The NFL season is broken into four segments or quarters, having a winning record within each quarter is the key to a successful season. Starting the season strong, healthy and fast is extremely important. NFL teams lean heavily on a selected few within their rookie class to help energize the roster and be productive on the field. NFL Rookies of the Month of September are Offense: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina (Florida State) and Defense: CB Kyle Fuller, Chicago (Virginia Tech)
WR Kelvin Benjamin – Softli Draft Note: A vertical receiver that is a Red Zone money maker! Great size and length. Very good strength on slants and fades. Lacks deep ball speed and is S/T in hips on several NFL routes. Soft and sure hands outside frame. He was my 9th ranked Receiver behind Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, Marquise Lee, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Devante Adams, Cody Latimer and Bruce Ellington.
- Benjamin, a first-round selection (No. 28 overall) out of Florida State, led all rookies with 329 receiving yards, tied for first among rookies with three touchdowns and ranked second among rookies with 21 receptions.
- He had touchdown receptions of 35, 28 and 26 yards during the month. Benjamin is the only rookie in the past decade with a 25+ yard touchdown catch in three of his team’s first four games to start a season.
- Benjamin had at least five catches in three of Carolina’s four September games.
- He had at least 75 receiving yards in three of the Panthers’ four games during the month, including a 115-yard performance in Week 3 against Pittsburgh.
- Benjamin had 17 first downs, the most by a rookie, and 81 percent of his catches resulted in a first down.
- He averaged 15.7 yards per catch and had a 20+ yard reception in all four games.
- Benjamin is the first Panther to be named NFL Rookie of the Month since linebacker Luke Kuechly (Defense, December 2012).
- Benjamin is the first Panther to be awarded NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month since quarterback Cam Newton 2011 (September).
CB Kyle Fuller – Softli Draft Notes: Very good size, competitiveness and toughness to play the game with a nasty attitude. Will fit in all defensive schemes and become a core special teams player ASAP. Good FBI and read reaction quickness. Good route recognition. Good body balance and control to contort and compete high with very good PBU. Good blitzer from edge or middle. A disruptive footballer with huge upside. Collision tackler with wrap and nasty finish vs. force or receivers in space.
- Fuller, a first-round selection (No. 14) out of Virginia Tech, tied for the NFL lead with three interceptions and was tied for second in the league with two forced fumbles. He led all rookies in both categories.
- In addition to his three interceptions and two forced fumbles, Fuller had 21 tackles and four passes defensed.
- Fuller is the only player in the past 20 years with at least three interceptions and two forced fumbles in the first month of the season.
- In Week 2’s come-from-behind victory in San Francisco, Fuller recorded two fourth-quarter interceptions that each set up a touchdown. He is the first rookie since 2007 (AARON ROSS) with two interceptions to set up touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a game.
- The following week in a win at the New York Jets, Fuller had an interception and forced two fumbles.
- He was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 2.
- Fuller is the third Bear to be named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month. He joins linebacker Brian Urlacher (October 2000) and defensive end Mark Anderson (October 2006).
- Fuller is the first cornerback to be awarded NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month in the first month of a season since 2001 when Washington’s Fred Smoot was honored.
(Some of the data in this blog provided by NFL Communications)