Race For Rookie of the Year, Week 15
Do you remember a few weeks ago when I called the race over? When I said that nobody could catch RG3? Well, an injury and a three-touchdown performance later, and suddenly things are getting interesting.
You see, while everyone has waxed lyrical about both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, there’s another quarterback out there who is doing some truly spectacular things as he looks to have guided his team to the postseason.
That man may very well end up the rookie of the year.
For now he sits pretty in second spot, but things are heating up.
1. Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS (+28.9)
He sat out the week and now the big question is when will he return? Washington don’t want (or, with Philadelphia the next opponents, need) to rush him back, but it allows the competition to make this tighter.
2. Russell Wilson, QB, SEA (+25.9)
A lot of scouts should feel pretty ashamed of themselves right now. Wilson isn’t just surviving in the NFL, he’s thriving. A starring role in a win over San Francisco and would you begrudge him the top spot?
3. Andrew Luck, QB, IND (+1.6)
The problem with being reliant on late-game heroics is that some teams just won’t leave the door open enough for you to squeak through. Luck has to be more accurate and make better decisions.
4. Casey Hayward, CB, GB (+22.2)
Now the owner of our highest coverage grade, Hayward has done this without playing every down for the Packers. He’s a rare talent that has raised the bar in terms of what we expect from rookie cornerbacks.
5. Kevin Zeitler, RG, CIN (+17.6)
Zeitler has hardly blown us away this year, as the three grades over +2.5 would suggest. But, with just one negatively graded performance (a -0.4) he’s rarely put a foot wrong or allowed defenders to get the better of him.
6. Matt Kalil, LT, MIN (+15.5)
Here’s what we know about the Vikings’ selection of Matt Kalil. They wanted an elite, pass-protecting tackle. They got one. We still need to find out if he can evolve into the complete package in the run game, but it’s been a start as advertised.
7. Bobby Wagner, LB, SEA (+13.4)
The tackle numbers of Luke Kuechly may impress some, but playing linebacker is more than just being credited for a tackle 8 yards down field. Wagner, at this point, is the more complete player and is our top ranked middle linebacker on the year.
8. Alfred Morris, RB, WAS (+9.9)
Who else saw Morris having 1,315 yards through 14 games? Showed he’s more than just the sidekick of RG3 with a fine display against Cleveland.
9. Lavonte David, LB, TB (+8.1)
Almost drops out as he disappointed against the Saints. Still, one bad game does not make a man, and David has been a huge success for the Bucs.
10. Mitchell Schwartz, RT, CLE (+8.8)
Back in the Top 10, Schwartz has proved a reliable, if somewhat unspectacular, find for Cleveland. Will be looking for his work in the run game to improve.
Doug Martin, RB, TB: Gave up two hits against the Saints while turning his nine carries into 16 yards. He’s played better.
Five To Watch
Dont’a Hightower, LB, NE: At times Hightower has been a bit quiet, but these past two weeks his game has seemed to evolve. Just hasn’t played enough to make the list.
Harrison Smith, S, MIN: Can he get better? Yes. But he’s made his team better and justified his high pick.
Josh Gordon, WR, CLV: When it’s all said and done, will he be the best receiver to have entered the league this year? At this rate the competition isn’t exactly battling him.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA: There are times when Tannehill looks very good and really seems to have warranted the faith Miami have invested in him. He’s got a ways to go, but you have to be encouraged by him.
Chandler Jones, DE, NE: At one point he was a contender, now he’s just a guy for whom injuries appeared to have taken too big a toll. Of course games against Duane Brown and Joe Staley won’t have helped.
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