Bailey Zappe – NE (Round 4)
There is now weekly competition for rookie quarterbacks to make this team. Zappe takes it home for the second straight win after throwing just 4 incomplete passes (17-21) on 25 drop backs while adding 10 yards on the ground. He did throw an interception, but Zappe managed the game well in their blowout win over Detroit.
Honorable Mention: Kenny Pickett - PIT
Dameon Pierce – HOU (Round 4)
It was a very close call between Pierce and Breece Hall, who did end up producing nearly twice as many total yards. But in HOU’s first win of the season, a divisional seven-point win against a stingy defense, Pierce scored the game’s lone touchdown late to seal the victory. He ran the ball 2 times and gained 99 yards, 97 of which came after contact as he is giving off Marshawn Lynch vibes.
Honorable Mention: Breece Hall - NYJ
Chris Olave – NO (Round 1)
Olave played an abbreviated number of snaps because of a concussion that he suffered on the touchdown catch. He was in there for just 40% of the game’s snaps but still walked away with a line of 4/54/1, his second touchdown in as many weeks.
Honorable Mention: George Pickens - PIT
Cade Otton – TB (Round 4)
Otton is abruptly becoming the TE1 on a Bucs squad that plans to use the tight end in the passing game more and more as the season progresses, a staple of any Tom Brady-led offense. He caught 6 of 7 targets for just 43 yards but also contributed difference-making blocks up front. Normally it takes young tight ends a year before contributing to that department, but Otton has earned the trust of coaches via quality performance along every piece to playing the position, seeing an uptick in snaps all 5 weeks.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Bellinger (Round 4)
Ikem Ekwonu – CAR (Round 1)
Ekwonu has turned a hard corner after his week 1 debacle against Myles Garrett and the Browns. His past two games have been very good, but the week 5 performance was the best I have seen of any rookie lineman all year. The explosion off the snap and sticky hands in the run game are what we saw and fell in love with coming out of NC State a year ago. He allowed just 1 pressure on 52 passing plays to add.
Honorable Mention: Charles Cross (SEA)
Zion Johnson – LAC (Round 1)
Johnson threw a shutout (no pressures) for the first time this season as everyone on that line is being asked to step up with left tackle Rashawn Slater out for the year. The CLE defensive front, a weak group, stood no chance as LAC ran for 228 yards on 34 carries.
Honorable Mention: Cole Strange - NE
Sam Williams – DAL (Round 3)
Dallas is pressuring the quarterback better than everyone in the NFL. Their premiere player, Micah Parsons, was somewhat slowed by a groin strain. This opened the door for Williams who saw a season-high 26 snaps. He responded with 3 pressures and 2 tackles as DAL disrupted the Rams passing game all day long in their impressive road win.
Honorable Mention: Kayvon Thibodeaux - NYG
Logan Hall – TB (Round 2)
Hall saw an uptick in playing time and responded with 2 tackles, 1 pressure, and a sack (his second of the season). The TB defense is what has been keeping this team afloat as the offense continues to figure out their path with such a beat-up offensive line. Hall has transitioned to the league quickly and appears to be their top inside rusher.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Davis - PHI
Terrel Bernard – BUF (Round 3)
Bills star linebacker Tremaine Edmunds was out in their home matchup against PIT. This opened the door for Bernard who hadn’t seen much time leading up to this one. He ended with 6 tackles on just 25 snaps, displaying the kind of difference making speed sideline to sideline that the team drafted him for.
Honorable Mention: Troy Andersen - ATL
Tariq Woolen – SEA (Round 5)
Teams continue to test the freaky Woolen and with each week we ask ourselves how on earth this kid fell to day three. He intercepted a pass for the third straight week and added 4 tackles. Through 5 games, quarterbacks have a passer rating of 35.8 when throwing in his direction and are completing just half of their throws.
Honorable Mention: Sauce Gardner - NYJ
Rodney Thomas – IND (UDFA)
There is a lot going wrong in Indy, but there was a pleasant surprise in the beat-up defensive backfield Thursday night in their impressive defensive performance. Thomas led the way with an interception and a deep pass break up. He was also lined up for another pass break up down the field, but the referee got in the way and tripped Thomas. Nonetheless he was a key part to preventing DEN from scoring a touchdown in their much-needed win.
Honorable Mention: Jalen Pitre - HOU