New Pac-12 NFL Blood
This wee, only one Pac-12 NFL player repeated from Week 10’s Best Pac-12 NFL list. Finally, we get some fresh faces and new players on here. Let’s see who joined the ranks of the best!
Nick Folk – New England Patriots
It’s not often that a place-kicker joins the best of Pac-12 NFL players. Yet here we are. With the New England offense moving slowly, their defense and special teams are picking up the slack.
In a tight, 17-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Folk scored the majority of the Patriots’ points. He went three-for-three with field goals of 35, 22 and 39 yards.
Lawrence Guy – New England Patriots
Although his three tackles don’t seem like much, Lawrency Guy was a key-cog in the Patriots’ defensive win. Against the Eagles, his two biggest were:
- Penetrating tackle on Miles Sanders on the one-yard line (shown in above Tweet)
- Fumble recovery after the strip-sack by Danny Shelton
Subscribe to the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast
Cameron Jordan – New Orleans Saints
Through 10 games, Cameron Jordan’s racked up:
- 18 quarterback hits
- 8 tackles for a loss
- One fumble recovery (and one should-be touchdown)
- And 10 sacks
On Sunday, he managed to hit quarterback Jameis Winston four times, get 1.5 sacks and add a tackle for a loss. It was another All-Pro game for Cameron Jordan. His stats and 82.0 PFF grade are why he is still among the best Pac-12 NFL players in the league.
Josh Tupou – Cincinnati Bengals
Although the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Oakland Raiders, Josh Tupou played very well. It was by-far his best game of the season. Tupou compiled seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, one stuff and one forced fumble.
In his third season, he’s regularly seeing playtime. Keep in mind, Tupou accounted for just 10 defensive snaps in 19-percent of defensive snaps in Week 1. In Weeks 10 and 11, he earned 30 (67-percent) and 39 (56-percent) snaps. It’s a mild breakout for the Colorado product.
Kenjon Barner – Atlanta Falcons
Honestly, is there anything better to watch than a special teams touchdown? They are rare, special and should be treated as such.
In the first quarter, up 3-0, Kenjon Barner fielded the punt from Younghoe Koo at the Atlanta 22. He then took it 78 yards to the house. The seventh-year journeyman just earned his first, NFL punt/kick return touchdown. Of course, his highlight-touchdown is worthy of praise.
Jordan Poyer – Buffalo Bills
Yes, their game was against the hapless Miami Dolphins. Nonetheless, the Buffalo Bills won by 17 and Miami finally couldn’t cover the spread.
In this game, Jordan Poyer did his usual damage as a reliable tackler. He totaled six tackles (four solo) and also added a fumble recovery. On the season, Poyer now has 72 tackles, one sack, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers
Somehow, even though he compiled nearly 200 yards from scrimmage, the Carolina Panthers only scored three points. How on Earth is that possible? What else does Christian McCaffrey have to do?
In their Week 11 matchup, our Pac-12 NFL superstar turned 14 carries into 70 rushing yards and also caught 11 balls for 121 yards. 191 yards from scrimmage. Yet, only three points for the Panthers. This team needs to get a viable quarterback or send the Stanford star to another team. His play deserves the playoffs.
Eric Kendricks – Minnesota Vikings
Eric Kendricks is elite. Right now, he’s playing the best football of his career. He currently owns a 90.5 PFF grade. Last week, he earned a spot on the top Pac-12 NFL list with his fourth-down heroics.
Because of his stellar form, the Vikings have utilized Kendricks in pass coverage this season. He’s stepped up to the challenge with 12 pass break-ups. Eric Kendricks, with 85 tackles and 12 pass breaks-ups, is playing like a top-three linebacker.
Sam Darnold – New York Jets
Though his 43.7 (No. 25) QBR on the season is uninspiring, Sam Darnold played his best game this week. He displayed an excellent passing ceiling with 293 yards and 4 touchdowns. Yes, he still took two sacks and threw an interception against Washington. But, this was one of the better games for Darnold and his 6-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio since returning from illness is promising.
Also, keep in mind these two things before putting down Darnold:
- Sam Darnold has the highest pressure-rate of any qualified quarterback this season.
- He’s 22 years-old
Marcus Williams – New Orleans Saints
Heading into Week 11, Marcus Williams already was PFF’s top safety. That’s already praise enough for a Pac-12 NFL player. But then, he went and showed out in Week 11. Games like this show why he is the best of the best. Not only did he record three tackles and two pass break-ups. But, he also took an interception to the house.
There’s nothing like a pick-six for football fans. Especially defense enthusiasts. Marcus Williams is having a career year.
Danny Shelton – New England Patriots
Down ten to six with just over two minutes left in the first half, Danny Shelton came up big. His strip-sack of Carson Wentz put the Patriots in excellent field position. Unfortunately, as is the case this year with the Patriots’ offense, they came away with three points. Though they started at the Eagles 22, they couldn’t score a touchdown. It’s a shame.
But, what isn’t a travesty is the New England Patriots’ defense. They look like one of the greatest defenses of all time. If players like Danny Shelton can keep bailing out the offense, they might win yet another Super Bowl.
Jalen Thompson – Arizona Cardinals
As most know, the Arizona Cardinals need help in their secondary. Their pass-defending is among the worst in the league. However, Jalen Thompson got his first interception this week.
Additionally, he also had his first pass break-up. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the rookie out of Washington State.