Bailey Zappe / NE (Round 4)
Make it 2 wins and 2 starts for the spring-2021 starter at Houston Baptist University, the original program he played at prior to his transfer to Western Kentucky. In the Patriots’ 38-15 win over the Browns on the road, Zappe went 24/39 for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. With Mac Jones still out, Zappe is proving to be an ideal fit under the simple NE offensive system that some are already saying may be the better fit than the 2021 first rounder. Are we looking at a Brady/Bledsoe re-do?
Honorable Mention: Kenny Pickett / PIT
Breece Hall / NYJ (Round 2)
77 of Hall’s 116 yards came after contact and his 34-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter lengthened the team’s lead from 7 to 14 points in Green Bay. He also added 2 catches for 5 yards to keep his consecutive game streak with a reception alive at 6. The team is now 3-0 when Hall averages over 5 yards per carry and he is consistently seeing over two thirds of the offensive snaps for the 4-2 Jets.
Honorable Mention: Kenneth Walker III / SEA
Tyquan Thornton / NE (Round 2)
It was a slow start to Thornton’s career as he suffered a collar bone injury during preseason. He scored two second half touchdowns, both of which lengthened the team’s lead from one score to two. He caught 4 passes for 37 yards and carried the ball 3 times for 16 yards, including one of them being a 19-yard touchdown. NE will have to keep going into their bag of tricks to put points on the board and watching them experiment with using Thornton in a variety of ways, two of which resulting in scores, is a sign of things to come.
Honorable Mention: Alec Pierce / IND
Daniel Bellinger / NYG (Round 4)
The day one starter at tight end that was drafted on the final day of the draft has quickly matured into a quality player at a position that is extremely difficult to transition from college to pro year one typically. Bellinger has been on the steady ascent in every facet of the game and is an overlooked, but key reason why the team is 5-1. He caught all 5 of his targets for 38 yards (both led the team) and scored a fourth quarter touchdown in their comeback win over BAL.
Honorable Mention: Jake Ferguson / DAL
Jamaree Salyer – LAC (Round 6)
Salyer has had the starting job at left tackle for 3 weeks and this is the second time he has made the All-Rookie team. The sixth rounder, who did not play tackle throughout preseason, pitched a shutout in pass protection and continues to get movement off the ball as a run blocker. LAC has multiple issues on offense, but Salyer isn’t one of them.
Honorable Mention: Ikem Ekwonu (CAR)
Luke Fortner – JAC (Round 3)
The Jaguars put out one of their best offensive performances of the season on the road against the Colts. Fornter, who faced off against the tough IND interior, allowed just 1 pressure as he continued to show a solid level of play he’s been putting on tape all season.
Honorable Mention: Spencer Burford (ATL)
Arnold Ebiketie – ATL (Round 2)
A breakout game for the young edge rusher that saw a career-high 82% of the snaps, Ebiketie has given Atlanta reason for hope on the defensive side of the ball. He absolutely ate on Sunday with SF left tackle Trent Williams out but make no mistake, he wrecked the game on both sides and even impacted the game up the middle. He had 3 tackles, 7 pressures, and hit the quarterback twice.
Honorable Mention: Kayvon Thibodeaux / NYG
Travis Jones / BAL (Round 3)
Jones broke out in a game where he saw a season-high 37 snaps. He ended the game with 4 tackles, his first career sack, and 2 pressures. NYG had a hard time running the ball inside and Jones, drafted mainly for his ability to control the inside gaps, manhandled the NYG interior.
Honorable Mention: Otito Ogbonnia / LAC
Troy Andersen / ATL (Round 2)
An opportunity came his way, and Andersen took full advantage. In his first career start he played every single one of the team’s defensive snaps and led the team with 13 tackles in their upset win over the run-heavy Niners. He continued to make an impact on special teams as well with his elite speed and tackling in space ability.
Honorable Mention: Quay Walker / GB
Tariq Woolen / SEA (Round 5)
The defensive rookie of the year to this point continued to shine and stay red hot in the team’s win over ARZ. Woolen had 5 tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception for the 4th straight week. He leads the NFL in interceptions now and is getting to the point where quarterbacks are going to have to avoid throwing his way. They are working with a 35.4 passer rating when throwing in his direction.
Honorable Mention: Ahmad Gardner / NYJ
Jaquan Brisker / CHI (Round 2)
Brisker was one of the few highlights for the Bears in their home loss against WAS. He had 5 tackles and 1 sack with solid pure coverage that helped contain the aggressive downfield passing attack WAS has shown in recent weeks.
Honorable Mention: Rodney Thomas / IND