With teams favoured in the offseason like the Packers, Bucs, and Broncos continuing to struggle, whilst the two written-off New York teams are shocking everyone, this NFL season seems to get stranger and stranger. In week 7, these were the rookies that stood out.
Kenneth Walker III, Running Back – Seattle Seahawks
Running back seems to be a position I give a lot of love to, but the numbers some of these rookies are putting up are incredible. Unfortunately, Bryce Hall is now done for the season after his heartbreaking ACL injury, so the rookie rushing title seems to be between previous standout Dameon Pierce and this week’s standout Kenneth Walker III.
Walker was thrust into the lineup after Rashaad Penny’s unfortunate season-ending injury, and the second rounder out of Michigan State has made the most of his opportunities. Against the Chargers, Walker was steadily working his way towards another 100-plus yard game before his blistering 74-yard touchdown run in the middle of the 4th quarter, which saw him hit 22.09 miles per hour, the fastest speed by a ball carrier this season.
Sam Williams, Edge – Dallas Cowboys
In a defence that already has reigning defensive rookie of the year Micah Parsons, Dorance Armstrong and Demarcus Williams, the last thing the league wanted to see was another Dallas defender breakout, but that’s exactly what Sam Williams did despite playing less than a quarter of the defensive snaps against the Lions
On a day where the Cowboys shared the wealth around with four different players recording a sack, Williams helped himself not only to his first ever career sack but followed it up with the smoothest strip sack and fumble recovery you will ever see, which effectively sealed the game for Dallas. After beating Penei Sewell around the edge, Williams seemed to literally take the ball out of Jared Goff’s hands before he even realised it was gone.
Jaquan Brisker, Safety – Chicago Bears
Coming into Monday night’s game against the New England Patriots, few thought that the Chicago Bears’ defence would have much luck against the returning Mac Jones (and later Bailey Zappe), but that could not have been further from the truth, and two of the reasons why were Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon.
The former Penn State man, Brisker, gets the nod here due in part to there being two parts to his incredible interception of Jones that had a slight air of revenge about it. Early in the second quarter, Jones took off on a run, and as he slid down, he curiously raised his foot, which connected with Brisker in a certain sensitive area. Brisker’s revenge was swift and sweet, however, as mere minutes later he recorded his first career interception with a stunning one-handed grab that showed both his athleticism and anticipation skills.
Sauce Gardner (New York Jets), Coby Bryant (Seattle Seahawks), Aiden Hutchinson (Detroit Lions), Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints), Dameon Pierce (Houston Texans)