Joe Burrow / CIN – Round 1
In one of the most surprising upsets of Week 8, Burrow once again led the feisty Bengals to a better-than-predicted performance. He was missing two starting offensive linemen and their starting running back but he still went on to a 26/37/249/2 performance. Burrow has elevated everyone on that offense much like he did at LSU a year ago.
Zack Moss / BUF – Round 3
Buffalo is about to take over the AFC East for the first time since 1995, two years before Moss was born. He is taking over the top backfield role with Devin Singletary battling injury, as he finished with 81 yards on 14 carries with 2 touchdowns. He is making defenders miss and pushing piles, providing the BUF rushing game yet another option.
Brandon Aiyuk / SF – Round 1
Aiyuk led the team in catches and yards while also adding a touchdown for the second time in three weeks. The team overall has been ravaged by injuries but now with their starting QB, TE, and multiple running backs on the sideline, Aiyuk’s versatile skill set is going to be a huge factor in whether or not they can keep the wheels going.
Albert Okwuegbunam / DEN – Round 4
With Noah Fant getting healthy, Okwuegbunam saw his playing time dip but Drew Lock’s former college teammate at Missouri made it count. He caught his lone target for a 9-yard touchdown while also drawing two pass interference penalties. This young DEN offense has a lot of interesting weapons that could be a dangerous group in the coming years.
Tristan Wirfs / TB – Round 1
Wirfs is no longer considered just the top rookie tackle in the league, but perhaps the best right tackle in the game. He neutralized whoever lined up across from him in TB’s win against NYG. His anchor and heavy hands constantly control the man and he never seems off balance.
Ezra Cleveland / MIN – Round 2
In Cleveland’s first start of his career, Dalvin Cook ran wild in Green Bay. A left tackle in college, Cleveland’s athletic ability and body control makes him an ideal fit for the MIN zone blocking scheme. He created a lot of movement at the point of attack and didn’t allow any pressures.
Alton Robinson / SEA – Round 5
Robinson recorded 3 tackles and a sack which is impressive, but his impact was even greater than that. He was a key cog in shutting down SF’s outside running game and he also added 2 pressures against the broken SF passing attack.
Tershawn Wharton / KC – UDFA
Wharton picked up the first sack of his career against NYJ while adding 4 tackles. He has quietly been one of the top rookie defenders in the NFL despite his less-than-ideal size for the position. His power and quickness off the snap combined with his top tier balance and control make him near-impossible for blockers to latch onto.
Jordyn Brooks / SEA – Round 1
Brooks earns a spot on the All Rookie team for the second straight week. He finished with 4 tackles against SF as they shut down their running game, notably to the outside. His speed is factoring in coverage as well, as he works the seam against tight ends and receivers alike. He is such an ideal fit for what SEA does on defense and he is reminiscent of a young Bobby Wagner.
Trevon Diggs / DAL – Round 2
It has been an up and down year for Diggs, who has been thrown directly into the line of fire perhaps before he was truly ready for it. While he has taken his lumps, he had a breakout game in Philadelphia. He finished with 2 interceptions, 4 pass break ups, and 7 tackles. Both of his interceptions displayed top tier ball skills.
Jeremy Chinn / CAR – Round 2
Chinn is making a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year with how consistently he makes a versatile impact on this defense. He led the team with 10 tackles while adding a PD and QB hit. Chinn also gained 28 yards on a fake punt as this coaching staff is finding countless ways for him to impact the game.