Let’s Check in on the 2018 NFL Rookie of the Year Race


We are 75% of the way through the American football season. Hard to believe, but here we are. Let’s take a look at where NFL Rookie of the Year race stands.

2018 NFL Rookie of the Year Race

Long shots

14. Jessie Bates – The Bengals rookie has five pass deflections and three interceptions. Definitely reason for optimism in Cincinnati, but it isn’t going to pop in a defensive rookie class that includes Derwin James, Darius Leonard, Bradley Chubb, and the like.

13. Donte Jackson – A lot of people were concerned about the Panthers secondary heading into the season, but Jackson certainly appears to be the future of the position. Jackson has deflected seven passes this season and tallied four interceptions (which is good for 4th in the entire NFL).

12. Sony Michel – Be it due to injuries or usage, Michel just hasn’t put the consistency together to be considered for this award. Still, 649 rushing yards and five touchdowns is a respectable rookie season.

11. Quenton Nelson – Real talk – Nelson could very well be playing better than any other rookie in the league this year. Dude is a behemoth at guard, and the Indianapolis Colts have a vastly improved offensive line because of it. I’m including him in the long shots simply because you never see an offensive lineman take home the hardware.


10. D.J. Moore – Moore looks like he’s going to be the force the Panthers have been missing on offense for a while now, but it just took him a little too long to get started for him to be considered in this race.

9. Leighton Vander Esch – The rookie linebacker has seven passes deflected and two interceptions on the season for the Cowboys. He’s become a force on one of the more underrated defenses in the league.

8. Calvin Ridley – Ridley has cooled off considerably since he started the season with six touchdowns through the first four games. He’s still first among rookies with 647 yards on 50 receptions.

7. Nick Chubb – 694 rushing yards on the season, but 521 of that came in the last six games. Now, we’re starting to see why the Browns selected him so early in the draft…but why the hell did it take so long to start feeding him the ball?

6. Phillip Lindsay – Lindsay has crept up to the 4th spot in NFL rushing yards with 937 yards. He has eight touchdowns on the ground as well. It sure looks like the Broncos hit the jackpot signing this kid as an undrafted free agent.

5. Bradley Chubb – Chubb is proving to be a pass rush force for the Denver Broncos with 10 sacks. He and Von Miller should make for a formidable defense for years to come.


4. Baker Mayfield – The Browns quarterback is clearly the best among rookie signal callers, but I think the work he’s done in lifting the Browns out of the pit of misery deserves some credit. He is a dynamic force on offense – completing 63.3% of his passes and posting 2,639 passing yards and 18 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Dude’s the future.

3. Derwin James – If you didn’t realize what a force the rookie safety was, go back and watch the Chargers victory over the Steelers on Sunday Night Football. James has 12 pass deflections, which are tied with Jets safety Jamal Adams for the most in the league among safeties. Plus, his 3.5 sacks are the most among defensive backs in the NFL. He has two interceptions as well – just a dominant season for the rookie safety.

2. Darius Leonard – Leonard is absolutely ridiculous. Dude has my vote for Defensive Rookie of the Year (even though I don’t vote on such awards). He is the prototypical do-it-all OLB – a tackling machine with an interception and four forced fumbles.

1. Saquon Barkley – the Giants running back has to be considered the front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He’s third in the NFL in rushing yards with 954. He has eight rushing touchdowns to go with it, and 74 catches for 602 yards and four receiving touchdowns to boot. He’s on pace for over 2,000 total yards, and 16 total touchdowns. Safe to say that he has a comfortable lead in the race right now.

Call your shot, SoBros Nation – who’s earning ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors on offense and defense?

Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley

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