Many were puzzled when the New Orleans Saints, a team in dire need of defense which already had Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson on its roster, traded up for a running back in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In hindsight, their selection of Alvin Kamara has been one of the best of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Tennessee product has become an integral part of the Saints' rise to the top of the NFC South, and Kamara now has to be the frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
After hot starts by Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette and Deshaun Watson, all have been derailed by ineffectiveness or injury. Meanwhile, Kamara has only improved. Since his Week 6 breakout Kamara has gone over 100 total yards in each game but one. Furthermore, even with Mark Ingram also working in the Saints backfield, Kamara has already gained more than 1,000 total yards through 12 games. The 22-year-old has also been a steady contributor as a pass catcher, racking up more than 600 yards through the air.
He's found the end zone 11 times, four more than Fournette, Kamara's main competition for the award, and six more than Le'Veon Bell, commonly deemed the game's best running back.
Kamara's ascension to stardom has paralleled the Saints 9-1 stretch after an 0-2 start. Now the Saints find themselves as legitimate contenders in the NFC, but this time is different. Why? Because the Saints finally have something to augment the right arm of Drew Brees in a critical contest. Between individual and team success, Kamara's impact has been profound, and if he can continue to average even close to 7.1 yards per carry while being a dual threat out of the backfield, he fully deserves to take home the hardware over his more highly drafted peers.