) and another four catches to Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson combined.
26-(26) New York Jets
Jace Amaro saw just 17 snaps, two targets and no catches. His role in the offense will hopefully grow in 2015. Calvin Pryor played just 13 snaps, and has been a major surprise for his lack of impact for this defense.
27-(27) Seattle Seahawks
Justin Britt had another adequate yet forgetful game against the talented Cardinals. Kevin Pierre-Louis didn’t have a snap registered.
28-(28) Detroit Lions
Eric Ebron has been a surprisingly lackluster this year, and hasn’t provided nearly the offensive support they needed this year. Kyle Van Noy played just 12 snaps, and his role in the defense needs to grow.
29-(29) New England Patriots
Dominique Easley didn’t get any snaps against the Lions.
30-(30) Indianapolis Colts
Jack Mewhort was fine as the team’s left guard, while Donte Moncrief hasn’t yet supplanted Hakeem Nicks for sure, but did get more snaps this past week for the first time all year.
31-(31) San Diego Chargers
Jason Verrett and Jeremiah Attaochu have been hurt for the Chargers.
32-(32) Kansas City Chiefs
Zach Fulton still earned the start at right guard. DeAnthony Thomas saw plenty of action snap-wise in the offense, and finished with a carry, five targets, and two catches.