T.J. Yeldon is turning in solid performance after solid performance for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is it enough to be considered the best rookie?
After another 54 yards on the ground and 28 yards through the air, rookie running back T.J. Yeldon continues to cement himself as a critical component in the young Jacksonville Jaguars offense.
He’s become a critical component for this offense, allowing greater balance than has been possible in the last couple of seasons. He’s competent, proving reliable when running, catching, and even pass blocking. There’s room for improvement, but he’s showing he can be incredibly reliable.
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Yet it doesn’t seem enough to be considered among the best rookies in the NFL. That didn’t stop Pro Football Focus from noting that
Writer Khaled Elsayed notes that Yeldon’s “numbers didn’t look all that pretty against Baltimore, but Yeldon really squeezed more out of his line than it indicates. The strong running keeps him in the top 10.” That pretty much sums up the young running back’s entire season.
The offensive line for the Jacksonville Jaguars has certainly improved over last season. There’s more running room and better protection for the quarterback, but the unit as a whole still has a lot of work to do. Yeldon’s yardage totals suffer as a result, but he continues to get the job done. He’s succeeding even without the kind of support many rookie running backs need to be successful.
Yet when looking around at the NFL’s rookies, Yeldon looks like an incredibly distant option for Rookie of the Year. His 585 yards are almost a full 200 behind Todd Gurley of the St. Louis Rams, who took the league by storm after returning from injury. He isn’t the best rookie running back, much less overall rookie.
Yeldon is doing everything the Jaguars ask of him, but barring a stretch of games like Gurley’s 100+ yards in four straight, Yeldon will be nothing more than an outside consideration. There’s more to an NFL career than winning Rookie of the Year and Yeldon’s game looks built to last.
T.J. Yeldon is everything the Jaguars need and that is more important than winning as the best rookie in his first season. He’s doing well and frankly that’s good enough for the Jags and for the fans.