Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 16

Russell Wilson was superb against the 49ers, finally knocking RG3 from his perch atop Khaled's standings for Rookie of the Year.

| 5 years ago

Race for Rookie of the Year, Week 16

Back in Week 1 there was only one quarterback everyone was talking about. He caught the attention of all with a quite sublime performance, and has since followed that up with a level of play that as stunned and excited many fans.

That man was Robert Griffin III and until today he had led my Race for Rookie of the Year from the moment the season kicked off. Only now, the race that he seemed to have in the bag isn’t quite so. Instead he’s facing the challenge of a third-round rookie too short for the NFL who right now is playing as well as anyone.

Has Russell Wilson overcome RG3? Let’s find out.

1. Russell Wilson, QB, SEA (+33.1)

I remember talking about Wilson with Neil Hornsby during preseason. He came away convinced he was pretty special, to which my cynical response was let’s see how he would do during the regular season. Well, the cynic in me dies a little every time I see Wilson, instead I’m stunned by his play. He was superb against San Francisco and his form, especially in the second half of the year, makes a mockery of the fact 74 players were taken ahead of him in any draft class. There aren’t 74 players in the league I’d take over him.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS (+31.8)

This week RG3 attempted only 24 passes, yet his adjusted accuracy percentage of 95% should tell you how on target he was. A good performance with him not really testing the Eagles’ secondary, and with Wilson playing so well he drops from the top spot for the first time. Play well and win against Dallas though and it will take some performance to keep him from the top spot.

3. Andrew Luck, QB, IND (+3.5)

The Chiefs’ defense is no pushover, so it should probably relieve a lot of Colts fans that it’s the best Luck has played for quite some time. His accuracy still concerns me, but I’m looking forward to seeing him in the playoffs.

4. Casey Hayward, CB, GB (+22.9)

A quiet day for Hayward with the Packers trouncing the Titans in a game that became meaningless quickly. He did exhibit some nifty work in the run game around the line of scrimmage and is the clear defensive rookie of the year in my mind.

5. Matt Kalil, LT, MIN (+16.0)

I’ll hold my hands up. I disagree with the idea of taking an offensive tackle as high as the Vikings took Kalil. But if you’re going down that road, you’ll struggle to get more initial bang for your buck than Kalil has given.

6. Bobby Wagner, LB, SEA (+14.4)

Our top ranked 4-3 middle linebacker quickly became an every-down player for the Seahawks and just keeps on making plays. How the Seahawks continue to knock their drafts out of the park amazes, and puts the rest of the league to shame.

7. Alfred Morris, RB, WAS (+12.9)

Each week I keep expecting him to slow down, and each week he proves me wrong. Morris broke five more tackles to surpass the 50 mark (rushing) for the year. He’s far more than a product of the Redskins’ system.

8. Lavonte David, LB, TB (+10.3)

Nobody has more tackles than David. I know Luke Kuechly is quoted as having more but in our retrospective system David has four more with six more defensive stops. Also leading the league in tackles for a loss, David is already one of the most disruptive linebackers in the league.

9. Kevin Zeitler, RG, CIN (+12.4)

Before Week 16 the greatest strength of Zeitler was that he was going relatively unnoticed. Far from dominating, but never dominated, he looked like a seasoned vet out there. Not so against the Steelers, as he was  given a rough ride in a physical AFC North encounter. Will he learn from this?

10. Luke Kuechly, LB, CAR: (+6.7)

When people quote the tackle numbers of Kuechly, my mind zones out. When Kuechly puts in one of the best performances from any linebacker this year, like he did against Oakland, then I start to take notice. He shouldn’t be your defensive player of the year, but the strides he’s made since moving to the middle linebacker spot are hugely encouraging for the future.

Dropping Out

Mitchell Schwartz, RT, CLE: Schwartz did very little wrong, and in fact did an admirable job while handling Von Miller. But somebody had to make room for Kuechly.

Five To Watch

Doug Martin, RB, TB: I like Martin a lot, but he’s not been able to do enough running the ball to ensure Josh Freeman isn’t trying to do too much throwing it.

Dont’a Hightower, LB, NE: Has played like a rookie with a lot of potential. Some flashes here, some tentative play. But overall he’s been an asset to the Patriots’ defense.

Harrison Smith, S, MIN: Are we looking at the next elite cover safety? There are some issues to be ironed out, but his playmaking doesn’t so much as shout for your attention, as smack you in the face a couple of times to get it.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA: Think of it this way, Miami fans. He hasn’t been as good as some of the other rookies but he’s been a whole lot better than some of those ‘developed guys’ from 2009.

Mike Martin, DT, TEN: One of the few Titans to come out of Week 16 with any credit to his name.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

  • osoviejo

    Does the Seahawks’ John Schneider have any competition for Executive of the Year?

    • nng1235

      Yes, the Colts guy, by a mile.

      • http://twitter.com/chrismattix Christopher R Mattix

        Don’t you think the Colts thing is a little over-blown in the media? I get the guy was sick and whatnot, and battled through. We are all fans of this. 

        But think about it, last year the Colts were terrible because they lost their QB and their 2nd and 3rd stringers were worse than terrible. Luck has been excellent for a rookie, only overrated by RW and RGIII. Remember the Colts were serious playoff contenders only 2 years ago, that much couldn’t have changed. 
        It is clear that John Schneider deserves the award, but he likely won’t get it. Wrap your mind around this. RW should likely be the ROY and Wagner is in the conversation for DROY. Irvin, by the numbers leads all sackers, so he’s also in the conversation at around 4th. Turbin has put up a 100 yard game and has ran very well spelling Lynch in limited time, for good ypc. Lane is arguably playing as well as Brandon Browner. Scruggs made a mockery of the SF line on a few occasions, being a 7th rounder, and almost had a sack (same with Irvin and Clemons). J.R. Sweezy, a converted Dlineman started RG against the 9ers, being himself a 7th rounder as well. Tell me that’s not crazy!And this is only THIS YEAR’S draft class. Last year? Did you know who Sherman and Baldwin were then? Or K.J. Wright? I didn’t think so. Now you do. 
        Enough said, good job Mr. Schneider. We look forward to next year!

        • nng1235

          I’m not talking about coaching and my suggestion has nothing to do with Pagano being sick–or Pagano/Arians at all for that matter. I’m talking about Grigson, who overturned 66% of roster in one year (i.e. 35 of 53-man-roster is different from last year) through not just the draft (which is a limited view of an executive’s role) but also FA acquisitions. He also made wise decisions as to who to keep (Mathis, Wayne, for example). I think he should be credited with the turnaround–not Luck or the coaches. Personally I think RW is a fine choice for OROY (and better than Luck) though my choice is RG3.

          • Izach

            i agree with CRM, the colts down fall was overrated, the colts were not as bad as they played last year, i think alot of the players were just shocked manning wasnt there and “not playing motivated” with out manning to guide them. and andrew luck actually hasnt been playing that well, sure he is doing very well for a rookie but he is also up there in turnovers, RW and RG3 are playing like they are seasoned vets and future pro bowlers and all-pros luck is playing like a good rookie. if you were to ask me which QB was taken #1 overall and has the brightest future based on this season id say wilson.  

          • Guest

            The Colts tanked the season last year for the honor of drafting Luck.  As a sports fans how is that such a great move that the Colts made?  How can any awards be given to such a team?

          • http://twitter.com/chrismattix Christopher R Mattix

            Thanks for informing me. Was not aware so much of the roster changed over. I think having one of the easiest schedules this year has really helped, and Luck’s ability to win games in the last few minutes is just uncanny. To turn-over a roster at 66% is very challenging. Reminds me of Seattle 2 years ago, when then did go 7-9 and beat the Saints in the Playoffs. 
            Good job by Grigson then, credit where credit is due. I still take Schneider. but then again I’m probably not as familiar with your team as I should be to make such a comment, and I suppose you aren’t as familiar with the Seahawks as I am. 

          • nng1235

            Funny you should mention your last sentence. Ironically, I’m a Redskins fan. :) 

          • osoviejo

             In my view, the Colts were 2-14 because they wanted to be 2-14.  It was apparent from the beginning last season that no serious effort to compete would be made–there was a plan in place.  Collins, Orlovsky, and Painter combined for the third-worst passer rating in the league.

            Yet despite that, they lost seven games by only one score.  It’s not a stretch to think that with even mediocre quarterback play (say, Tarvaris Jackson), they could have reached six or seven wins with that team–about what the Seahawks managed with Jackson.

        • Ravens One

          I think you are all over it. Pete Carroll and John Schneider were the laughing stock of the league when they took Irvin and Wildson. Who’s laughing now?

    • Thinking

      Ted Thompson – Dude’s team wiped out by injuries – yet they’re still winning.

      John Schneider turned around seattle – loaded up that roster.

      and…. ? – The Redskins I guess?

  • Nikkiron278

    I’m not saying Wilson isn’t having a great year but for you to pick him over RGIII is just plain stupid. Griffin has better stats than Wilson in every category except touchdowns thrown but Wilson has thrown 5 more picks than RGIII and Griffin missed a game due to injury. Way to show your Redskins hate! 

    • Bilal

       yea… that typical seattle bias over the big market team.   i’ll never understand why people can’t just disagree with an analysis without assuming some ridiculous bias

  • Dolt45

    Are people really silly enough to think that the Colts were losing games on purpose last year? If that were the case, then why did they go on a two game winning streak at the end of the season, nearly losing the #1 pick? Use your brains people.

  • bob

    how does Blair walsh not get any love.. the best kicker in the league as of right now

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

      They actually had him on it way early in the season, but it’s basically impossible for special teamers to make this list.  It may be one of the bigger flaws in their rating system (not a paying subscriber, can’t observe myself).  That said, I’m guessing it’s got to do with how you interpret ‘value’.  Say Walsh is the best kicker in the league… how much better is he than the second best?  And, even if he’s miles better, how much better does that second best player’s team play if Walsh replaces him?  How many more games would the Cardinals win if you gave them RGIII, compared to Walsh?  Probably quite a few more (even accounting for Feeley’s miss in that BUF game)… kickers don’t play very much.

  • Bobcat1970

    I’m still stunned to not see the name Vontaze Burfict in your ratings.  He barely made the team out of training camp. Yet, since he took over for Thomas Howard and got used to a new position, he has made a major impact on the Bengals D.  A D that plays as good as scheme of “team” defense in the league.  His physical and not afraid of the moment play has allowed Maualuga to calm down and not worry that the other backer doesn’t have the backside.  In the last 8 weeks, the Bengals D could be the best in the NFL and Burfict’s assention has been a significant part of the equation.  He’s surely more impactful than Zeitler (who has been solid, no doubt, and a significant upgrade to Bobbie Williams).  And while voting for Pro Bowls and rookie of the year medals in the NFL, is often misguided, I believe you will see his name mentioned in those ratings.

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

    Why is Andrew Luck third?  …  But seriously, why is Andrew Luck third?

    I’m not saying it just comes down to ranking the rookies by their scored grade, but a +3.5 on the season?  Guessing Tannehill’s grade is close to that (maybe?), and he’s hardly mentioned.

    (Note: ‘QB W-L Record’ is not a satisfactory answer to this question.  For, like, a bunch of reasons.)