Arrelious Benn—WR—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Benn was probably the best in what proved to be a down week for rookies in the NFL on Sunday. In a win versus Washington, Benn caught 4 passes for 122 yards and also carried the ball 1 time for 17 yards. Included in the yards receiving was a career high 64 yard catch for the 2nd round pick from Illinois. Although Benn has not had a standout rookie season, it has not been a total bust either. He has flashed big play potential with 2 catches over 50 yards this season and his 16.4 yards per catch average would rank 11th in the NFL if he had the amount of receptions to qualify. You can’t ask much more from a rookie receiver than that.
Ryan Mathews—RB—San Diego Chargers
I think it is safe to say that Mathews has had a disappointing rookie season. From being passed on the depth chart by Mike Tolbert, to being injured and missing games, I doubt this is what many expected when the Chargers drafted the running back from Fresno State in the 1st round. After missing the previous 3 games Mathews was back in the lineup on Sunday versus Kansas City and produced solid numbers with the opportunities he was given. He carried the ball 16 times for 65 yards and a touchdown, and also caught 1 pass for 6 yards. If Tolbert continues to play as well as he as, then look for the 2 to continue to split carries, and as long as they are productive I’m sure that’s just fine for Chargers fans.
John Skelton—QB—Arizona Cardinals
The quarterback carousel continued to spin for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday versus Denver when they gave Skelton his first career start. I won’t give Fordham all the credit for the 43 points the team scored, but at the very least the Cardinals looked energized for probably the first time all season. Perhaps that’s because Denver is so bad, or perhaps it’s something more. The rookie 5th round pick from Fordham completed 15 of 37 passes for 146 yards with zero turnovers in the win. More importantly, at 6-5 and 244 lbs. he looked every part on an NFL quarterback and also showed he has the arm to make all the throws. I believe the carousel will stop here for Arizona for better or worse.
Amari Spievey—S—Detroit Lions
I chose Amari Spievey this week not because he had a stellar game on Sunday versus Green Bay, although he had 3 tackles and his 1st career interception, but more because he’s just missed the cut the past few weeks with even better performances (10 tackles versus New England and 9 tackles versus Chicago). In other words, the 3rd round pick from Iowa has been playing increasingly well as of late and seems to finally be hitting his stride as a safety after playing mostly as a cornerback in college. Detroit had a very solid draft this past year, and that is exactly what this franchise needed most.
Shout-Outs To: Darian Stewart, S, St. Louis Rams (1st career sack), Daryl Washington, LB, Arizona Cardinals (1st career interception), Derek Hardman, T, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st career start), Joe Webb, QB, Minnesota Vikings (1st 5 career pass attempts, 1st 2 completions, 1st carry), Logan Paulsen, TE, Washington Redskins (1st career touchdown catch), Kendrick Lewis, S, Kansas City Chiefs (1st career forced fumble), Nate Triplett, LB, Indianapolis Colts (1st 2 career tackles), Devin McCourty, CB, New England Patriots (1st career forced fumble), Nolan Carroll, CB, Miami Dolphins (1st career interception), Arthur Moats, LB, Buffalo Bills (1st career forced fumble), Darryl Sharpton, LB, Houston Texans (1st career sack)