The early parts of the NFL season are exciting for a number of reasons. While every fan can’t wait to see their favorite team take the field with a clean slate, other storylines can be equally as intriguing. From veterans playing for new teams or brand new coaching staffs, the NFL is a constant reality show with the best plot ever created.
One of those other intriguing storylines are how each rookie will perform, especially those first-round picks who may be depended on to change the course of a franchise. On top of the performance of all rookies, the offensive and defensive rookie of the year awards validate who the best first-year player was on either side of the ball.
Rookie of the year is a prestigious award in the sense that it generally leads to future accolades. Former rookie of the year award winners such as Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Adrian Peterson have gone to win NFL MVP, and other notable names such as Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley and Odell Beckham Jr. have won the offensive rookie of the year award.
This year, I'll keep you updated on the race for both offensive and defensive rookie of the year, so be sure to check out this list each time it drops. Without any further delay, here is the rookie of the year race after Week 2 of the NFL season.
1. Marquise Brown
All eyes were on Marquise Brown in the follow up game to his historic debut, and he didn’t disappoint. After just 14 snaps in week 1, Brown was targeted a whopping 13 times on Sunday. He would reel in 8 of those passes for 86 yards, showing off an immediate chemistry with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Brown is up to 233 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns through two games, and he is seemingly just scratching the surface with his usage.
Season Stats: 12 receptions, 233 yards, 2 touchdowns
2. Kyler Murray
After a mixed bag in week 1, it was more of the same for Kyler Murray in his second game. However, the high points led to outstanding passing yardage numbers. Despite no touchdown passes against the Ravens vaunted secondary, Murray threw for 349 yards, upping his season total to 657 through two games. If Arizona is going to continue playing from behind this season, Murray could easily pass for over 4,500 yards on the season.
Season Stats: 54/94 (57.4%), 657 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
3. Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin popped in week 1 with a deep touchdown reception and a number of other impressive receptions. While his second game wasn’t as impressive from a production standpoint, he got into the endzone once again on a redzone back-shoulder throw. With another 62 receiving yards against the Cowboys, McLaurin is at 187 through two games, as well as 2 touchdowns. He should continue to produce as one of the Redskins top receiving options, even if his college quarterback Dwayne Haskins takes over as the quarterback down the line.
Season Stats: 10 receptions, 187 yards, 2 touchdowns
4. Josh Jacobs
After a stellar debut, Josh Jacobs continued to lead the way for the Raiders offense on Sunday. Despite just 12 carries with Oakland playing from behind in the second half, Jacobs ran for 99 yards. He’s up to 184 rushing yards on the season with 2 touchdowns, good for an impressive 5.3 yards per carry clip. As the Raiders obvious lead back, expect Jacobs to threaten for 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie.
Season Stats: 35 carries, 184 yards, 2 touchdowns
5. Gardner Minshew
After an impressive debut in relief of Nick Foles, Gardner Minshew entered week 2 with time to prepare for his first start. While Jacksonville’s offense struggled throughout the game, Minshew showed off his impressive accuracy once again. Through two games, he’s completing passes at an impressive 77.6% rate. On top of the passing numbers, Minshew impressed with his underrated athleticism, running for 56 yards on 6 carries. As one of two rookie quarterbacks currently starting, he’ll be right in the thick of the offensive rookie of the year race.
Season Stats: 45/58 (77.6%), 488 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
Honorable Mention: DK Metcalf (7 receptions, 150 yards, 1 touchdown)
1. Devin Bush
After an impressive week 1, Devin Bush continued to produce on the defensive side yesterday. While Bush was a bit up and down, he pitched in 7 more tackles, bringing his season total to 18 total. He showed off his playmaking ability, recovering a fourth quarter fumble and returning it inside the 5 yard line to get the Steelers back into the game.
Season Stats: 18 tackles, 10 solo, 1 fumble recovery
2. Cole Holcomb
Quietly, former 5th-round pick Cole Holcomb has produced for the Redskins defense through two games. Playing in a starting role, he had 6 tackles and a tackle for loss against the Cowboys. He’s been playing aggressively with a quick downhill trigger, and is now up to 10 solo tackles and 3 tackles for loss on the young season.
Season Stats: 15 tackles, 10 solo, 3 TFL
3. Byron Murphy
Coming out of Washington, Byron Murphy was known for his impressive ball skills and willingness to mix it up as a tackler. In week 2 against the Ravens, it was more of the same for Murphy. He pitched in with 5 solo tackles and 2 pass breakups in the Cardinals loss, easily living up to his draft status as the 33rd overall pick.
12 tackles, 9 solo, 2 pass breakups
4. Darnell Savage
Darnell Savage popped off the screen during the opening game of the season against the Bears, and that level of play continued on Sunday as the Packers improved to 2-0.With 6 more solo tackles and a forced fumble, he had a big part in the win over the Vikings. His range and playmaking ability will continue to be featured on the backend of the Packers defense.
9 tackles, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble
5. Chase Winovich
After a quiet week 1, Chase Winovich was everywhere on Sunday against the Dolphins. As apart of a swarming Patriots defense, Winovich pitched in 1.5 sacks and multiple quarterback hits. He’s currently the leader among rookies in sacks, putting him firmly in the defensive rookie of the year race.
3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 QB Hits
Honorable Mentions: Jahlani Tavai (11 tackles, 8 solo, 1 sack), Taylor Rapp (14 tackles, 6 solo)