NFL FOOTBALL: THE TOP 5 PERFORMING ROOKIES OF 2014
It should be noted that this was one of the most accomplished draft classes in recent memory, including both offensive and defensive players at every level. But several rookies played at an exceptional level throughout the course of the season, and should be recognized accordingly.
#5. Zack Martin – Martin has found a home at the guard position on the best offensive line in the NFL. One of the reasons this is the best line is clearly the play of Martin drafted in the first round out of Notre Dame. Martin has been outstanding in pass protection but has earned his money in the running game, pulling off the line like a veteran. His quickness and strength have been leveraged effectively by the Cowboys, and he is responsible for opening holes for the most effective ground game in the NFL. Demarco Murray is the leading rusher in the NFL and much of the credit should be given to the O-line, especially Martin.
#4. Jeremey Hill – in light of his 130 yard rushing performance against Denver in primetime, Jeremy Hill has really come into his own as the season has progressed. He has continuously ripped off big runs and is effective in the pass game as a blocker and receiver. He gets the majority of the goal-line work and after a slow start to the season, appears to ready to assume the role as the feature back. The former LSU alum clearly been the best rookie RB this season, and is now worthy of a spot on this list.
#3. Kelvin Benjamin – with 72 catches and 999 yards and one game remaining the former Baylor WR is a sure bet to have a 1000 yards in his rookie campaign. Even more impressive however is Benjamin’s ability to use his size to create separation while have a knack for big time plays. His eye for the end zone is clear as evidenced by his 9 TDS and on an offense where he was the only viable WR option all season long. It was a lot of pressure for the young wide out to handle but he killed it all season long.
#2. Mike Evans – The Tampa Bay Bucs wide out wins the reward for the quietest 11 TDs in NFL history. What’s most impressive about Evan’s ability to use his plus size and speed is that he was actually the number two WR on the team behind Vincent Jackson. Evans is a smooth rout runner, and could become unstoppable in the years to come, especially if he can get some consistency at the QB position.
#1 – Odell Beckham – The for LSU wide out has electrified the league in the limited amount of games he’s played this season. He has always been fast with great hands, and his game is perfect for success in the NFL. His 11 TDs in 4 fewer games than his fellow rookies places him firmly at the top of this list. He has single handedly saved Tom Coughlin’s job and revived Eli Manning’s career with his circus catches and breakaway speed. Another big game in week 17 in an otherwise meaningless game, and he should be in the R.O.Y of the year discussion. He will be fun to watch for years to come.