NFL Rookie Watch
Last week: No. 8 <br><br>This week's look at how the NFL's best rookies stack up begins with the exciting New England running back. Maroney had a 74-yard kick return to help the Pats beat the Bills 28-6 last Sunday. He's a vital part of this offense, providing a one-two punch out of the backfield with veteran Corey Dillon. Maroney leads all rookies with 361 rushing yards and has helped New England quietly climb to 5-1.
Last week: No. 10 <br><br>The bottom line is that Young gives the Titans a better chance to win every week than the team's other options. Tennessee is coming off a bye and should get better every week as the talented Young gets used to the NFL game.
Last week: No. 5 <br><br>Jennings finally had an off week, making only one catch, but the Packers got a win, so let's not rip the rookie too hard. He has an impressive 21 catches for 378 yards and three touchdowns and remains the primary deep target for Brett Favre.
Last week: No. 2 <br><br>After a brilliant performance in his first start against Chicago, Leinart fell to Earth last Sunday against the Raiders. A Heisman winner out of USC, Leinart should bounce back against the Packers' struggling pass defense. Don't be surprised if he puts up big numbers the rest of the season.
Last week: unranked <br><br>Dumervil fell to the fourth round of the draft because scouts wondered if he was big enough to be effective in the NFL. The 5-11, 258-pound defensive end has five sacks and is a key contributor on the league's best defense. He's already drawing comparisons to Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney.
Last week: unranked <br><br>Gradkowski has led the Bucs to two straight wins and is showing the poise and confidence of a veteran. He'd better, because the Bucs' schedule is brutal. The rookie out of Toledo faces the Giants' impressive pass rush this week, followed by the Saints and the Panthers. He's thrown four touchdowns and only one interception this season.
Last week: No. 4 <br><br>Anderson is coming off a bye and is tied for third in the NFL with 6 1/2 sacks. As everyone compares this Bears defense to the famous 1985 team, Anderson fits the Richard Dent role as a sack specialist.
Last week: unranked <br><br>Washington, a fourth-round pick out of Florida State, has eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice in the last three games. He has a great cut-back move and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He's played well enough to help Jets fans forget all about Curtis Martin.
Last week: No. 3 <br><br>The Saints are coming off a bye and are poised for a playoff run. Colston leads the team with 414 receiving yards and four touchdowns catches. His presence frees up fellow receiver Joe Horn and running backs Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister.
Last week: No. 1 <br><br>Bush isn't even in the top 20 rushers in the NFC, with only 196 yards on the season. But he does so much else for this team: He ranks fourth in the NFL with 38 catches and had a key punt return for a touchdown in a Week 5 win over Tampa Bay. Don't be surprised if the Saints give the former Heisman Trophy winner more carries in the next few weeks.