NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidate: #2
Texans RB Dameon Pierce
Dameon Pierce didn’t come off the board until the second pick in the fourth round. In a draft that saw zero running backs go in the first round and still six backs go ahead of him, Pierce entered the year with a chip on his shoulder.
Pierce came to the NFL by way of the Florida Gators, where he was in a committee situation. He earned a reputation for his aggressive running style and ability to break tackles while maintaining solid balance. Because of his low-volume usage, he had relatively fresh legs. Houston fits the bill as a team where a rookie would get a chance to play early and often. The Texans running back room included Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Royce Freeman, and Dare Ogunbowale.
After an impressive preseason for Pierce, the Texans parted ways with Marlon Mack and the road was paved for Pierce to assume a heavy workload. He’s continued to impress since. Through eight games, Pierce has logged 678 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and three scores on the ground, adding another 20 receptions for 98 yards and one score through the air. He ranks sixth in the NFL for rushing yards and first among rookies. His ability to bounce off of would-be tacklers has translated nicely, trailing only all-world Browns RB Nick Chubb.
Pierce is a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. If he played on a slightly more potent offense with more scoring opportunities, he might a sure-thing.