We got big-time rookies playing impactful roles in determining the playoff fortunes of their squads in Week 17
Parsons is a freak of nature, and he was just named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 30, 2021
Parsons has shown no fundamental weaknesses this season. He flew around making tackles to hunting QBs as an elite edge rusher. Parsons has 18 tackles for loss through 15 games, which ranks second in the NFL.
He’ll easily win the Defensive Rookie of the Year, and he’s also a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. MP11 is looking to join the Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor as the only player to win as a rookie.
Season stats: 79 tackles, 13 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three passes defensed
2. Jaylen Waddle – WR (Dolphins)
The Miami Dolphins began the season 1-7 but are now on a seven-game win streak and currently hold the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC at 8-7. Waddle is a huge reason why they’ve turned their season around.
His 96 receptions are just five shy of the NFL rookie record held by Anquan Boldin in 2003. Waddle broke the franchise rookie record for receiving yards in a season held by Chris Chambers. The Tagovailoa-to-Waddle connection began at Alabama and has carried over to the NFL.
Can’t get enough of the Waddle 🐧 @D1__JW
— NFL (@NFL) December 28, 2021
Season stats: 96 Receptions, 941 yards, five touchdowns
3. Kyle Pitts – TE (Falcons)
The Falcons rookie tight end has quietly put together a solid season. The talented 6-foot-6 matchup nightmare has come on strong as of late for the “Dirty Birds,” who at 7-8 have probably overachieved considering what they lost and what was expected of them this season.
Pitts has been a constant reminder that the cupboard in Atlanta isn’t bare. It just needs more pieces. KP is the only rookie tight end in league history to have 60 or more catches for 900 or more yards in a single season.
The only criticism would have to be his one touchdown. That seems to be a problem in the “ATL,” as Julio Jones didn’t touch paydirt as often as he should’ve when he played. Pitts needs 128 yards over the final two games to break Mike Ditka’s record for most receiving yards by a rookie tight end.
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) December 23, 2021
Season stats: 64 receptions, 949 yards, one touchdown.
4. Ja’Marr Chase — WR (Bengals)
In Week 16 Chase looked like the early season weapon he had been, when the league had no answer. After hitting the proverbial rookie wall for about five to six weeks, Chase was up to his old tricks against Baltimore. He tallied 125 yards receiving, giving him 326 in two matchups against the Ravens.
Chase had more yards than any player in league history through the first seven weeks. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Chase is in line to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is also a Pro Bowl starter by votes.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) December 23, 2021
Season stats: 68 receptions, 1,163 yards, 10 touchdowns
5. Creed Humphrey – C (Chiefs)
Chiefs center Creed Humphrey is always representing the big guys up front. The generational talent rookie is already the league’s best center. He anchors an offensive line that has opened up huge running lanes and protected Patrick Mahomes at an elite level during their current eight-game winning streak.
He does it with technique, power and toughness. The impenetrable wall in front of the league’s best quarterback.
Season stats: He’s allowed five QB pressures all season. That’s INSANE!!!!
These last two games for the Patriots will determine their playoff fate and whether Jones can lock down Rookie of the Year.
Jevon Holland – S (Dolphins)
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