Chris Ivory—RB—New Orleans Saints
I have to admit that I have been truly impressed with Ivory. The statistics are not overwhelming all the time, but then again New Orleans isn’t really a running team. But his physical style more than sets the tone against anyone who thinks the Saints are soft. On Sunday versus Seattle, the undrafted free agent from Tiffin University could not be tackled with one man. He carried the ball 23 times for 99 yards including a touchdown. On the year Ivory has compiled 481 yards rushing and an extremely acceptable 4.8 yards per carry average. If Pierre Thomas doesn’t get back on the field soon, he could see his starting job pass before his very eyes.
Lamarr Houston—DE—Oakland Raiders
Houston has been a bright spot on what has proven to be a very up-and-down season for Oakland. In a brutal loss this past weekend versus Pittsburgh, the 2nd round pick from Texas had 7 tackles and 1 sack. And while the sack totals aren’t overly impressive, just 3 so far on the season, Houston has been consistently disruptive in the backfield. Houston is just another piece of evidence that tells us that Oakland had its best draft in quite some time in 2010.
Javier Arenas—CB—Kansas City Chiefs
Everyone knows that Arenas can be very electrifying on special teams. But he can also play a nice corner as well. On Sunday versus Arizona, the 2nd rd pick from Alabama might have had his best day statistically as a pro. He totaled 8 tackles, 1 sack and 1 pass defended for the Chiefs. The sack was the first of his career. The rest of the AFC West should be on notice that it appears Scott Pioli is bringing the same draft success he had at New England, and replicating it in Kansas City.
Blair White—WR—Indianapolis Colts
In my opinion, this has been one of Peyton Manning’s most impressive seasons. He continually shows that it doesn’t matter who is playing at wide receiver, he can turn them into stars. Not that Blair White is a star, but who would have expected this type of solid production from the undrafted free agent from Michigan State. Against the Patriots, White came through with 5 catches for 42 yards and 2 touchdowns. With Austin Collie continually battling injuries, I can see White being a really solid contributor the rest of the way.
T.J. Ward—S—Cleveland Browns & Joe Haden—CB—Cleveland Browns
Another tough loss for the Browns on Sunday versus Jacksonville, but fans of the team need to be excited about what they see. Particularly in the secondary with T.J. Ward and Joe Haden. Ward might have had his best all around game compiling 5 tackles, 2 passes defended, and 2 interceptions (the first 2 of his career). The 2nd round pick from Oregon now has 80 tackles on the season, placing him 9th in the AFC in that category. Haden continues to be impressive as well. Versus Jacksonville he tallied 3 tackles, 3 passes defended and an interception. The 1st round pick from Florida now has 10 passes defended on the season placing him 5th in the AFC in that category. Really great stuff from this young duo.
Donald Jones—WR—Buffalo Bills
Lost in the great game from Steve Johnson this past weekend versus Cincinnati, was a very productive game from rookie Donald Jones. The undrafted free agent from Youngstown State caught 5 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown in a shootout versus the Bengals. The Bills passing offense has been impressive of late with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, and they really have a nice group of young receivers matched opposite of Lee Evans.
Shout-Outs To: Kyle Williams, WR, San Francisco 49ers (1st career catch), A.J. Jefferson, CB, Arizona Cardinals (1st career tackle and pass defended), Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st career sack), Al Woods, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st career .5 sack), Junior Galette, DE, New Orleans Saints (1st career tackle), Major Wright, S, Chicago Bears (1st 2 career tackles), Clay Harbor, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (1st career catch), Duke Calhoun, WR, New York Giants (1st career catch), Sean Lee, LB, Dallas Cowboys (1st career forced fumble), Cam Thomas, DT, San Diego Chargers (1st career sack), Travis Goethel, LB, Oakland Raiders (1st 3 career tackles), Rusty Smith, QB, Tennessee Titans (1st 9 career pass attempts and first 3 completions), Shawn Lauvao, G, Cleveland Browns (1st career start), Aaron Pettrey, K, Cincinnati Bengals (1st career field goal made), Marlon Moore, WR, Miami Dolphins (1st 2 career catches)