Getty Images

The end of the regular season is in the not-too-distant future and Rookie of the Year honors will soon be dispersed. It is important to provide some context to the race as it is different from a year ago. 

In 2021, Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater and Chiefs center Creed Humphrey were playing at elite levels for their respective positions, but everyone knew the Offensive Rookie of the Year honor was going to Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. Chase was dominant at his position. Each of those players was elite. 

As the situation currently sits, Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner is the only rookie playing at an elite level. Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen and Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson are putting together impressive stat packages, but Gardner is the best rookie on that side of the ball. On offense, it is a three-horse race between Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson, Saints wide receiver Chris Olave and Falcons wide receiver Drake London. All three have been very good, but not up to the level of Chase a year ago; in fairness, Chase had a much better quarterback situation than any of the three rookie wide receivers mentioned. 

Beyond those six rookies, there is a bucket of good players who could seemingly rotate off-and-on the power rankings each week.

These rankings are not based on statistical performance but rather overall play. Without further ado, here are the cumulative regular-season rookie rankings following Week 12:

Week 11 Rookie Rankings
Sauce Gardner New York Jets CB
Gardner gave up one reception on three targets for 31 yards against the Bears. He has been a key piece to a much improved Jets defense.
Chris Olave New Orleans Saints WR
Olave was involved in one of the wildest reviews of the weekend. He had possession of the football for roughly three seconds before going to the ground and losing it. It was ruled not a catch, which consequently caused outrage across social media. He ranks among the top 20 pass catchers in receptions (56) and receiving yards (822).
Drake London Atlanta Falcons WR
I am the first one to admit when I am wrong and I was wrong about London. His smooth transitions and ability to make plays in space are better than I ever gave him credit for at USC. The Falcons used him on an end around against the Commanders, probably because they can't find him downfield. London can do a better job of sitting down in the zone, but there is a lot to be excited about for his future.
Garrett Wilson New York Jets WR
Wilson has been effective for New York regardless of which quarterback starts. However, he now has two touchdown receptions each from Joe Flacco and Mike White, and zero from Zach Wilson. Wilson does a great job of creating opportunities for himself through crisp footwork at the route stem.
Aidan Hutchinson Detroit Lions DE
Rookie of the Year is largely based on raw statistics. With six games remaining, Hutchinson has 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. As far as resume is concerned, Tariq Woolen and Hutchinson stack up better than the rest of the defensive class.
Tariq Woolen Seattle Seahawks CB
Woolen was credited with giving up one reception for 20 yards, but Davante Adams was really getting him turned around downfield. It was the first time this season where the rookie's transitions looked a bit stiff and slow. When lined up over Mack Hollins, Woolen did a much better job of holding his own.
Kader Kohou Miami Dolphins CB
With an undrafted free agent, fans may expect that player to perform well for only a short period of time but Kohou has been able to sustain it throughout the season while playing multiple roles. He was credited with 10 receiving yards allowed on six receptions.
Dameon Pierce Houston Texans RB
One quality that is an absolute must for a running back is balance through contact. Pierce was bouncing and spinning off of defenders against Miami to no avail. Over the past two weeks, he has been held to 16 rushing yards on 15 carries; yes, you read that correctly.
Kenneth Walker III Seattle Seahawks RB
Walker is going through a cold spell of his own. He has 43 rushing yards on 24 carries over the past two weeks. He has accumulated two touchdowns over that same time period, including a run on Sunday when he bounced it outside twice against Las Vegas.
Tyler Linderbaum Baltimore Ravens C
Linderbaum had arguably his best game of the season against the Jaguars. Jacksonville did not run a lot of plays into his gap, which allowed him to play straight up. He did a fantastic job playing with leverage and anchor against the Jacksonville interior.
Micheal Clemons New York Jets DE
Clemons had always been an impact run defender but he is showing more twitch and pass rush development in recent weeks. New York has a lot of talented, young players and they are all feeding off of each other right now.
Braxton Jones Chicago Bears OT
Jones struggled dropping anchor against those New York pass rushers, but it was one game. He has had a tremendous season but the ship's course has to be corrected next week against the Packers.
Abraham Lucas Seattle Seahawks OT
Similar discussion to Jones above, Lucas really struggled with Maxx Crosby over the weekend, allowing two sacks, but he has had a good season. Can he reverse course next week against the Rams?
Tyler Allgeier Atlanta Falcons RB
Allgeier is not a burner by any means but his contact balance was impressive against a stingy Washington defense. Cordarrelle Patterson is not going to be around forever, but it appears Atlanta has a running back of the future already on the roster.
Jack Jones New England Patriots CB
Jones was credited with allowing one reception for a 15-yard touchdown against the Vikings. New England found a talented player in the draft who was able to pick up Bill Belichick's defense from Day 1.