We are now in the final stretch of the 2021 NFL regular season, with just one month and only a handful of games left to go until the intensity gets ramped up with the play-offs and Super Bowl LVI on February 13th — which will return to Los Angeles for the first time since the showpiece match was held at the Rose Bowl in 1993, taking place at the Chargers’ and Rams’ SoFi Stadium.
So, as the gameweeks quickly tick away and the 32 franchises begin to learn their post-season fate, now seems like the perfect opportunity to take a look at some this year’s best performing rookies — one or two of which have a fantastic chance of lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in LA in a couple months’ time.
Micah Parsons – Dallas Cowboys
The heavy favourite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year with sites like Betdaq, Micah Parsons has had an incredible first season with the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, the pass rusher/linebacker has been one of the best defensive players in the entire NFL. Being tied for third in terms of pass rush win rate is testament to that. With 10 sacks, the 22-year-old also features in the top 10 sack leaders in the league, while he boasts 72 tackles and two forced fumbles. Top of the NFC East with a 8-4 record, the Cowboys could go far this season.
Mac Jones – New England Patriots
Helping the New England Patriots turn their season around after going 1-5, Mac Jones is the odds-on favourite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. On a run of seven successive wins, the young quarterback has thrown 2,869 passing yards for 16 touchdowns this season. It certainly wasn’t the best of starts for the number 15 overall draft pick, as he threw six interceptions in his first eight games. But he has improved with just three in his last seven and his decision making is much better. He also has one of the best pass completion rates in the NFL with 70.3%. It seems the Patriots have the next Brady on their hands!
Ja’Marr Chase – Cincinnati Bengals
2014 was the last time a wide receiver won Offensive Rookie of the Year, with a certain Odell Beckham Jr. winning the award for his breakthrough season with the New York Giants. But Ja’Marr Chase will be hoping to break that trend this year. The wide out has to-and-froed with Jones for the accolade this season and appeared to be in the driving seat with seven touchdowns and 786 receiving yards in eight games. However, he has dropped off a bit in recent weeks with just one touchdown and 172 yards in four games, giving Jones the advantage in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race.
Patrick Surtain II – Denver Broncos
While Parsons looks nailed on to be named Defensive Rookie of the Year, Patrick Surtain II still deserves to be in the conversation. The Denver Broncos cornerback has made 11 pass defences this season, tying him for sixth in the NFL, while he has also made 38 tackles and four interceptions. His recent pick-six against the LA Chargers, when he ran 70 yards for a maiden touchdown at Empower Field at Mile High after intercepting Justin Herbert’s pass, will likely be the highlight of the 21-year-old’s season.