Pro Football Weekly contributors Jon Styf and Kyle Nabors debate who is the NFL's top rookie for 2017.
Nabors: Watching Alvin Kamara pile up yards and touchdowns once again Sunday got me thinking, who are the top candidates for NFL Rookie of the Year? He's certainly making a strong case, but then I came up with Leonard Fournette, Evan Engram and Marshon Lattimore just off the top of my head.
Styf: It's funny, because you named two Saints there. But you didn't name the right one. You are more focused on the effect than the cause, Mr. Daily Fantasy. Saints OT Ryan Ramczyk has had the biggest impact, opening holes for Kamara and protecting Drew Brees on the outside. Want to find the biggest reason the Saints have jumped up to the top of the NFC South standings? Yes, the defense is much improved. But on offense it's Ramczyk.
Nabors: I'll give you Ramczyk over Kamara, reluctantly, but not over Lattimore (fortunately we get to choose an Offensive and Defensive ROY). The Saints' pass defense has been horrendous for the past half decade. Lattimore wasn't the only newcomer to the team's secondary, but he has easily made the biggest impact. How about outside of New Orleans? Fournette has been a workhorse in Jacksonville, and Engram has turned in one of the best rookie seasons for a tight end in NFL history.
Styf: I've said all year that I like the Bears' draft class (Mitch Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Eddie Jackson), but none of them are Rookie of the Year caliber. Deshaun Watson could have been it if he didn't get hurt. And ... I'm not answering the question. Yes, Engram has been effective. But tight ends are clearly used differently now than in the past, so saying he has some of the best rookies stats at the spot doesn't mean everything. If we're talking about running backs, though, the best is still Kareem Hunt. He hasn't been as effective as Fournette of late, but his body of work is still better. We'll see how Christian McCaffrey finishes out the year too. He enters this week 12th in the NFL in receptions.
Nabors: How dare you talk about the Bears' draft class without mentioning Adam Shaheen. I guess we can debate Hunt vs. Fournette, but I don't think it's particularly close. Hunt has been extremely pedestrian since the beginning of October. I'll take Fournette every time in that debate. You mention Watson's injury, and I'll throw another unfortunate injury out there in Dalvin Cook. I feel like we were robbed of two of the top candidates.
Styf: One (Hunt) has 930 yards on 193 carries with four TDs. The other has 822 yards on 207 carries with seven scores and missed a game to suspension. You might like Fournette in fantasy or in Madden franchise mode, but his numbers aren't better. Only one of those scores, by the way, has come since Oct. 15. Fournette's lines from three of the past four games were also miserable. Seventeen carries for 33 yards. Twelve carries for 25. Twenty carries for 57 yards.
Nabors: Fournette has actually missed two games, but given both of their struggles over the past month, it sounds like neither are getting our votes. So that brings us back to the Saints' rookies, right? In which case I'll go Lattimore and Kamara with Ramczyk a distant third.
Styf: I mentioned the suspension and not the ankle injury because the injury isn't being held against him for Rookie of the Year. I'm taking Ramczyk, Kamara, T.J. Watt and Tre'Davious White as my top four with Lattimore and Hunt lurking.