After a solid showing in week 16 and winning rookie of the week, Yaya Diaby is making a case to be considered the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. With plenty of games left, as long as he plays like he did Sunday, he will make a strong case.
Week 16 Spotlight
In a game touted as a solid match up Diaby put on a show against the the Jacksonville Jaguars. Putting together his best game yet Diaby played an important role in shutting down Trevor Lawrence and a potent offense. With one and a half sacks, tow hurries, and quarterback hit Diaby was found breaking up the pocket often. So much so that he contributed to bottling up offensive line men to aid in two other sacks.
Add in five tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery and YaYa jumped off the stat sheet. His play was good enough to earn a 87.1 grade from PFF.
Starting off the season Yaya Diaby spent the first ten games as a rotational player. But the coaches noticed. Playing an average of 22 snaps a game during that span it was time to to make him a full starter in week 12. Since then the Buccaneers’ four and one record has surly been helped by his play.
So far this season he has amassed 6.5 sacks. Tied for first with one other player to lead NFL rookies. Rounding out his numbers he has 31 tackles, nine tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits, and three hurries. Couple that with a low missed tackle percentage ( 8.8%) with an increased work load by 10-15 snaps a game and the Buccaneers have a building block for the future.
There is plenty of games left to make a mark on this season. Right now, while he leads in sacks among all rookies, he’s standing out. Unfortunately, not by much. Especially once you consider that the Buccaneers don’t get the respect on national media they should and are an after thought behind the big name “media favorites”. Now he did win defensive rookie of the week so he could have the spot light shine on him more over the next three weeks.
Either way, if he doesn’t win the Buccaneers have at least found a strong building block for the future.