NFL Week 6 Rookies of the Week

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Another week of close NFL games means another week of brilliant rookie performances! A pair of rookie cornerbacks keep showing out as rising stars, and a quarterback earns the top honor in his second career start.

Offensive Rookie of the Week: Bailey Zappe, QB, New England Patriots

Zappe has had quite the start to his NFL career, recording his second win in as many games as a starter for the Patriots on Sunday in a 38-15 triumph over the Cleveland Browns. He completed 24 of his 34 passes for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with the only blemish in his performance being a lost fumble in the first half caused by Myles Garrett. Zappe, a fourth-round rookie, started the season as the third-string quarterback but injuries to Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer led to him seeing his first action in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers. He hasn’t looked back since, demonstrating great accuracy, processing of the field, decision-making, and ability to sense pressure and avoid it by climbing the pocket. Zappe has shown that he can win games as an NFL starter, which is crucial to the Patriots’ success not only during this stretch but also long-term in case Mac Jones’ health or play falters further. 

Runners-Up:

Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets

Hall is becoming the centerpiece of the Jets’ offense and furthering his candidacy for Offensive Rookie of the Year, as he rushed for 116 yards on 20 carries against the Packers, including the touchdown that sealed the win for the 4-2 Jets. 

Kenneth Walker, RB, Seattle Seahawks

With 97 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in addition to 13 yards on two receptions in a win over the Cardinals, Walker certainly seized the opportunity in his first start following Rashaad Penny’s season-ending injury. 

Defensive Rookie of the Week: Tariq Woolen, CB, Seattle Seahawks

Tariq Woolen has burst onto the scene as one of the best rookie cornerbacks in the league. Woolen has now recorded his fourth straight game with an interception, being only the 4th rookie since 2000 to do so. Woolen shut down opposing wide receivers this week, allowing a quarterback rating of 33.9 while in coverage. In addition to the interception, he also recovered a fumble. Woolen’s speed surly jumps off the screen while watching him play, as do his ball skills, and it is no surprise that he started college as a wide receiver. While I was a big fan of Woolen coming out, I still believed that he was raw and would take some time to transition, but that has not been the case. 

Runners-Up:

Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, CB, New York Jets

Sauce has become nearly a weekly member of this column and has truly looked like a Pro Bowl-caliber talent. This week he recorded two pass break-ups while only allowing one reception for eight yards while displaying his superb acceleration to the ball.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, New York Giants

Thibodeaux missed the first few weeks of the season recovering from a knee injury but made his presence known today as he totaled three tackles and recorded the game-winning strip-sack on Lamar Jackson to help the Giants reach 5-1.