Jimmy Graham—TE—New Orleans Saints
Considering he barely saw the field until week 7, Jimmy Graham has really impressed me. He seems to fit in the New Orleans offense perfectly, perhaps even better than Jeremy Shockey. Another solid effort in a loss to Baltimore saw the 3rd round pick from Miami collect 5 passes for 29 yards and 2 touchdowns. In roughly 7 games, Graham has caught 25 passes for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns. Project that over the course of a season and you have yourself a top 10 tight end in the league. In my opinion it will be hard for Shockey to get his job back even when he is 100% healthy, and at the very least Graham has earned split playing time in New Orleans.
Jamar Chaney—LB—Philadelphia Eagles
Chaney, in his first career start as an injury replacement for Stewart Bradley, nearly doubled his season tackles total versus the New York Giants. The rookie 7th round pick from Mississippi State collected 16 tackles and also a forced fumble in the win. The Eagles, like most good teams, seem to have a knack for finding talented players to fill back-up roles, and Chaney is no exception. He possesses ideal size at 6-0 and 242 lbs. and Chaney proved versus the Giants that he is ready for a larger role on the Eagles defense.
Mike Williams—WR—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Williams had another in a long line of solid outings on Sunday versus Detroit. Against the Lions, he caught 6 more passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. On the season, he now has 58 receptions for 880 yards and 8 touchdowns. Those 8 scores are tied for 11th in the NFL amongst wide receivers. The 4th round pick from Syracuse is proving that his 1st round talent remains intact, and if it weren’t for Sam Bradford, Williams would be in strong consideration for offensive Rookie of the Year.
Jacoby Ford—WR—Oakland Raiders
People are beginning to realize what Raiders fans already know; Jacoby Ford is good. Special might even be a word tossed around. In a win versus Denver, Ford’s versatility was on display once again. The 4th round pick from Clemson caught 4 passes for 47 yards and also carried the ball 1 time for 71 yards and a touchdown. For those keeping track, Ford has now scored 3 different ways this season; receiving, rushing and kickoff return. He is everything that Buffalo thought C.J. Spiller would be and might be one of the most exciting players in the game for years to come.
Tim Tebow—QB—Denver Broncos
I’m still not sold on Tebow as a quarterback, and I have no idea why so much hype follows him everywhere. But with that being said, his numbers were fairly respectable in his first career start versus Oakland. The 1st round pick from Florida completed 8 of 16 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, and also ran the ball 8 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. His throwing looked terrible at times, but he continues to be an electric runner. I’m just concerned that Denver won’t be able to cover for the fact that he can’t pass the ball for very long. Perhaps Tebow will prove me wrong in the long-term, but I still feel his place in this league is as a situational passer/runner, and he could be dynamic in such a role.
Alterraun Verner—CB—Tennessee Titans
On Sunday, in a win versus Houston, Verner collected his third double-digit tackle game of the season. The 10 tackles gave him 81 on the season and placed Verner 5th in the NFL in tackles amongst cornerbacks. In addition, the 4th round pick from UCLA collected his third interception of the season. I doubt that Verner can overcome the insurmountable odds of Ndamukong Suh for rookie of the year, but he certainly deserves some recognition, perhaps a Pro Bowl berth.
Shout-Outs To: Joe Webb, QB, Minnesota Vikings (1st career rushing touchdown), Corey Wootton, DE, Chicago Bears (1st career sack), David Pender, CB, Indianapolis Colts (1st 2 career tackles), Earl Mitchell, DT, Houston Texans (1st career sack), Pete Ittersagen, DB, Tennessee Titans (1st 3 career tackles), Ed Dickson, TE, Baltimore Ravens (1st career receiving touchdown), Dane Fletcher, LB, New England Patriots (1st career sack), Devin McCourty, CB, New England Patriots (1st career sack), Naaman Roosevelt, WR, Buffalo Bills (1st 2 career catches)