Brock Purdy / SF (Round 7)
The Niners dismantled the Bucs early and kept their foot on their throats through the finish. Purdy certainly did not look like a rookie, let alone the final pick of the draft, in his first career start. The footwork, tempo, and pocket mobility looked comfortable and natural. He went 16/21 passing for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns while adding another score on the ground.
Honorable Mention: Anthony Brown (BAL)
Isaiah Pacheco / KC (Round 7)
KC got involved in a tighter-than-expected game on the road against the division rival Broncos. The ground game was needed, especially for some tough yards in the second half, and Pacheco responded. He had 70 yards on 13 carries which included a season-high 5 forced missed tackles. He also was a major factor as a pass blocker.
Zonovan Knight (NYJ)
Garrett Wilson / NYJ (Round 1)
A week after setting the season-high mark league wide amongst rookies for a single game receiving mark, Wilson once again led the Jets with 78 yards on 6 catches. He went 2 for 2 in contested situations and extended his dropless streak to 8 games. Wilson is seeing plenty of snaps out wide and from the slot, as the skill set is set up well for both and NYJ is capitalizing on it.
Honorable Mention: George Pickens (PIT)
Chigoziem Okonkwo / TEN (Round 4)
As we get closer and closer to postseason action, Okonkwo is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the passing game. He caught all 6 of his season-high targets for 45 yards and a touchdown against JAX. The explosive athlete is lining up in the slot twice as often as in-line, creating mismatches in space for an air attack that needs a spark.
Trey McBride (ARZ)
Abraham Lucas / SEA (Round 3)
It was not a great overall weekend for the rookie tackles. While Lucas gave a bit too much as a run blocker, he pitched a near-shut out. Just 1 pressure. The physical and light-footed edge protector has developed into a player that has the look of someone that has been in the league for years.
Cole Strange / NE (Round 1)
NE’s road win in ARZ was heavily fueled by their wins in the trenches. Strange did not allow a single pressure on 39 drop backs and showed both a level of stoutness and quickness in the tackle box.
Honorable Mention: Zion Johnson (LAC)
Travon Walker / JAX (Round 1)
Walker has been a steady force as a pass rusher over the past month. His development is fully under way and it turned into 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 pressures in their upset win over TEN. The way he is using his hand strength and length was a factor in containing the overall impact of the TEN running game and he forced a fumble on his sack. All of this on a bad ankle that limited his playing time to a season-low 34 snaps.
Honorable Mention: Aidan Hutchinson (DET)
Ryder Anderson / NYG (UDFA)
After being called up from the practice squad because of an injury to starter Leonard Williams, Anderson was one of the few bright spots for NYG in their blowout loss. He recorded his first career sack in the second half and added another tackle.
Honorable Mention: Travis Jones (BAL)
Malcolm Rodriguez / DET (Round 6)
Rodriguez added to his total tackles with another 5 in DET’s upset win over the division leading Vikings. The most impressive trait to his game is the low missed tackle rate. It is one of the best in the league at the position and he has not missed one since week 9.
Honorable Mention: Damone Clark (DAL)
Sauce Gardner / NYJ (Round 1)
While BUF came away with the division win, Gardner was arguably the best player on the field from both teams. He has been everything the franchise hoped he would be and more. He was in coverage for 35 snaps, majority of which matched up against Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis, and allowed just 1 catch for 6 yards with a pass break up.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Jones (NE)
Kerby Joseph / DET (Round 3)
Joseph rounds out an impressive game by DET defensive rookies at all three levels. He finished with 5 tackles and 0 misses but his biggest play of the game was a fumble recovery. He was targeted just two times, one of which ended up being completed for 9 yards.
Honorable Mention: Jalen Pitre (HOU)