Race For Rookie of the Year, Week 14

It seems rookies have been making headlines all season long. Here, Khaled Elsayed lists the 10 best performers of the year, so far.

| 5 years ago
Doug Martin, Mychal Kendricks

Race For Rookie of the Year, Week 14

Three games to go and the regular season is done. Can the season nearly be over?

The nostalgic guy I am that means lots of looking back on what has come before, and one of the things that has really stood out this year are the rookies. Not just the quarterbacks, but the linemen, linebackers and running backs that look set to become fixtures in the NFL for years to come.

It’s made writing this piece challenging at times because of the nature of the competition. I mean, sure No. 1  looks nailed on but what about the rest?

Let’s see.

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS (+28.4)

How much easier do you think Redskin fans are sleeping with the news RG3 suffered a sprain of his LCL. That looked a lot worse then it turned out being, but it still has to be a worry with a rejuvenated Browns team to visit this week. In any case, Griffin remains the top rookie out there. A combination of big plays and a lack of mistakes. Yeah, that works.

2. Russell Wilson, QB, SEA (+22.9)

Maybe it was the comedown after a big win or maybe he just didn’t need to play well, in any case we’ve seen better from Wilson. That said Seattle only needed him to throw the ball 13 times so maybe he was resting himself up for the games to come?

3. Andrew Luck, QB, IND (+2.8)

Depending on your perspective, there’s a skill (or luckiness) in saving your best for when it matters the most. After all, if you could just switch it on why wouldn’t you do it all the time? Luck wins games. Can’t deny it. And he has some genuinely impressive moments that excite you for the future. However, there’s so many off target balls that you have to think his charmed existence isn’t going to carry on forever.

4. Casey Hayward, CB, GB (+21.9)

The Detroit game provided another exhibition of how good he can be, matching up with the bigger Tony Scheffler for the most part, and coming off the winner. Quarterbacks have a 30.1 rating when throwing into his coverage. They may want to make a note of that.

5. Kevin Zeitler, RG, CIN (+16.1)

His game against Dallas ended on a sour note after he allowed a big sack. That took away from some good work in the run game as the right side of Cincinnati continues to be one of (if not the) best in the game.

6. Doug Martin, RB, TB (+12.6)

Looked back to his best against Philadelphia, taking his season totals to 1,234 yards with 868 of those coming after contact. Only 15 guys have a bigger total than that with all of their rushing yards. Second to Adrian Peterson in forced missed tackles from rushes.

7. Matt Kalil, LT, MIN (+13.1)

He does not like playing against Chicago. That’s eight hurries in two games he’s allowed to the Bears in a season where he’s given up 20 quarterback disruptions all year. And so he falls.

8. Bobby Wagner, LB, SEA (+5.4)

Just like that Wagner is back on the main board. His two interception day was the big reason for the inclusion and marked a real return to form. Can he keep it up against better opposition?

9. Lavonte David, LB, TB (+10.2)

That was as well as David has played this year, against Philadelphia, moving himself up to fourth in our 4-3 outside linebacker rankings. After the disappointment of Mason Foster as a rookie, David has delivered and then some on what was expected of him.

10.Alfred Morris, RB, WAS (+8.9)

The incredible thing about the sixth-round pick is that at a time when rookies should be slowing down he’s picked up his third straight 100-yard rushing game. He’s good.

Dropping Out

Chandler Jones, DE, NE: He returned from injury but looked far from at his best against Houston.

Mitchell Schwartz, RT, CLE: He didn’t do anything wrong but someone had to make room for two fine linebacker performances.

Five To Watch

Cordy Glenn, LT, BUF: He had some problems against the Rams and hasn’t quite matched the heights of his early season form since coming back from injury. Still a fine year.

Trent Richardson, RB, CLE: Two more touchdowns from Richardson, who is the kind of back who always seems to get more than he should.

Mike Martin, DT, TEN: Another player who has struggled recently, but found his form against an overmatched Colts interior.

Harrison Smith, S, MIN: He’s far from perfect, but his introduction to the Vikings’ secondary has improved their coverage unit no end.

Dont’a Hightower, LB, NE: A puzzling year.  At times looks like something of a playmaker, at times a bit tentative. Much the former against the Texans.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

  • john

    Wow no Luke Keuchly? League leader in tackles. became anchor of Panthers D.

    • hulkbacker

      The first 4 games, he was pretty bad. He was an absolute sucker for playaction. That put him a deep hole, I believe. However he has found his stride once he took over at the mike spot full time. If the Panthers had a winning record, I’m sure he would be getting a bit more pub.
      I actually thought he would have a decent shot at making that all week 14 team. He had a dominant game against Atlanta.

    • http://www.facebook.com/colin.weaver Colin William Weaver

      “League leader in tackles.” Frequent PFF much? It’s arguably their most hated statistic. What’s his tackling %, what’s his ‘stop’ %, what happens on throws into his coverage, etc, those are the things to be considered.

  • Ravens One

    Andrew Luck seems to be the guy most discussed on National and local TV/Radio/Print except here at PFF (thank god). It’s RG III and Russell Wilson at the head of class for Rookie of the Year in my eyes! Luck’s completion % in 8 of the 13 games has been at 55 % or below. Ouch! The multiple pick six games and poor decision making puts the
    Colts behind the eight ball in many games. Poor defenses, such as the one’s in
    Detroit and Tennessee allow for late heroics, thus help to make Luck look
    better than he is if you watch games.

    I would argue the Colts win in spite of Luck (more often) and not necessarily because of
    Luck. A 1-1 TD to int. ratio is not very good.

    • Dolt45

      If you think the Colts are winning in spite of Luck, you’re the one clearly not watching the games.

      • roguepatriot

        You mean the games where Luck’s late game heroics are needed to get out from the holes he created for his team? He’s thrown 9 INTs in the last 4 games. Luck is going to be a star QB, but right now, he’s a mixed bag.

        That said, Indy hasn’t been playing world beaters lately. They will be facing the Texans, twice.

        • Ravens One

          I can’t wait to see Andrew Luck against a Houston Texans defense that plays a much more fundamentally sound brand of football than do the Detroit Lions or Tennessee Titans.

  • brandeezy09

    josh gordon should be here somewhere…

    • deg4

      I have to agree. I don’t remember the last time a supplemental pick played so will his rookie season. As a Browns fan I am excited about this guy’s future!

    • roguepatriot

      Agree 100%.

  • roguepatriot

    Obviously, Foles will never be discussed in RoY arguments, but despite his average grade against Dallas, I thought he looked good. Then he makes the PFF Team of the Week against a good TB pass rush. With RG3, Wilson, and Luck, if Foles can keep this up, the 2012 QB class could very well have a chance to be the best of all time.

    • BucFan

      Tampa does not have a good pass rush. They are ranked last in pass against and low in sacks. The Eagles O-line is so bad that they appeared to be really good.