With four weeks in the NFL record books and St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford getting his team to .500, it's time to start debating over who should win what awards. With youth taking a larger roll in the league, there will be plenty of surprises and breakout stars in the league. Nothing is set in stone, but here's the way things look through the first quarter of the season.
At number five, we have an emerging star at TE. The Kansas City Chiefs moved up in round three of the 2010 draft to pick Moeaki. He's 6'3", 252 lbs., and has great hands. He also blocks well for the league's number one rushing attack.
He has one less game played than Cincinnati Bengals rookie TE Jermain Gresham, but his stat line doesn't lie: 12 catches, 123 yards, 2 TDs. He averages 10.3 yards per catch. He's also become QB Matt Cassel's favorite target in the Chiefs offense.
Moeaki is sure to see more targets than Gresham as the team starts to open up their offense. With the Chiefs playing so well (3-0) and being in a weak division, he'll have a great chance to be an impact player all year long.
It's not a stretch to imagine holding the trophy at year's end. His team has the NFL's best record right now, and he leads them in TD catches. Keep an eye on this rookie standout. He want be hard to find. Just check the weekly highlight reels.
Dez Bryant showed the NFL community that he was all about business by becoming the first 2010 1st rounder to sign his contract in August. Bryant was the top-rated rookie WR coming out of college, and he's already making an impact with the Cowboys. He has seen only three games of action so far as the Cowboys had a week four bye, but he's looking pretty good so far.
His best game of the three—in terms of catches—came in week one. He had eight catches for 56 yards and has had at least 50 yards in every game this season. He is still yet to catch a TD pass, but the offense is just now starting to gel.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo looks pretty good, and once the Cowboys offensive line gets healthy he'll have more time to distribute the ball around to all of his receivers. Bryant was chosen in the draft to be the team's eventual number one WR, and the team seems to have accelerated this plan by trading Patrick Crayton to the San Diego Chargers.
Once things settle down in Dallas, Bryant will get the targets that he's supposed to. If his talent level proves to match his high profile, he'll be right in the thick of things for this award come January.
Tampa Bay also had a bye in week four, so Williams has only had three weeks of stats to draw from. Still, he has looked very impressive and has become an immediate starter and impact player in the Buccaneers' offensive scheme.
Williams is the typical size for a play-making WR at 6'3", 212 lbs. He runs good routes for a rookie, but is certainly rookie-raw. As his discipline increases, so will his productivity.
Like Moeaki, Williams has caught a TD in two out of three games this season. He has 12 catches for 139 yards to compliment the TDs. He's averaging 11.6 yards per catch, witch leads all rookies WRs with over 11 catches.
Williams leads his team in catches and TDs which is an indicator that he'll be productive all year long. His targets will only increase the more his young QB, Josh Freeman, gains trust in him. They already seem to have great chemistry together, and Freeman will also get better as the season goes on.
Williams is looking like the best WR in the 2010 class as of right now. Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has a big upside, but he has more competition for targets. If the Buccaneers (2-1) continue to be competitive in the NFC South, he could catch ROY fever when the season is over.
Now we're getting to the meet of the rookie class. Lions RB Jahvid Best is already making his presence felt in the NFL. In week two, Best had his best game of the season. He racked up 17 carries for 78 yards and nine receptions for 154 yards with a total of three TDs in the contest.
Best has come down to earth since, but he has already shown that he can be an impact player in this league. With season totals of 50 carries for 174 yards and 21 receptions for 217 yards, he's easily been one of the most productive rookies in 2010.
The Lions have yet to win a game. If the team doesn't begin to have some success it could hurt Best in the later rounds of the ROY fight, but Best looks to be a very large part of the Lions' offensive game-plan. He'll have no shortage of touches this year; that's for sure.
He leads all players on this list in receptions—and he isn't even a WR. Best just seems to have a knack for finding the ball; or is it the other way around? Either way, you should expect to see Jahvid Best in the top of the offensive ROY voting when the polls are closed.
The early leader in the race for rookie supremacy is St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford. He was thrown into the fire right away on a team that has seen the least amount of success of any NFL team over the course of the last two years.
Bradford was drafted number one overall in the 2010 draft and was immediately given all of the pressure that comes with his 1st overall status. Bradford has managed to not only live up to the hype, but he has possibly exceeded expectations so far. He has the Rams off to their best start in years at 2-2 and in a three way tie for the division lead.
Bradford threw 55 passes in his NFL debut, but threw three picks in the contest. Since then he has thrown only three picks in his last three games. He seems to get better every week. He's making solid reads, has a strong arm, and can make all of the throws necessary throws to be a successful NFL QB. If he continues to grow at the rate he is growing now, he'll run away with the ROY award.
As the QB, all of the Rams' success will be attributed to Bradford—as will the team's failures. If the team succeeds, so will Bradford. The opposite is also true. If the young QB succeeds, then you can bet that the Rams will as well. Bradford's 289 yards and two TD passes in week four led the Rams to their first victory over the Seattle Seahawks in their last ten meetings!
Bradford's stat line is impressive for a rookie QB: 944 yards, 6 TDs, 6 picks (3 in the last 3 games), and a completion percentage of 58.3. It's all but a lock for Bradford to win the league's offensive ROY honors as long as the Rams can merely compete for a division crown.
There's no reason that some player not on this list can win this award. I've just highlighted some of the peek performers so far. There are other players who could have a great deal of success if they're given the opportunity to succeed.
There is Kansas City Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster, Cincinnati Bengals WR Jordan Shipley, and Cincinnati Bengals TE Jermain Gresham just to name a few. McCluster is as explosive as he is small. Shipley is possibly the purest route runner in the 2010 class. Gresham has drawn comparisons to San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates with his size, speed, and pass catching ability.
Keep an eye on these three players as well as the ones on the list. If these three don't make the ballot for the ROY, you can hope to see them on the Pro Bowl ballot in years to come.
Be sure to check back with me after week nine for the next quarterly report. Until then, keep a watchful eye on the NFL horizon of hype; these guys will be sure to be there.