Todd Gurley, Saints Defenders Lead Rookie Rankings Week Four

Running back Todd Gurley and Saints defenders Hau'oli Kikaha, Stephone Anthony, Damian Swann, Delvin Breaux, Bobby Richardson and Tyler Davison all made rookie impacts in week 4 of the NFL.

1) Todd Gurley (RB) St. Louis Rams

The Rams broke Todd Gurley in last week against the Steelers and he didn’t do much of anything. On Sunday, on the road against the Cardinals, the first round pick from Georgia had an outstanding game, rushing 19 times for 146 yards. That’s a 7.7 yard per carry. He also caught two passes for 15 yards. St. Louis doesn’t upset Arizona on the road without this performance from Gurley. He gives the Rams a physical run game, exactly what they need in the rugged NFC West. This will be an entirely different offense if Gurley can give them good production.

2) Hau'oli Kikaha (OLB) New Orleans Saints

Kikaha recorded a sack for the third straight game. He’s the first Saint to do that since Will Smith in 2004. Kikaha finished with eight tackles and a sack in their win against the Cowboys. That sack came against Tyron Smith, a big play late in the game.

3) Ronald Darby (CB) Buffalo Bills

Darby could be one of the steals of the draft for the Bills. He has made this list in each of the first four weeks of the season. He was challenged last Sunday by one of the game’s most explosive players in Odell Beckham. He held Beckham to one reception for eight yards on four targets. Against Rueben Randle, Darby allowed one catch on two attempts. Tight end Larry Donnell didn’t get a reception against the rookie from FSU. Darby had four tackles, one tackle for a loss and three passes defended against the Giants.

4) Leonard Williams (DL) NY Jets

Williams has played well for the Jets over the first quarter of the season. The former first-round pick from USC was disruptive against the Dolphins in London. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Williams racked up 10 quarterback pressures. He finished with three tackles and one tackle for a loss.

5) T.J. Yeldon (RB) Jacksonville Jaguars

Yeldon posted his best performance to date against the Colts, rushing the ball 22 times for 105 yards. He leads all rookie running backs in yards with 259. Look for Yeldon to be a work horse against Tampa Bay this weekend. 

6) Stephone Anthony (LB) New Orleans Saints

Anthony continues his good play. Against Dallas on Sunday night the former Clemson star racked up seven tackles and a one sack. The Saints are playing several rookies on defense. In addition to Anthony and Kikaha, Bobby Richardson, Delvin Breaux and Damian Swann (nickel) are all seeing extensive action. Don’t forget about Tyler Davison. He chipped in four tackles and a sack as well.  Richardson chipped in with six tackles and two tackles for a loss. These New Orleans rookies were five of the Saints six top tacklers against Dallas.

Speaking of Beaux, he was challenged by Dallas and targeted nine times according to ProFootballFocus.com. He only gave up two receptions, through one was for a score. Breaux finished with two tackles and two passes defended.

Drew Brees has found a comfort zone with rookie wide receiver Willie Snead. He finished with six receptions for 89 yards. This former Ball State star consistently gets open and shows reliable hands.

7) Ryan Delaire (DE) Carolina Panthers

The Panthers signed this undrafted rookie from Townson off the Washington Redskins practice squad. Delaire rewarded Carolina with a five tackle, two sack performance in only 28 snaps against the Bucs. Ironically, Delaire was originally an undrafted free agent signee by Tampa Bay back in May.

8) Duke Johnson (RB) Cleveland Browns

In some positive Cleveland Browns news, Miami rookie running back Duke Johnson posted his best game to date against the Chargers. He was very effective as a receiver out of the backfield, catching nine passes for 84 yards. Among those was a 34-yard touchdown reception.

9) Eddie Goldman (DT) Chicago Bears

Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman continues to play better and better. In their first win of the season against the Raiders, the former FSU star recorded his first sack and stellar play against the run on the inside.

10) Eric Kendricks (LB) Minnesota Vikings

A big reason why the Vikings traded middle linebacker Gerald Hodges was the play of UCLA rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks. He had a nice game against Denver, recording four tackles and a sack. On a side note, rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs is starting to make big contributions for the Minnesota offense. He caught six passes in their loss at Denver, the first game the former Maryland star has been active.

 

HONORABLE MENTION:

Henry Anderson (DE) Indianapolis ColtsLandon Collins (S) NY GiantsJamison Crowder (WR) Washington RedskinsStefon Diggs (WR) Minnesota VikingsJordan Hicks (LB) Philadelphia EaglesKevin Johnson (CB) Houston TexansByron Jones (CB) Dallas CowboysJames Sample (S) Jacksonville Jaguars, and Donovan Smith (OT) Tampa Bay Buccaneers


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