Brock Purdy / SF (Round 7)
Mr. Irrelevant keeps the streak alive and is now very much in the discussion for top rookie quarterback of the season. Purdy went 15/22 for 234 yards, producing a season-best 10.6 yards per attempt. He threw multiple touchdowns for the fourth time in four starts. He has now increased his average depth of target in every single start on the season.
Honorable Mention: Kenny Pickett (PIT)
James Cook / BUF (Round 2)
Cook led the team with 99 yards and he needed just 11 carries to get there. The swift mover had three runs of 15+ yards and added a reception for another 9 yards. He is settling into the team’s number one back role as the playoffs loom. This was just the third time all year he was used exclusively in the backfield and not at wide receiver.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Allgeier (ATL)
George Pickens / PIT (Round 2)
The struggling PIT offense (29th in scoring) has made it difficult for Pickens to get the same amount of looks as some of the other early-pick rookie receivers. He made the most out of his opportunities in week 16. On just 5 targets, he brought in 5 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. The score was the only touchdown on the day for PIT and it came with :46 left to put them ahead.
Honorable Mention: Jahan Dotson (WAS)
Jelani Woods / IND (Round 3)
Despite the anemic IND offense, Woods had multiple standout plays. He caught 3 passes for 43 yards and his average depth of target was 18 yards, a season high. The size/speed combination is in a rare tier and he is putting together a lot of quality snaps. As a blocker, Woods has extended his no-penalty streak to 13 games and is showing a nice blend of power against linemen and speed against linebackers.
Honorable Mention: Greg Dulcich (DEN)
Braxton Jones / CHI (Round 5)
There may not be a more improved rookie from week one to right now than Jones. He allowed just one pressure against BUF and was dominant in the running game. There are multiple holes along that OL but Jones has filled one of them.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Smith (DAL)
Tyler Linderbaum / BAL (Round 1)
Because of the quarterback situation in BAL, they have been forced into feeding even more off the running game. They ran the ball 34 times vs 18 passes. Linderbaum responded well and proved he is more than just an athlete that can pull to the outside. He has credible power and pop off the snap moving upfield.
Honorable Mention: Cordell Volson (CIN)
Travon Walker / JAX (Round 1)
It was not the strongest week for rookie edge defenders, but Walker stood out with two impact plays. He had three tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. The versatile alignment he continues to show is a major difference maker for the defense that has turned it up in recent weeks to put the team into the playoff discussion.
Honorable Mention: Jermaine Johnson (NYJ)
Travis Jones / BAL (Round 3)
On a career-high 30 snaps, Jones had his best game of the season in BAL’s tough-earned old school matchup against ATL. The Falcons are top five in the NFL in rushing and they pound it on the ground third most. Jones was drafted to stuff the run and he did exactly that with 4 tackles, all near the line of scrimmage and plenty of unsung-hero work against double teams.
Honorable Mention: Zachary Carter (CIN)
Christian Harris / HOU (Round 3)
Harris has been thrown into the fire without much help in front of him on the defensive line. He shows up every week, has been fairly productive against the run, and shows the flashes that stem from elite speed and burst. It finally turned in a big time performance. He had 6 tackles, 2 pass break ups, and an interception in their win over TEN.
Honorable Mention: Devin Lloyd (JAX)
Cobie Durant / LAR (Round 4)
LAR is already looking to 2023 and these games are a huge deal for young players like Durant. In a season 51 snaps, Durant came away with 2 interceptions, one of which was a pick six. He is proving to be a playmaker as this was his second touchdown in just five games this season. This was a great bounce back performance after his struggles in week 15 against GB.
Honorable Mention: Trent McDuffie (KC)
Rodney Thomas II / IND (Round 7)
Thomas has quietly been one of the top rookie defensive backs this season. While the game was still close, Thomas came down with his third interception of the season and his second in as many weeks. He did not allow any catches, he did not miss any tackles, and had six takedowns. A mistake-free game in addition to a turnover, sign me up.
Honorable Mention: Jalen Pitre (HOU)