NFL Week 15 ROY power rankings

There was an article in USA Today’s Sports Weekly about what a solid rookie class this has been, and it’s so true.

Offensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams—He’s thrown for 3065 yards on a team that won one game last season, and might possibly lead them to a playoff berth.

2. Aaron Hernandez/Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots—Between them, 953 yards and 13 TDs through 14 games. Those are Antonio Gates-esque numbers.

3. Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns—Did you need more proof that this kid is the future at QB? Yeah, the Browns lost to the Bengals, but McCoy put up 243 yards with 2 TDs and no picks, and completed 19 of 25 for a ridiculous 76% completion percentage.

4. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Bucs—Through 14 games—58/880/8, and a big reason for the Bucs’ resurgence this year.

5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys—As electrifying a young player the NFL has seen in a long time.

Defensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions—Becoming a defensive leader on his team as a rookie, and helping the young Lions become respectable again.

2. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots—Not only does this young stud have 6 interceptions, but he has 77 total tackles to rank near the top for NFL corners.

3. Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs—This is a guy you just don’t throw the ball near, and even if you don’t , he has ridiculous closing speed.

4. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns—McCoy is the offensive bright spot, Haden the defensive one on a team showing promise in the Holmgren regime.

5. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks—Hasn’t had a pick in a while, but his 5 still ranks near the top in the NFL.

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Breaking down the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates

Adrian PetersonAdrian Peterson certainly made it easy on voters last year. After rushing for 1,341 yards, 12 touchdowns and a 5.6-yard per carry average, Peterson was an easy choice for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

So who is this year’s Adrian Peterson? Despite popular belief, the OROY doesn’t have to lead his team to the playoffs, as Peterson proved last year. He just has to stand out from the rest of the pack – easy, right?

Below is a look at the OROY candidates for the 2008 NFL Season. I’ve ranked the top 10 candidates based on their chances along with reasons why (and why they won’t) win the award.

1. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan earned the starting quarterback job after a solid preseason, including completing 15 of 21 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 17-3 win over Tennessee. Forget the huge contract and the fact that Atlanta wants to erase the thought of Michael Vick – Ryan can play. He looked comfortable, poised and completely in control running the Falcons’ offense and has enough weapons in Michael Turner, Jerious Norwood and Roddy White to be effective. As long as the offensive line gives him protection like it did this preseason, Ryan might be the best bet to win OROY honors. It also doesn’t hurt that he plays the quarterback position and will likely receive a ton of media attention.

2. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
Stewart has run very well so far in preseason. He rushed 10 times for 100 yards in the Panthers’ third exhibition game and even had a fantastic 50-yard touchdown run that highlighted both his power and breakaway speed. Defenses contained Carolina’s ground attack last year, but that was largely due to ineffective quarterback play. Teams knew that the Panthers were going to try and run the football and often played with eight men in the box. But now that QB Jake Delhomme is healthy again, the Panthers’ offense should be more balanced and thus defenses will have to respect both the run and the pass. He’ll split time with DeAngelo Williams, but Stewart is going to get plenty of opportunities to make plays this season. Not only that, but he looks like a solid overall player.

3. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
The Bears parted with twinkle-toes Cedric Benson this offseason after multiple off-field incidents. The team drafted Forte in the second round and after Benson was released, and the rookie immediately became the starter. Forte has good size, runs hard between the tackles and shows some decent burst when he gets into the open field. But Chicago’s line has to hold up. Center Olin Kreutz, right guard Roberto Garza and right tackle John St. Clair are all decent run blockers, but there are major question marks on the left side of the line. Even so, Forte is going to have plenty of opportunities to make plays this season, especially if backup Kevin Jones can’t stay healthy.

Read the rest after the jump...

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