We might just as well re-name this to the Julio Jones Trophy. I don’t really have to explain the Jones pick, but I’ll just use this space to recap what the other rookies did this year.
Jacquizz Rodgers managed to make plays whenever he got opportunities as a runner and receiver, but most observers including myself can’t seem to understand why he did not get more opportunities. He runs as hard as any back on the roster, able to get yards after contact, and with his speed and quickness to make guys miss and hit the hole quickly, you just wonder what the coaches were seeing that the rest of us didn’t that merited him only getting limited carries. His primary role was in pass protection, another area where he was solid. I believe Rodgers could have made the race with Jones for this award much more interesting if it did not seem that the coaching staff was conspiring against him.
Akeem Dent played predominantly on special teams, and seemed to start to find his stride in the latter half of the year in coverage units. To the point that he might have been our best cover guy this year, which is saying quite a bit when you consider Weems had earned a Pro Bowl bid due to his abilities there just as much as his return skills.
Bosher has already been discussed. And Andrew Jackson and Cliff Matthews respectively spent the entire season on the practice squad or inactive, so there is really nothing to say about them. The only other rookie to make the squad was Darrin Walls, who played fairly well relative to his youth when pressed into duty late in the season, showing doubters like myself that he legitimately was deserving of a roster spot and not a player that just stood out from a weak group of corners this summer.
And I’ll briefly touch on Jones season. He was a bit inconsistent early in the year, and the injuries that plagued him during the middle of the year weren’t helping. But he really picked things up down the stretch and really was much more consistently able to showcase his game-breaking potential. He’s hoping he becomes even more consistent with showing that skillset in the future for the Falcons.