Race For Rookie of the Year, Week 12
With five weeks of the season to go it’s looking more and more like there’s only one man who could possibly earn this crown. There have been other challengers who have at times looked capable of approaching the near flawlessness of RG3, but ultimately they have faded.
To some, wins are the measure of what makes a rookie of the year. To us, it’s about how they play.
Now let’s get to the top 10!
1. Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS (+26.8)
Does anything faze this kid? Eyes of the nation on him and what does he do? Dominate Dallas in a manner that leaves the NFC East worried about the future. Washington spent a lot to get him but it’s looking like money well spent.
2. Russell Wilson, QB, SEA (+18.2)
One preseason stud who has lived up to the billing. Wilson, a third-round rookie — as I have to keep reminding myself — has no right to be this good. But he is, and while his pocket presence isn’t the best out there, you seem him improve on a week- to-week basis.
3. Andrew Luck, QB, IND (+10.9)
If it was only about wins Luck would be leading the way, and you can’t argue that a lot hasn’t been asked of him by Indianapolis. However, just having a lot of asked of you isn’t a recipe for recognition in this race, and with at times patchy accuracy and a few too many turnovers, we’ve yet to see the best out of Luck on a consistent basis. That’s a good thing for Colts fans. He’s going to get better.
4. Kevin Zeitler, RG, CIN (+14.9)
Solid. That was Zeitler against Oakland where he missed his first snap in the NFL. He rarely wows you, but then rarely lets you down. That’s not bad for a rookie guard.
5. Casey Hayward, CB, GB (+19.4)
The Giants took Hayward out of the equation, as he was on the field for only a third of the game’s snaps. Then, when he was on defense they stayed away from him, throwing only once in his direction. He duly broke up the pass because, you know, that’s what he does.
6. Matt Kalil, LT, MIN (+13.1)
Tough outing against Chicago that was arguably his worst pass-blocking display of the year, as he gave up six hurries. Has he hit the rookie wall?
7. Doug Martin, RB, TB (+8.3)
Found the end zone on the ground twice, but it was his work in the passing game that caught our eye for mixed reasons. Gave up a sack, hit and hurry to Atlanta, but balanced that out with some good work in the passing game, even if his most impressive play was called back for a penalty.
8. Chandler Jones, DE, NE (+11.0)
With Jermaine Cunningham going down and the team coming off a long week, New England will be hoping that Jones can return in Week 13. They didn’t generate as much pressure off the edge without him there.
9. Alfred Morris, RB, WAS (+7.6)
Looking to find something of a second wind against Dallas he picked up his fourth 100-yard rushing game, kept a good hold of the ball, and added his sixth touchdown of the year.
10. Bobby Wagner, MLB, SEA (+9.7)
If not for a needless roughing the passer penalty from Earl Thomas we’d likely be speaking about his two picks being vital in a Seahawks victory. Had some problems getting off blocks, but made some plays in coverage to justify his every-down linebacker status.
Lavonte David, LB, TB: The tackling machine had his first multi-missed tackle game of his career, managing a relatively modest (by his standards) seven tackles and getting beat four times in coverage. Not one of his better outings.
Five To Watch
Bruce Irvin, DE, SEA: He’s one dimensional, but he does keep picking up hurries here and there. It’s not at the Aldon Smith rookie rate though, so the Top 10 will continue to elude him.
Luke Kuechly, LB, CAR: Looks like one for the future who has rebounded from a tough start to life in the NFL with some fine performances since moving to the middle linebacker spot.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA: There’s been plenty to be encouraged by from a pretty raw quarterback. Still a lot to be written about this guy in the coming years.
Mitchell Schwartz, RT, CLV: Has struggled at times but seemed to learn after each one of those encounters. Coming off one of his finest days as a pro against Pittsburgh.
Harrison Smith, S, MIN: The Vikings safety misses more tackles than you like but he’s made some plays in coverage that have made Minnesota a better defense.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled