NFL Top 5 Rookies Entering Week 16 | Patrick Mahomes Sleeps Well At Night, Thanks To Kansas City Chiefs Center Creed Humphrey

1. Micah Parsons (LB/Edge) — Dallas Cowboys

Each week Parsons shows us why he’s more than just a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, he’s also a viable candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year as well. If he were to win it he’d be the first rookie to do so since Lawrence Taylor in 1981. Parsons has 55 QB pressures on just 88 pass rush attempts this season.

Top 5 NFL Rookies Entering Week 9| Jaylen Waddle Is Doing Work For The Miami Dolphins No Matter The Quarterback

He’s a game wrecker who’s shown generational ability. Speed, power and explosion make him a nightmare matchup for opposing tackles and tight ends.

Dallas had their gifted defender positioned all over the place in a dominating 21-9 defeat of the New York Giants this weekend. The media hype around Parsons has reached mythic levels. He’s good, but the LT comparisons are farfetched at this point.

2. Creed Humphrey (Center) — Kansas City Chiefs

Humphrey is about as dominant a blocker as you’ll find in the NFL. He has shown no weaknesses as a run or pass blocker for the Chiefs. He’s been the best center in the NFL this season by a mile and watching him you get the sense that Patrick Mahomes’ last concern is pressure up the middle.

“Humph” is the anchor of a resurgent K.C. offensive line that has been great during the team’s current seven-game winning streak which has them as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

3. Rashawn Slater (Tackle) — Los Angeles Chargers

Slater has pitched shutouts against some of the league’s better edge rushers. Slater missed Thursday’s clash with the Chiefs as he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. This season he’s had four games of one or less pressures allowed. The time franchise QB Justin Herbert is being afforded in the pocket can be attributed to Slater. Slater is a STALWART tackle and a future All-Pro, and it could come as soon as this season.

4. Jevon Holland (Safety) — Miami Dolphins

The Fins’ resurgence can be attributed to few things, and the play of the defense is a huge reason for their five-game winning streak. Led by safety Holland on the back end, the secondary is looking like the strength it is with Holland, Xavien Howard, Brandon Jones, and Byron Jones all playing at a high level. One of the most versatile safeties in the league Holland is doing it all, from ballhawking to stopping the run and even rushing the passer on safety blitzes. That versatility has helped the entire Dolphins defense, which is looking like last year’s potent unit.

5. Jaylen Waddle (wide receiver) — Miami Dolphins

Waddle has really thrived as the Fins’ No. 1 target. His 86 receptions are just 15 shy of the rookie record of 101 by Anquan Boldin in 2003. With four games left, it’s safe assume that barring injury Waddle will eclipse that mark with ease. As of now he’s been used as more of a possession receiver due to a shoddy offensive line incapable of allowing the time needed for downfield passing plays.

Waddle’s deep speed and short area quickness are elite, and he hasn’t really had the opportunity to utilize it just yet.


Honorable Mention

Ja’Marr Chase (wide receiver) — Cincinnati Bengals

After getting off to an historic start this season, Chase tapered off a bit. But his big play ability is so rare that he makes the list because each week he seems to be running right by defensive backs. The chemistry between him and Joe Burrow is special and will only get better over time.

Mac Jones (QB) — New England Patriots 

The Pats had a bye in Week 14 and then face a stern test against the Colts D on Saturday. With four more solid outings the Alabama product could cement his rookie season as one of the best ever, rivaling Russell Wilson’s rookie season in 2012 in many ways. His poise and cerebral play in the pocket is something even Bill Belichick didn’t know he could do so consistently at this level. Fresh off throwing three total passes in a win at Buffalo, his arm was ready to sling it in Week 14 as he threw 45 times in a tough loss to the Colts.

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