Welcome to the ultimate NFL rookie of the year tracking guide. Each week we’ll update based on who is hot, leading into award season. So bookmark this post now.
Latest Update: With Week 10 of the NFL season in the books, we’ve got the latest updates in our rankings for this year’s NFL Rookie of the Year candidates.
It was an eventful slate of games, with plenty of performances that brought some changes to the race for the honor of the best rookie. Two teams who are struggling in the standings can at least look to their budding superstars on this top ten rookie list. While two rookie quarterbacks struggled in tough matchups, they still find themselves near the top.
While several defenders just barely missed the cut, as the weather grows colder, look for more defenders to make their presence known as the season goes on. The race for Defensive Rookie of the Year in particular is a tough one to narrow down at the moment with plenty of competition coming from all around the league.
Contenders for the Offensive Rookie of the Year race are starting to separate themselves from the competition in the lower ranks.
Here are the top-10 offensive and defensive rookies around the NFL for the 2020-2021 NFL season.
NFL schedule: Week 11 game-by-game predictions
NFL Rookie of the Year – Week 11
10. CeeDee Lamb, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys (LW: 8)
A bye week prevented Lamb from improving on his 595 yards and three touchdowns. Fortunately, he’ll have a great shot to build on his stats in Week 11. Facing a banged-up Minnesota Vikings secondary, with Andy Dalton back under center, Lamb should post some impressive numbers. He is averaging 66.1 receiving yards per game for a struggling Cowboys offense. Lamb has two 100-yard performances through nine games.
9. Tee Higgins, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals (LW: Not Ranked)
As a rising star for the Bengals, Higgins has had several impressive games already. With 115 more receiving yards on Sunday, Higgins now has two 100-yard performances to his credit through nine games. Up to 603 yards and four touchdowns on the year, Higgins and Joe Burrow have formed a deadly combination in their first season together. Higgins is currently averaging the sixth-most receiving yards per game by a rookie in NFL history.
8. Chase Claypool, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 7)
Helping Pittsburgh cruise to a 9-0 record, Claypool had 56 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in Week 10. He also saw 10-plus targets for the second week in a row. Claypool is fifth in the NFL with nine total touchdowns across nine games. His seven receiving touchdowns rank sixth in the league. For the season, Claypool has 35 receptions totaling 500 yards. He just needs to start remembering his touchdown celebrations.
7. Antonio Gibson, running back, Washington Football Team (LW: Not Ranked)
Entering the rankings for the first time, Gibson jumps up to seventh place in one week. After scoring four touchdowns in his past three games, he has earned his place. He is an impressive all-purpose back, with 436 rushing yards, 202 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Coming into the league after running a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Gibson has been a third-round steal for the Washington Football Team.
6. Chase Young, defensive end, Washington Football Team (LW: 6)
Sunday against the Detroit Lions, Chase Young made a bone-headed mistake, hitting Matthew Stafford much after he released the ball, leading to a 15-yard penalty, which helped set up the game-winning field goal as Washington lost their sixth game of the season. Chalk it up to a rookie mistake. Prior to that game, Young had the most QB pressures among rookies with 17. With 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble through eight starts, he is in the mix for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
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5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back, Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 4)
Depending on your viewpoint, Clyde Edwards-Helaire either landed in a nightmare scenario as a rookie as far as being featured within an offense. Or he landed on the ultimate dream team by pairing up with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs as they are pretty much guaranteed to make the playoffs at 8-1. But I don’t think he’s complaining. His bye week knocked him down to ninth in the NFL with 586 rushing yards in nine games after previously being fourth before the bye. As a 21-year-old rookie, CEH has yet to fumble through 154 total touches.
4. James Robinson, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 3)
Coming off his third 100-yard game as a rusher, James Robinson is now fifth in the league with 689 yards. Adding in his 228 receiving yards, he has the ninth-most scrimmage yards (917). While Robinson’s success isn’t leading to victories, Jacksonville is elated with the returns from this undrafted signee. Although he is fifth in the NFL with 184 touches, the rookie has only lost one fumble in nine starts.
3. Joe Burrow, quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 2)
Facing a top-five defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe Burrow struggled to get anything going. Completing just over 52% of his passes, Burrow had just 213 yards and one passing touchdown. With his offensive line playing Red Rover, he was under pressure seemingly all day, which led to him taking four sacks.
While nobody expected the Bengals to beat the undefeated Steelers, fans hoped the No. 1 overall pick would make it a competitive game. After nine starts, Burrow is averaging 276.1 passing yards per game, which places him ninth in the NFL. His next game comes against Washington, who currently allows the fewest passing yards per game (194.7).
2. Justin Herbert, quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 1)
On Sunday, Justin Herbert became the first rookie in NFL history to have at least two touchdown passes in six consecutive games. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to win. Of the team’s seven losses this season, six have been one-score defeats. That has to be frustrating. There is some hope on the horizon, with the New York Jets coming to town in Week 11. As a rookie, Herbert is eighth in the NFL with 19 touchdown passes. Despite being the third quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, there is a real case to be made that Herbert has been the best one so far.
1. Justin Jefferson, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings (LW: 5)
A good showing from his quarterback led to Justin Jefferson’s fourth 100-yard game this season. By catching eight passes for 135 yards on Monday Night Football, Jefferson now has 762 receiving yards. He is on pace to have 75 receptions for 1,355 yards. If those numbers seem impressive for a rookie, it’s because they are. In fact, they would best Randy Moss’ 69 catches for 1,313 yards he had as a rookie in 1998. After nine games, Jefferson has a great chance to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
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Author: Andrew Buller-Russ