Through 6 Weeks of NFL play, the newly drafted rookies in April have made significant impacts on the NFL. With the first 6 weeks down, marking approximately 1/3 of the season in the books, The Quarterback Blog looks at the front-runners for both the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year Honors. Note: Henry Rowengartner is not eligible.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
On the offensive side of the ball, the award really is up for the taking. The Week 5 injury to E.J. Manuel certainly opens things up a bit at the QB position and jockeys Geno Smith into a solidified 1st place at the position. But, Smith faces tough competition from RB’s Giovani Bernard and Eddie Lacy of the Bengals and Packers. Lacy, in only 4 games, has amassed 304 total yards (270 on the ground). Bernard has racked up a whopping 438 total yards, plus 4 TD’s. At WR, Marlon Brown started off hot in Baltimore and Keenan Allen has recently turned on the jets in San Diego. DeAndre Hopkins leads all receivers with 340 yards but only 1 TD to his name. The race is close with Smith, Bernard and Thompkins all leading their respective positions. Given the value to his team and increase in playing time, Giovani Bernard is the leader through the first 6 weeks.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Several teams throughout the league have been relying on strong, consistent rookie play on the defensive side of the ball. Although no rookie has really been standing out as dominant on the defensive line, some linebackers and defensive backs have really been shining. Up front, Detroit’s Ziggy Ansah leads the pack with 4 sacks as well as 2 forced fumbles and a pass broken up to tack onto his 16 total tackles. Ansah’s 4 sacks lead all rookies. At linebacker, Alec Ogletree of the Rams has been complementing James Laurinaitis well and providing the Rams will solid output recording 46 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, an interception plus 4 passes defended as well as a defensive TD. In the secondary, safety’s Eric Reid of San Francisco and Jonathan Cyprien of Jacksonville lead all rookies with Reid recording 5 passes defended on top of 3 picks and 27 tackles with Cyprien recording 34 tackles and 3 forced fumbles with a sack. The defensive rookies have been providing a great spark to their respective teams, but none might be providing more than rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso of the Buffalo Bills. Alonso leads the NFL in tackles with 66, including 22 against Cincinnati. Alonso also has recorded 1 sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery along with 4 passes defended and 4 interceptions. Kiko Alonso leads all defensive rookies vying for Rookie of the Year honors.