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 the pro action in Week 9? 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 8 of the 2020 NFL season.
AFC DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
DT DaVon Hamilton, Jacksonville Jaguars
After showing some early-season promise, the Jacksonville Jaguars are falling right back in line where most thought they would be when the season began: near the very bottom of the NFL standings. However, a player in their rookie class that may finally be coming into his own after starting the season inconsistently is DaVon Hamilton. He’s come along slowly, but has had some bright moments this season—particularly in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Chargers where he had career highs with four tackles, one TFL, and three pressures. However, on Sunday, he turned in another good performance with four pressures, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Since losing Marcell Dareus, Hamilton is proving to be a worthy investment as he looks to continue to develop as an interior presence.
NFC DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
CB Jeff Gladney, Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings won impressively against the Detroit Lions in Week 9. They currently sit at 3-5 and are third in their division, falling short of their expectations. The secondary was always going to be a position to keep an eye on after losing their top-three cornerbacks to free agency. Injuries have kept their current corners off the field and their pass rush isn’t what it once was. Rookie Jeff Gladney has stepped in to play nickel and turned in a solid performance. Playing nickel as a rookie in the NFL is no small feat. For his performance on Sunday, on nine targets, he had six tackles and allowed 3.1 yards per target. Opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 61.3 when he was in coverage. Gladney and Cameron Dantzler have given Minnesota fans reason for optimism when everyone gets healthy.
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