With the usual Christmas slate running over the weekend, there was plenty of action on the table this week. With plenty of gifts being exchanged (Broncos, we’re looking at you), let’s look at the rookie standouts this week:
Brock Purdy, Quarterback – San Francisco 49ers
Is it time to take Brock Purdy seriously as the 49ers start their march towards the playoffs? Purdy now has three starts under his belt and looks more like a starting quarterback in this league than some of his peers.
In Sunday’s game, Purdy posted career highs across the board, finishing with 234 yards passing on 22 attempts, averaging 10.6 yards per attempt. While he did throw an interception, he also threw for two touchdowns. Amazingly, the 49ers have scored 2.52 points per offensive drive with Purdy under centre, which ranks fourth in the NFL, and if you were to take away the kneel-downs, it would move to 2.76, which is good enough to be the best in the league. If he continues these stellar performances, then the 49ers are going to find themselves with a real quarterback headache next season, only a year after the last one.
Kenneth Walker III, Running Back – Seattle Seahawks
Despite the Seahawks falling to a disappointing 24-10 defeat against the Chiefs, they can once again look to their rookie running back Kenneth Walker III as a bright spot for the future, even if they do end up missing out on the playoffs.
This past week was Walker’s third game this season where he has rushed over 100 yards, with him finishing this week with 26 carries for 107 yards at a rate of 4.1 yards per carry. The elusive Walker also forced five missed tackles, and he was able to move the chains six times. He’s now sitting at 803 yards for the season, and if he produces similar performances for the last two games, he could join Seahawks Ring of Honor member Curt Warner as the only backs in franchise history to break 1000 yards rushing as a rookie.
Cobie Durant, Cornerback – Los Angeles Rams
It’s been a stop-start season for Cobie Durant, who shone during his debut in Week 2, but after finally getting some defensive game time in the last few weeks, it seems he’s gained the trust of the Rams coaching staff, and it’s starting to pay off for the rookie.
It was easily the young defensive back’s best game of his short career, as he finished with a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned 85 yards for a touchdown to seal the 51-14 blowout of the Denver Broncos. Both of his interceptions showcased his athleticism and instincts, with the first one being a highlight reel catch as he was able to extend, tip the ball to himself, and secure the catch as he hit the turf. The question that now arises is why the Rams did not give him an opportunity sooner.
Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers), George Pickens (Pittsburgh Steelers), Rachaad White (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Isiah Pacheco (Kansas City Chiefs), Tyler Smith (Dallas Cowboys), and Brian Asamoah (Minnesota Vikings)