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.
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.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) December 8, 2021
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.
He's the top graded Center in the NFL according to @PFF.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 7, 2021
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.
Jevon Holland is the 2nd highest graded defender in entire NFL with a grade of 81.6 🐬🔥
Via PFF pic.twitter.com/j86yttnacr
— Dolphin Nation (@Dolphin_Nation) December 9, 2021
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.
— JW (@D1__JW) December 6, 2021
Waddle’s deep speed and short area quickness are elite, and he hasn’t really had the opportunity to utilize it just yet.
23.9% of his Team Air Yds
(despite playing mostly in the slot)
23.4% of his Team's Targets
74.8% Catch Rate
4th in Rec
15 in Rec Yds
15th in YAC#all32 #jaylenwaddle #dolphins #nfl #cooperkupp #tyreekhill #deebosamuel #justinjefferson #davanteadams #jamarrchase pic.twitter.com/AMzBUgtgCx
— all32 (@FootballGrades) December 9, 2021
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.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) December 13, 2021
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.
Mac Jones during the Patriots 5-game win streak | QBs:
🎯 87.2 PFF Grade (1st)
🎯 102.6 passer rating (2nd)
🎯 1,069 passing yards (3rd) pic.twitter.com/ktJNwJ2r77
— PFF (@PFF) November 19, 2021
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