CJ Stroud / HOU (Round 1)
Make it two straight comeback wins for not only the frontrunner for OROY, but someone who is now in the MVP discussion. While Stroud and the Texans were up for most of the game, they did get the ball back in the fourth quarter after CIN tied it up at 27 with 1:33 left. Three straight completions that gained 51 yards got them into field goal range and the rest was history. He threw for 356 yards and that was with three balls dropped by receivers.
Honorable Mention: Aidan O’Connell /LV
Jahmyr Gibbs / DET (Round 1)
Following the team’s bye week, Gibbs and veteran David Montgomery came out and led the Lions to a road win over LAC. Gibbs had 112 total yards, two rushing touchdowns, and continued his streak of fumbles put on the turf. He averaged just under six yards per touch.
Honorable Mention: Keaton Mitchell / BAL
Demario Douglas / NE (Round 6)
Just as he did throughout camp and preseason, Douglas jumped off the screen in New England’s overseas matchup, finishing with 84 yards on six catches. His 67 yards gained after the catch offer a much needed element to the team’s otherwise slow and anemic passing game.
Honorable Mention: Zay Flowers / BAL
Dalton Kincaid / BUF (Round 1)
The rookie tight ends are heating up just as we thought they would. Remember, it is one of the hardest positions to adjust to from college to the NFL early on. Kincaid was the most targeted receiver in Buffalo’s wonky Monday night loss that led to the firing of Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey. He caught five of six targets for 51 yards and a touchdown. Expect more balls thrown his way, as he leads the NFL in catch percentage among players with 50+ targets.
Honorable Mention: Michael Mayer / LV
Paris Johnson / ARZ (Round 1)
Johnson pitched a shutout on 40 dropbacks in Kyler Murray’s return. As good as Josh Dobbs played, expect to see another level of offense and overall optimism as they appear to have both tackle spots locked up and a quarterback they feel can be built around. Johnson’s leadership and physical nature are a huge part of that.
Honorable Mention: Broderick Jones / PIT
Peter Skoronski / TEN (Round 1)
While the Titans' line struggled, Skoronski shined on all levels and there is some local chatter about the college left tackle shifting to the outside. He does appear to be their best pass protector and they need to protect Will Levis at all costs. His ability to change up his approach when engaged with the defender looks incredibly savvy for a rookie with just a handful of complete games under his belt. A story worth keeping track of.
Honorable Mention: O’Cyrus Torrence / BUF
BJ Ojulari / ARZ (Round 2)
Time to take off the training wheels for Ojulari. In a season-high 37 snaps, we saw him record his first career sack, and then his second. He added a hurry and 6 tackles. They had him line up in multiple spots, including in the slot. Expect to see him play at or near this snap count for the rest of the year.
Honorable Mention: YaYa Diaby / TB
Keeanu Benton / PIT (Round 2)
Benton extended his streak to five games straight with a pressure. Not bad for a guy who was primarily drafted to stuff the run. He had two of them and added six tackles, three of which were stops. In addition, he batted a pass at the line. It has been two straight weeks where he surpassed the 44-snap mark.
Honorable Mention: Calijah Kancey / TB
Jack Campbell / DET (Round 1)
Playing just over half the snaps within the Lions' rotation at the position, Campbell had 5 tackles which included a big fourth down stop where he made a timely and accurate read post-snap and beat the blocker to the point. His contact is heavy and the range within the tackle box was a factor in their solid run defense.
Honorable Mention: Ivan Pace Jr. / MIN
Mekhi Blackmon / MIN (Round 3)
Two rookie corners and their quick development while in the fire have been key reasons why Minnesota has stayed above water. Blackmon came up with a game sealing interception in the fourth quarter in their surprise win over New Orleans. His last three games have been up there with some of the best rookies in the league.
Honorable Mention: Clark Phillips III / ATL
Jordan Battle / CIN (Round 3)
One of the final picks of day two is also one of two defensive back rookies on the same team who has stepped up in a big way. While his playing time was limited (just 11 snaps), Battle made the most of them. He had 3 tackles and limited yards after catch.
Honorable Mention: Jartavius Martin / WAS