What a great year it has been in terms of rookie performances in the NFL, especially quarterbacks. Five rookies ended up as starting quarterbacks, and three of those five are nominees for this year’s NFL rookie of the year award.
The five players in the running for the award are Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Alfred Morris and Doug Martin. And in my book, it’s a close call, but I truly believe that RG3 deserves to get the award. But only just.
Like I said, it’s been an amazing year for rookie passers. Okay, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden didn’t exactly light it up like the other three, but we never expected them to. But both those players have shown enough in their first season to give hope to their fans and to their respective clubs.
Of the two running backs involved, Alfred Morris just about edges it for me over Buccaneers rusher, Doug Martin. Both have had excellent years (remember Martin’s monster 251 yard game against Oakland), but Morris led all rookies in rushing yards and finished second overall amongst all running backs.
For a while it looked like the race for rookie of the year would be between RG3 and Colts QB, Andrew Luck. But as things stand now, I think Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson has muscled in on the scene and should be Griffin’s main contender for the title. Although Wilson started the year poorly, he really turned things round and impressed everyone with his poise in the pocket, and ability to stay cool under pressure. Let’s not forget his ability to make plays on the ground, which has served Seattle well this season.
The Seahawks paid a lot of money to gain the service of former Packer QB, Matt Flynn, but head coach Pete Carroll decided to have a good old fashioned contest to see who would win the starting job. Wilson impressed enough in the pre season to get the nod, and the rest is history. We could possibly be saying the same thing about Flynn’s career in Seattle. Wilson is clearly who the Seahawks want to move forward with, and Flynn is good enough win another starting job for another team.
So why does RG3 deserve to be this year’s NFL rookie of the year? Just like Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, Griffin has pretty much been the heart and soul of his team. Yes, Alfred Morris was a pleasant surprise, but without Griffin, Washington would have got nowhere near the 10-6 record they ended up with, which was enough to clinch the NFC East title.
In his first season, the rookie out of Baylor threw for 3200 yards and 20 touchdowns, leaving him with an impressive 102.4 passer rating. He protected the ball well, throwing just five interceptions all season. But it was on the ground that he really excelled, rushing for 815 yards and seven touchdowns.
With Griffin, and to a lesser extent Wilson and Luck, we are seeing the future of the quarterback position. Players who can pretty much run as well as they can throw, making them legitimate dual threats and a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. Griffin must be careful though – he has already suffered a concussion and is currently in rehab after undergoing knee surgery.
He might not be the same player next year. Will he be able to bounce back from his knee injury in the same way we saw Vikings RB, Adrian Peterson manage to do this season? That remains to be seen, but for now, he gets my vote as the NFL rookie of the year. But it’s a close one.