The NFL has reached week seven of its 2020 season and now is about the time where rookies have started to assert themselves as potential future stars. Postseason awards are far down the line but a number of LSU rookies have quickly implanted themselves in the conversation for Rookie of the Year awards.
With five first round draft picks a season ago, each one seemed destined for immediate contributions as the fits were practically perfect across the board. Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Patrick Queen have quickly distinguished themselves in their current NFL homes and are all on a short list of Rookie of the Year candidates.
Burrow has tossed for 2,093 yards and 12 total touchdowns while completing 66% of his passes for the Cincinnati Bengals. He won his first FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week award after tossing for 406 yards and three passing touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns. He's on pace to pass Andrew Luck for most passing yards ever by a rookie quarterback but has some competition as this year's top rookie quarterback.
San Diego Chargers rookie Justin Herbert took over the starting job in week two and hasn't looked back. He's thrown for 1,542 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions in his five starts this season.
"I just get the ball to my guys and let them do the rest," Burrow said about his early success. "We're worried about wins around here and it really comes down to one more play. We've been in most of these games and have to start finishing it off."
As for Jefferson, there has been no rookie receiver that's come close to what he's doing this season as he's not only been the most productive rookie receiver but one of the most productive receivers period. He's ranked as the No. 1 rookie receiver on PFF (Pro Football Focus) and is No. 10 in the league in receiving yards with 537 on the season and three touchdowns.
Edwards-Helaire is among the top running backs in the league in yards from scrimmage, trailing only New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara with 745 total yards. He's currently averaging 106 yards from scrimmage per game and has scored two touchdowns this season. What really sticks out though is his ability to break tackles and stay so balanced at his size.
“Yeah, how good is he, I mean the ability to break tackles, he’s got unbelievable balance, the contact thing is crazy, the yards after contact are nuts and so you got a chance to see that,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday.
The Chiefs did sign Le'Veon Bell two weeks ago and he'll certainly cut into Edwards-Helaire's work load but after a 161 and 46-yard games the last two weeks, the LSU rookie should still be considered the lead back.
Outside of possibly Chase Young, there hasn't been a more impressive rookie defender than Queen. In six starts, the former Livonia, Louisiana native has produced 44 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for a loss on one of the great defenses in the league. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after forced a fumble and recovered another, which he returned for a touchdown.
The Ravens and Chiefs seemed destined for a postseason birth so it’ll be fun to watch as Queen and Edwards-Helaire help lead their team to a potential Super Bowl birth.