Rookie quarterback play has been up and down as many might have expected. The group was more down than up in Week 6, which opened the door for some new names in this week’s rookie spotlight.
Here are some of the rookies who stood out in this weekend’s action:
Offensive Rookies of the Week
Mayer finished Sunday’s win over the Patriots with five receptions for 75 yards. He did a good job of settling into the soft spots in zone coverage. The sure-handed pass catcher was able to snatch the ball out of the air and turn upfield quickly. His contributions were not limited to the pass game, however. The Notre Dame product was also effective engaging and sustaining blocks in the run game.
Torrence allowed two pressures in Sunday’s win over the Giants, according to TruMedia. The difference between watching Torrence and other rookie offensive linemen is that he plays calm and balanced. There is rarely a moment where he does not look like he is under control. There were 44 players who were not beaten once in Week 6, according to TruMedia, and Torrence was one of them.
San Francisco’s defensive line is a difficult assignment for any offensive lineman, let alone a rookie who was thrust into the starting lineup due to injury. He had a lot of chip help early in this game but when the game was drawing to a close and Cleveland needed a sustained drive, Jones was able to deliver against the likes of Nick Bosa and Randy Gregory.
Honorable mention: Cardinals wide receiver Michael Wilson, Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers, Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice, Giants wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, Seahawks wide receier Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jaguars offensive tackle Anton Harrison, Seahawks offensive guard Anthony Bradford
Defensive Rookies of the Week
CB Devon Witherspoon, Seahawks
What was seen of Witherspoon in college at Illinois was all over the field Sunday against Cincinnati. He is the definition of a confident player who does not second-guess his instincts. The first-round pick is just as capable carrying a route downfield as he is flashing downfield and breaking up a play in the flat. Witherspoon is already among the best in the NFL at his position.
On the year, he has broken up 17.2% of passes when serving as the primary defender in coverage. Opponents have completed less than 50% of pass attempts in his direction for a total of 128 yards, according to TruMedia.
When Anderson lined up over right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, which was the overwhelming majority of snaps, it was a heavyweight fight that often ended with Ramczyk winning the repetition. There were moments where Anderson would get on Ramczyk’s hip and bend the edge but he was not winning through the veteran. Half of his eight pressures came over left Trevor Penning or Cesar Ruiz, who replaced Ramczyk when he exited late.
Young is not a typical rookie pass rusher. His understanding of how to set up pass-rush moves and not working too deep in his rush is advanced. There were moments that Young would bait veteran left tackle D.J. Humphries to stray from the pocket, which would set up an angle to rush inside. He has shown a spin move, hop chop and much more. The Tennessee product is a long-looking player with quickness and burst. TruMedia credited him with five pressures in Week 6. Fans should grow familiar with his name.