Who Was the Best Rookie?:
The NFL season had a ton of successful first year players. But who was the best rookie? The New Orleans Saints had a pair of candidates. Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore were studs. As were others, like Kareem Hunt and Tre’Davious White. Not to mention top-10 picks Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams out of LSU.
We’re going to take a look at the best rookies in the NFL this past season. Breaking down who was the most effective. As well as which player has the most staying power going forward.
New Orleans First Year Studs:
Beginning with the Saints’ rooks. Kamara broke onto the scene in the first month of the year. He became an asset in the run and pass game. In fact, he was arguably the main reason why this team went 11-5.
Kamara finished with 728 yards on 120 rushes. He also scored eight rushing touchdowns. Not bad for his first year out of Tennessee. His teammate, Lattimore, was no joke either. He was one of the best defensive backs in the entire league. And that’s statistics prove it. Lattimore compiled 52 tackles and five picks.
Former LSU Players Look Good:
As for the former LSU players, Fournette showed promise for the Jacksonville Jaguars. While adding a complete run game to an impressive defense, Fournette helped the Jags pick up 10 wins and a berth in the AFC title game.
That was the first time since 1999. He went for 1,040 yards and found the end zone nine times. Adams, the New York Jets’ first pick, looked dominant too. Although his team was only 5-11 this year. He totaled 83 tackles and picked up a pair of sacks.
Adams wasn’t the only rookie that looked great, despite being on a sub par team. Deshaun Watson was a stud. Simply put. In seven games (six starts), he threw for 1,699 yards. Watson was also completing 61.8 percent of his passes.
In fact, he was leading the entire league in touchdowns with 19, prior to his injury. In Week 8, he suffered a torn ACL. Watson missed the remainder of the year. He only played six games, going 3-3. The Houston Texans without him were an embarrassing 1-9.
Hunt Led the NFL in Rushing:
There were several of players that made nice first impressions, too. Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing yards with 1,327. He had that on 272 rushes, scoring eight times. He helped the Chiefs go 10-6. T.J. Watt, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, showed glimpses of positivity. He had 54 tackles, seven sacks, and an interception. Tre’Davious White, another former LSU player, looked good for the Buffalo Bills also. He finished with 69 tackles and four picks, while helping the Bills reach the postseason.
Out of the eight aforementioned players, who was the best? Lattimore was. He was constantly locking down opponents’ No. 1 wideouts, and looked the part of a veteran defensive back. He helped propel the Saints defense to the NFC divisional round. But Lattimore isn’t the one with the brightest future. Although, he does have an opportunity to be an annual Pro Bowler. The best player from this class, in five years or so, is going to be Watson. The Texans QB proved that in his shortened rookie campaign.