OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
This is a quick, easy contest. First round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire wins this one by default, but it’s not an embarrassing handout. The rookie from LSU has earned this accolade, ranking 4th in the entire NFL with 586 rushing yards. Edwards-Helaire has also chipped in 224 more yards in the passing game on 28 receptions.
Edwards-Helaire has seen a significant dropoff in usage since the acquisition of veteran Le’Veon Bell. In the three games since Bell’s signing, the 21-year-old Edwards-Helaire has not touched the ball more than nine times. However, Kansas City remains committed to their prized rookie. It’s important to remember the value he has brought to the team in 2020 without having a single preseason game in which to prepare. Clyde has been RB1 since he first took the field, and even with Bell in the fold, that won’t change.
The only other rookie in contention here is reserve offensive lineman Yasir Durant. The 330-lb. rookie from Mizzou received his first action in Week 9 against the Panthers. Third round offensive lineman Lucas Niang chose to opt out of the 2020 season on August 6th.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
This is a little more of an exciting discussion. The Chiefs drafted linebacker Willie Gay, defensive backs L’Jarius Sneed and Bopete Keyes, and defensive end Mike Danna. While each has contributed, more or less (except for perhaps Keyes) it is undrafted defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton who leads all Chiefs rookies with 20 tackles in 2020. Wharton has also contributed a sack and a forced fumble in limited opportunities, and thus far has earned the defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Honorable mention goes to Sneed, who tallied fourth quarter interceptions in each of his first two NFL games before departing in Week 3 with a broken collarbone. The 4th round pick gave Chiefs fans a lot to cheer about in limited play, and the Chiefs expect him back in the lineup soon after the bye week.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out in the season’s second half, as Gay and Sneed will likely turn up the heat in this race.