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Rookie of the Year Tracker (Week 13)
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to rzl-football.com

Week 13 is in the books! Roughly three quarters of the season is gone and it’s time to look once again at the Rookie of the Year candidates.
Below are the Top 10 in the race for the Rookie of the Year. There has been a lot of movement in the rankings since we last checked in after Week 2. Three pretty good players dropped out of the Top 10. Interestingly, the 3 that dropped were ranked 2nd, 3rd and 5th in the last Tracker. Just goes to show you how quickly things can change in this league, especially for rookies.

It’s official – Aundre Brooks looks good. After 13 weeks the Texans are 6-6 after going 2-14 last season. He’s thrown his share of picks, but has had at least 2 TDs in each of the last 5 games. So far the anti-Brooks is rookie Derek Carr with the Rams. The 10th pick overall has started the last 3 games and pitched 2 TDs against 7 picks. He’ll get better, but that’s a rough start. One player that has cooled a bit is WR Jevan Shephard. Shephard is off his early pace and has only 1 TD in the last 5 games. He may be the only rookie in a position to push Brooks down the stretch. Perhaps another candidate who is a ROTY darkhorse is DT Aaron Donald. Donald is currently parked at 7th, but has 5 sacks in his last 6 games, and is creating mayhem in the backfield for QBs and runners alike. If he can keep up that pace he will be the hands down Defensive ROTY. One first year player having a hard time of it is Cleveland OG KC Snow. Snow has 51 pancakes, which isn’t bad, but has given up 13 sacks. Ouch! The first rounder gave up 7 of those in the first 3 games alone, so he’s calmed down, a bit.

Conspicuously absent are DE Jadaveon Clowney, WR Mike Evans and CB Justin Gilbert, all top 5 picks. Clowney’s performance so far boggles my mind. I thought he’d be huge! With 7 tackles and only 1 sack on the season, Clowney has been relatively invisible. Crazy to think that 7th round CB (?!) Jim Haynes has as many sacks. Or that Clowney’s rookie teammate CB (?!) Jeremy White has as many sacks. White didn’t even make the roster of the team that drafted him, but was signed by the Jets in the preseason. Wild!

Please note that even if a team loses, I don't hold that against a player who has made exceptional efforts on the field. Lastly, this is meant for entertainment purposes only, so let's keep it civil, and if you don't like it, you are always welcome to make your own list.

Rookie of the Year Tracker

1. QB Aundre Brooks, HOU (52.9%, 2882 yds, 19 TDs, 15 Int 79.5 Rating). Previous Rank: 4th
2. WR Jevan Shephard, DET (950 yds, 16.4 ypc, 8 TDs). Previous Rank: 1st
3. HB Patrick Fletcher, WAS (961 yds, 4.4 ypc, 8 TDs). Previous Rank: 8th
4. HB Wayne Buchanan, PHI (873 yds, 4.5 ypc, 5 TDs). Previous Rank: 9th
5. OT Zack Martin, CHI (68 pancakes, 2 sack). Previous Rank: 7th
6. DT Aaron Donald, TB (27 tak, 10 TFL, 7 sacks). Prevous Rank: NR
7. MLB CJ Mosley, CLE (73 tak, 8 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT). Previous Rank: NR
8. FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DET (58 tak, 1 tfl, 1 sack, 3 int). Previous Rank: 6th
9. DT Warren Moore, ARI (27 tak, 7 sacks). Previous Rank: 10th
10. WR Sammy Watkins, NE (769 yds, 18.8 avg, 5 TDs). Previous Rank: NR

Dropping out of the Top 10: DE Lester Hamilton, QB Johnny Manziel, OT Taylor Lewis

Also receiving consideration: QB Johnny Manziel, OT Taylor Lewis, HB Bishop Sankey, SS Deone Bucannon, MLB Marcus White, CB Jason Verrett, WR/KR Jabari Jordan
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