With just one week of regular season play remaining, the race for PFF’s Rookie of the Year award is coming down to the wire, with players on both sides of the football making a late push to take home the prize. Our current leaders are have been right in the thick of the race all season long, but after 16 weeks it could go to anyone. Just like we have posted every Wednesday since Week 1, here are the top-10 candidates in PFFs Race for Rookie of the Year.
Reid’s overall grade of 76.0 currently ranks 23rd among the 89 qualifying players at the position, while his coverage grade of 76.3 is good for 19th. The first-year safety has forced an incompletion either by either an interception, a pass breakup or close coverage on 18.2% of his coverage snaps this year, which is the league’s ninth-best rate among safeties with at least 25 targets in coverage, and his 12 total defensive stops are the fifth-most among all rookies at the position.
Nelson’s overall grade of 73.0 is good for seventh among all offensive guards this year, while his 81.8 pass-blocking grade ranks 14th. After a relatively average start, Nelson has come on and produced some tremendous pass-blocking performances this year. He’s produced pass-blocking grades of at least 70.0 in 12 of his 15 games as a pro so far, and he’s surrendered pressure on just 3.4% of his pass-blocking snaps on the year, which is tied for the 10th best mark among guards and all the more impressive when you consider the fact that he’s played a colossal 644 pass-blocking snaps this year, the third-most among all offensive guards.
Hand ranks 12th among 118 interior defenders who’ve registered at least 225 defensive snaps through the first 16 weeks of the season. The big man out of ‘Bama has been a steady presence in the middle of Detroit’s defensive line, earning an overall grade of at least 70.0 in nine of 13 games to start his career. Hand is one of just 10 interior defensive linemen who’ve tallied at least 15 stops while not missing a tackle in run defense, and he’s also produced pressure on 10.3% of his pass-rushing snaps, which ranks 19th among the 77 interior defenders with at least 200 pass-rushing snaps.