As we now move into the second quarter of the season, we’re starting to see some rookies start to cement their place in the standings for Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year. In week 5, these were the rookies that stood out.
Dameon Pierce, Running Back – Houston Texans
My first returning player to these rankings, and he’s done it back to back! After last week’s amazing effort against the Los Angeles Chargers, Pierce took a deserved spot on this list despite being on the losing side. This time, however, he drove the Texans to their first win of the season after a low-scoring close affair against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Not only did Pierce punch in the go-ahead touchdown that gave the Texans their first win of the season, but he also had 3 receptions for 16 yards and 26 carries for 99 yards. These are not amazing numbers if you just look at the basic stats, but when you take into account that 97 of those yards were after contact, it’s just ridiculous. In fact, just watch this angry run below.
Sauce Gardner, Cornerback – New York Jets
Sauce has been unlucky to not appear in these rankings yet, but there was no way I could ignore him as he helped the Jets defence dominate the Miami Dolphins from their very first play from scrimmage.
Teddy Bridgewater, who was playing in the place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa, lined up to take his first snap of the game and an unblocked Sauce unloaded on him, driving him to the dirt and forcing an intentional grounding penalty and subsequent safety as Bridgewater threw the ball in the endzone.
Sauce finished the game with 5 tackles, 1 pass defended, and his first career interception. He also finished with an allowed passer rating of 34.2, which is worse than if the Dolphins QB had just spiked it every play.
Breece Hall, Running Back – New York Jets
So not only do I have my first returning player, but I also have two players from the same team for the first time this year. If Sauce helped the Jets dominate the Dolphins defensively, then Hall was the standout on offence as he displayed why he could be the next dual-threat running back weapon.
In what can be considered his breakout game, Hall had a monstrous day, picking up an incredible 100 yards on a measly 2 receptions, as well as having 18 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, his first in the NFL. The twenty-one-year-old Hall, who was drafted in the second round by the Jets, is now leading all rookies in scrimmage yards and is on the verge of breaking into the top ten among all NFL players.
For the first time this season, I wanted to give a couple of honorable mentions to a trio of cornerbacks who just missed out on a spot. Those are Tariq Woolen (Seattle Seahawks), Jack Jones (New England Patriots), and Derek Stingley (Houston Texans).