2012 PFF All-Rookie Team
Steve Palazzolo works his way through one of the best draft classes of recent memory to find a squad of rookies that could push a team of seasoned vets.
2012 PFF All-Rookie Team
When it’s all said and done, the rookie class of 2012 may be viewed as one of the best ever, particularly due to the strength at the quarterback position. The trio of Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, and Andrew Luck all had immediate success that may have unfairly altered future expectations at the position, and all three appear poised for excellence in the coming years.
In addition to the quarterbacks, this rookie class features a deep group of running backs, a plethora of linebackers, playmakers in the secondary and, of course, a group of strong-legged kickers.
Let’s take a look at the top rookies at each position for 2012.
QB: Russell Wilson, SEA (+39.4)
This battle came down to the very end, but Wilson’s late surge gave him both our Rookie of the Year award as well as the top spot as quarterback on the All-Rookie Team. While Griffin and Luck were receiving the majority of the hype through much of the season, Wilson quietly went about his business before going on a tear that saw him grade at +32.9 over his last nine regular season games.
While the future appears bright for the top three quarterbacks in the class, Wilson boasts the best rookie season of the bunch.
Honorable Mention: RG3 (WAS), Andrew Luck (IND)
RB: Alfred Morris, WAS (+17.1)
While Doug Martin edged Morris out in Elusive Rating (58.2 to 51.0), it was Morris’ overall body of work that gave him the top spot. His +17.1 grade ranked third among running backs, while his 1,613 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns were second in the league.
Honorable Mention: Doug Martin (TB)
FB: Rhett Ellison, MIN (+12.5)
Ellison was a key cog in RB Adrian Peterson’s near record breaking season as he ranked second among fullbacks with a +12.1 blocking grade.
WR: Josh Gordon, CLE (+3.4) and T.Y. Hilton, IND (-2.8)
It was a slow start for rookie wide receivers around the league, but the trio of Gordon, Chris Givens and Hilton became large parts of their respective offenses as the season progressed, and they all averaged over 16.0 yards/catch. Gordon locked up one spot with his 805 yards on 50 catches and Hilton narrowly edged Givens for the second spot as his seven touchdowns led all rookies and his 861 receiving yards ranked second.
Honorable Mention: Chris Givens (SL)
TE: Dwayne Allen, IND (+19.4)
The second of the Colts’ draft picks at the tight end position, not only did Allen outplay his teammate Coby Fleener, but he also showed better than most tight ends around the league. He brought in the second-highest grade at the position, including superb run blocking at +10.1 on the year.
Tackles: Matt Kalil, MIN (LT) (+15.9) and Mitchell Schwartz, CLV (RT) (+16.1)
It’s uncanny how similar the numbers look for Kalil and Schwartz. Both made the team on the strength of top-notch pass blocking, as Kalil graded at +15.6 and Schwartz at +15.1, while both have room to improve as run blockers (Kalil -2.4, Schwartz –2.9). They finished among the Top 22 tackles in the league, making for an easy selection as the bookend tackles on the All-Rookie Team.
Guards: Amini Silatolu, CAR (LG) (-16.7) and Kevin Zeitler, CIN (RG) (+13.0)
The right guard position was easily filled by Zeitler, who ranked as our 12th-best guard on his way to surrendering only 15 pressures all season. Finding a left guard was a much more arduous process, and Silatolu makes the team by default over Jeff Allen (KC) and Mike Brewster (JAX). Silatolu ranked 77th of the 81 qualifying guards, but ranking a couple of notches above Allen and Brewster gets him the spot on the team.
Center: Trevor Robinson, CIN (-1.8)
On our Mid-Season Rookie Team we were unable to include a center as no first-year players had taken any significant snaps at the time. Luckily Trevor Robinson entered the mix as part of the revolving door at center for the Bengals. He held his own during their stretch run on one of the league’s best offensive lines.
Turn the page for the defense