The NFL regular season is a wrap and awards season is upon us, with Friday’s All Pro team announcement the first of many to come.
There are a multiple versions of awards, with the Associated Press generally viewed as the “official” award. However, the league also offers chances for fans to weigh in. On Friday, the NFL announced the finalists for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year award and fan voting is underway.
The finalists include Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Steelers running back Najee Harris, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, and Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. All six are likely to be in the running for the AP’s ROY award, but we could see different winners based on fanbase boost for this sponsored award.
Chase dominated at the wide receiver position, finishing with 1,455 receiving yards, which ranked fourth among all wide receivers. It is the highest rookie total in the Super Bowl era and his 13 touchdowns were the third most in the league this season.
Harris had a strong season, leading all rookies with 1,667 total scrimmage yards. He was second among rookies with ten touchdowns and led all NFL running backs with 74 receptions.
Jones led all qualified rookies with a 67.6 completion percentage, 3,801 passing yards, 22 touchdown passes and a 92.5 rating this season. He completed at least 70 percent of his pass attempts in nine games to tie Dak Prescott for the most-ever by rookie.
Parsons led all rookies with 13 sacks, which is the third-most by a rookie since the individual sack became an official statistic in 1982. He also tied for the NFL-lead with 21 tackles for loss. He finished the season with three forced fumbles and became the first rookie since Dwight Freeney (13 sacks, nine forced fumbles) with at least 13 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Pitts finished with 1,026 receiving yards this season and joined Hall of Famer Mike Ditka (1,076 receiving yards in 1961) as the only rookie tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards. He had 68 receptions and became the third rookie tight end all-time with at least 65 receptions, joining Keith Jackson and Jeremy Shockey.
Waddle led all rookies with 104 receptions this season, which broke Anquan Boldin’s rookie record. He finished the season with 1,015 receiving yards.