Top Five NFL Rookies After Week 15 | Game Wrecker Kayvon Thibodeaux Keeps Giants In Command Of Playoff Fate

Kayvon Thibodeaux is one of the top NFL rookies of the NY Giants
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

It’s time to rank the top rookies in the NFL after Week 15. The New York Giants got a big game from 2022 No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux in a huge game with playoff implications versus the Commanders.

1. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Giants, Edge

The former Oregon Ducks star has been coming on strong in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s blitz-happy scheme. Blessed with unbelievable lean and bend on the edge, Thibodeaux caused havoc all night in the Giants’ 20-12 road win over the Commanders. In the game he totaled 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, forced fumble, fumble recovery and a return for a touchdown. He constantly got into the Commanders’ backfield, either blowing up the play himself or allowing another teammate to make a play.

Thibs said this in his postgame presser:

“Every team, they speak about it, we’re a family. Come on, man. Everybody’s not a family. But we are.”

2. Brock Purdy, Niners, QB

Purdy is known as “Mr. Irrelevant” for being the final pick in the 2022 NFL draft. But after a couple of stellar performances in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy isn’t irrelevant to NFL defenses. The former Iowa State star was sensational in the Niners’ big road win at Seattle last Thursday night, passing for 217 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his command of the huddle and offense that impressed most. His play helped San Fran clinch the NFC West title. In two starts he’s completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, along with five touchdowns and zero interceptions.

3. Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs, RB

When you think Pacheco you think toughness and will. That’s what the former seventh-rounder out of Rutgers brings to the Chiefs offensive juggernaut. In Sunday’s hard-fought 30-24 overtime win over the Texans, the rookie rushed for 86 yards on 11 carries. He also had two grabs for 15 yards, both resulting in first downs.

In his past six games he’s unseated starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire by rushing for 546 yards and a five yards per carry average. Pacheco has burst onto the scene and found a vital role in one of the NFL’s top offenses. His tough, hard-nosed running is vital to KC’s playoff success.

4. Kaiir Elam, Bills, CB

When the Bills took Elam, the former Gators shutdown corner, they hoped he could play behind starters Tre’Daviuous White and Taron Johnson. Fast-forward to the season, and Elam is the best corner on the roster, with White looking like a shell of his former All-Pro self and Johnson playing underwhelming. It’s been Elam who’s drawn the top assignment weekly, and he’s more than held his own on the corner.

His play allows defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to still bring intense pressure weekly.

5. James Houston, Lions, Edge

“The Problem” has been a problem for opposing offenses since Lions head coach Dan Campbell inserted the former Jackson State star into the starting lineup. Playing opposite of 2022 No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, Houston has accumulated five sacks in just four games. But, get this, he’s got 17 pressures in those games as well.

That’s a tell-tell sign of his real effect as a pass rusher, not just sacks.

“Obviously … I Should’ve Went Higher” | Detroit Lions HBCU Sack Master James Houston Out To Make NFL Teams Pay