Race For Rookie of the Year, Week 15

The injury to RG3 may cost him more than just a little game time -- Russell Wilson's three-touchdown performance in Canada has him within striking distance of our top rookie ...

| 5 years ago

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.

Dropping Out

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.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

  • Jeff

    How is Quinton Coples doing? He seems to have shown some flashes the past several weeks.

  • DannyB

    I think Wilson should be number 1 and I am a Skins fan. RG3 would have to come back and explode and do well in the post season. It is truly possible for the first time ever a rookie could win the SB. I am not counting Wilson out.

  • Anicra

    “Well, an injury and a three-touchdown performance later, and suddenly things are getting interesting.”

    Should it not be a four-touchdown(3run +1 pass) performance?

  • CammyCam

    Luke Kuechly doesn’t seem to be getting the respect he deserves….

    a bit unfair to suggest his tackles are 8 yards downfield….doesn’t he have more tackles for loss than Wagner? Also, he has absurd tackles on a noteworthy amount fewer snaps than others putting up big tackle numbers.

    And finally, once Luke was inserted to MLB the Panther D has slowly climbed up to being a top 10 D.

    Seems like too much weight is being put into his first couple games when he was at OLB and Beason was stinking up the place. Bad games are now being overlooked for guys like David…..but the weight of those first 3 games when he was not at his home at MLB seem to be heavily considered for him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joeboycott Joseph Boycott

    Like the 5 to Watch, but why not Cecil Shorts over Josh Gordon? Cecil Shorts has had much more production. Just curious, I have not watched his blocking or route running like you guys have.

  • Evan

    Cecil Shorts is not a rookie

  • bob jones

    I’d probably vote for Wilson at this point, but I’m confused by that grade for Luck. I’ve watched nearly every one of his games, and while I’ll admit he’s fairly inconsistent and makes a lot of bad decisions/throws, he’s being put in a position to fail. He’s being asked to throw the ball more than just 3 QB’s, and they’re asking him to throw deep more than I can recall seeing any other rookie QB being asked to. He’s playing behind the 28th worst O-line (according to your rankings), and he looks tremendously good when he gets 2.5-3 seconds to throw. And in an Eli Manning fashion, he’s made mistakes, gotten behind, and somehow led his team back in 5 games to win. 

    I’m not trying to argue that he’s been better than RG3/RW, but that grade is baffling to me– to be frank– from what I’ve seen. I also heard Wilson is your 5th overall ranked QB, and that baffles me as well. He’s been good and very efficient, but not asked to do nearly the same amount as other QB’s. 

    I saw this (http://www.advancednflstats.com/2012/12/one-point-favoring-andrew-luck-over.html) and I decided to write this comment. It seem unfair to punish Luck for being put in the position he’s in, while the Redskins basically run a gimmick offense. I applaud the Redskins for giving RG3 a simple offense to start with while he transitions into the NFL, but comparing Luck to RG3 (or RW) without that context (what the QB is being asked to do) seems unfair. Luck’s making 5-6 more mistakes than the other two, but being asked to throw anywhere from 15-30 more times per game than them. 

  • Unhipcat

    Khaled, what is it about Josh Gordon that makes him so much better than Justin Blackmon?