With three games left on the schedule, the races for the end-of-season awards are heating up.
Pro Football Focus, the website known for their analytical approach to grading players, has been keeping tabs all season on the top Rookie of the Year candidates, and Thursday afternoon they released their Top 10 Rookie of the Year Candidates Entering Week 15.
And of those 10 candidates, two are Oakland Raiders – wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr.
Cooper checks in at No. 10 on the list, receiving an overall grade of 74.7.
Through 13 games, Cooper leads all rookies with 62 receptions for 920 yards (14.8 avg.) and four touchdowns. He has also demonstrated his ability to get yards in bunches as he owns four 100-yard games, which is tied for seventh most in the NFL this season.
Outside of his precise route running and ability to create space, Cooper has been the model of consistency for quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders offense, becoming the first rookie wide receiver in NFL history with four receptions in each of his team's first 10 games.
He also set the franchise rookie records for receptions in only eight games and receiving yards in just 11 games – not a bad start to an NFL career.
As we stated earlier, Cooper isn't the only Raider on the list, as Edwards Jr. is listed as the No. 8 candidate according to Pro Football Focus and their grading system, earning a grade of 81.2.
"No rookie has played as well as Edwards the past six weeks," wrote Pro Football Focus. "He has delivered excellent play wherever the Raiders have lined him up, with his ability to contribute in every phase of the game adding to the Oakland defense in a big way."
Edwards has improved each week throughout the year, and his steady rise hasn't escaped the watchful eye of defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.
"You've seen the emergence of Mario Edwards [Jr.]," Norton said earlier this week. "He shows up now, and everybody is really working. Everybody really cares. They put a lot of value in working, technique, the effort, the study, and it really shows up."
With three games left to play, there's ample opportunity for both the rookies to make their case for Rookie of the Year, particularly since the Raiders duo is set to be playing meaningful football down the stretch of the season.
The rest of Pro Football Focus' Top 10 list is as follows:
- Cornerback Ronald Darby (90.2)
- Defensive end Leonard Williams (86.7)
- Quarterback Jameis Winston (74.8)
- Running back Todd Gurley (81.7)
- Running back T.J. Yeldon (83.0)
- Safety Adrian Amos (81.3)
- Center Mitch Morse (81.1)
- Cornerback Damarious Randall (77.4)