On his way to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, RB Alvin Kamara had himself an incredible rookie campaign. When the Saints traded up in the 3rd Round of the 2017 NFL Draft to get the talented runner out of Tennessee, it’s hard to say the Saints knew they were getting one of the steals of the entire draft.
Pro Football Focus released their Top 10 Record-Breaking Rookies, and guess who made the top of the list?
Let’s start with his performance in the rushing attack. Through 17 weeks of the regular season, Kamara performed incredibly well as a runner behind teammate Mark Ingram and concluded his season with an average 6.1 yards per carry and 3.83 yards after contact per carry, which both now rank first among rookies in the PFF era (2006-present).
It’s hard to argue with those stats, even though his yards per carry was slightly inflated by this long TD run against the Los Angeles Rams.
Moving on to his production in the passing attack, where he was arguably at his very best, Kamara racked up 826 receiving yards at an average of 2.81 yards per route run, forced a total of 29 missed tackles and ended the year with an elite receiving grade of 92.7, all of which are now tops among the 69 rookies that logged at least 18 targets in their rookie seasons. Due to his stellar production both as a runner and as a receiver, Kamara also racked up an elusive rating of 108.5, which, as you probably guessed, is also the best mark ever recorded by a rookie player at the position. Whichever way you look at it, Kamara performed at an unprecedented level for a rookie and he figures to be a major threat in this league for years to come.
In addition to Kamara’s eight rushing TDs, he added another five more in the air. With great route-running and a nose for the endzone, he was a dynamic and trusted part of the Drew Brees-led passing game.
[Highlight] Drew Brees pass short right to Alvin Kamara, touchdown New Orleans. pic.twitter.com/J4DEX0TLIp— TheRenderNFL (@TheRenderNFL) January 15, 2018
But Kamara wasn’t the only New Orleans Saint mentioned in the article. Surprisingly, it wasn’t fellow rookie Marshon Lattimore who saw his name make the list, but it was former Saints RB (now retired) Reggie Bush who came up in conversation. Reggie Bush’s record-setting total for routes run by a rookie Running Back (361) was absolutely shattered by Christian McCaffery of the Carolina Panthers (448).