As we enter week 12 of the NFL season, these rookies haven’t been hit by the proverbial rookie wall. In fact they’re straight ballin.’
1. Micah Parsons (Defensive Chameleon)
After hitting a historic low on the defensive side of the football last season, the Dallas Cowboys made some wholesale changes. Bringing in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has been a game-changer for them. They’re better as a whole this season across the board.
But one name stands out above the rest and that’s Micah Parsons, the standout rookie from Penn State. Playing a myriad of positions for the Cowboys, Parsons has been downright dynamic. He’s been excellent in his main role which is standup linebacker, but he’s also excelled as an edge-rusher.
Highest pressure pct in the NFL this season:
Micah Parsons 19.8%
Maxx Crosby 18.1%
Randy Gregory 17.3%
Myles Garrett 17.2%
Matthew Judon 17.2%
*min. 150 pass-rush snaps pic.twitter.com/M1TTJiswZC
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) November 24, 2021
With speed to burn, he’s been flying around weekly wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. He’s the leading candidate for DROY with 62 tackles, 8 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and 2 passes defensed.
Creed Humphrey (Center)
After losing Super Bowl 55 and being manhandled upfront, the Kansas City Chiefs knew they had to upgrade their offensive line. They drafted Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey and he’s been the best center in the NFL this season.
Anchoring a line that protects the best signal caller in the league is a lot of pressure but “HUMPH” as they call him has done it with ease. If offensive lineman actually got the respect they deserve, he’d be the front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year as he’s allowed a meager 7 QB pressures all season. Lockdown.
Highest-graded offensive rookie this season:
💥 Creed Humphrey 💥 pic.twitter.com/066THODwEn
— PFF (@PFF) November 23, 2021
Mac Jones (Quarterback)
New England Patriots QB Mac Jones doesn’t really “WOW” you but he also doesn’t make mistakes. With a great defense and ever improving running game the Pats are dangerous. With his cerebral play and accuracy (70.2% completion percentage) he’s now gaining steam for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Only Ja’Marr Chase stands between him and the award. Jones has passed for 2,549 yards with 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Alabama has been doling out starting QBs left and right and he’s the latest.
Ja’Marr Chase (Wide receiver)
It’s never a bad thing to reunite with the guy who tossed you 20 touchdown passes during a magical collegiate title run in 2019-20. Yup, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Burrow are back together in the NFL, and Chase has been even better than advertised for the Cincinnati Bengals. From his big-play ability to elite route-running, he’s been dynamic. Through seven games Chase had more receiving yards than any receiver in NFL history.
On Sunday night, Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater put on a blocking display against a good Steelers pass rush. His blindside protection for franchise QB Justin Herbert was just what LA needed to pull out a hard fought 41-37 win. The Bolts had over 500 yards of total offense (382 passing and 159 rushing), and Slater anchored a huge chunk of those through the air and on the ground. Slater has moved beyond the Pro Bowl discussion into the next realm which is All-Pro.
Rashawn Slater is all-pro ready as a rookie 😎 pic.twitter.com/bovs074gDE
— PFF (@PFF) November 24, 2021
Currently the sixth-rated tackle in the entire NFL, he’s tops the list for tackles that have played every game. Chargers landed a franchise QB and LT in back-to-back drafts.
The Indianapolis Colts defense has gotten better each week and edge rusher Kwity Paye is a huge reason why. Paye’s development has exploded over the last three weeks where he’s earned his three highest pass-rush grades. This past weekend he wreaked havoc on the Bills offensive line with a sack and forced fumble. Paye, has been the most impressive rookie edge rusher this season. The rookie’s eight QB pressures lead the Colts.
Things are beginning to turn for the better in Philly and wide receiver DeVonta Smith has played a signifiicant role in that. The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, has consistently shown the explosiveness and elite route-running that was on full display during his four-year tenure in Tuscaloosa.
DeVonta Smith says his mom isn’t in town, so he’ll be cooking his own Thanksgiving meal. Smith is whipping up some ham, mac & cheese and his fav dish: sweet potato pie.
“You’ve got to have them sweet potatoes.” pic.twitter.com/jmmZGiDd27
— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) November 24, 2021
The Eagles run game has been dynamic so the opportunities aren’t as plentiful as Smith would probably like, but when his number is called he’s been producing. Jalen Hurts and Smith were teammates at Alabama and are still developing chemistry. Smith has 46 receptions for 664 yards and 4 touchdowns. His 14.4 yards per catch average ranks second among rookies.
Not much has gone right in Miami this season following a 10-win season in 2020-21. The ascension of wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has been a bright spot in South Florida. Waddle is easily QB Tua Tagovailoa’s go-to-guy. Waddle’s (9.1 yards per catch) average is a bit low.
With a rookie-high 68 receptions for 622 yards and 3 touchdowns, but a lot of that is due to an offensive line incapable of holding blocks long enough to allow downfield routes to develop.
More news from our partners: