Life in the NFL is hard, as rookies everywhere are finding out after their first taste of action. While in your typical year rookies have the preseason to be phased into the realm of professional football, the rookie class of 2020 has to endure a baptism by fire. We're playing for keeps right out of the gate.
Which rookie performers were able to make the most of their action in Week 11? We, along with our partners at Panini, are recognizing the best of the best each week. Here are the Defensive Rookies of the Week from each conference for Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season.
AFC DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
SAF Julian Blackmon, Indianapolis Colts
Blackmon was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. You typically don’t draft rookies that late and expect them to be in contention for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, but he is squarely in the mix and may even be the frontrunner. Blackmon just seems to make plays and he had the biggest play in the game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. With Aaron Rodgers seemingly engineering yet another game-winning drive, Blackmon forced a fumble in overtime that allowed Indianapolis to kick the game-winning field goal to stay atop the AFC South.
NFC DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
LB Isaiah Simmons, Arizona Cardinals
With De’Vondre Campbell and Jordan Hicks both grading in the lower tier for NFL linebackers so far this year, an opportunity for Arizona’s first-round draft pick emerged. Simmons had his best game by far as a pro in Week 11. In the Cardinals’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, Simmons led the team with 10 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one PBU, and one sack. That’s a solid stat line for the young player who some prognosticators had already labeled as a bust. He may not be an ideal scheme fit with what they’d like to do, but he proved that he is a football player that can have success if he’s on the field and given the opportunity to make plays.