NFL Rookie of the Year: Making a Case for 2 Rookies Outside Cam Newton

Jon DoveContributor IFebruary 4, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts against the Houston Texans during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Cam Newton walked away as the 2011 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He collected all but three of the 50 votes in his landslide victory. The other three votes went to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who along with teammate A.J. Green had a spectacular season.

If it wasn't for Newton and his record-setting season, the vote likely would have come down to the two Bengal rookies.

For the sake of argument, I am going to lay out an argument for why both Andy Dalton and A.J. Green should have gotten more love in the voting.

Andy Dalton's impressive season combined good stats and a playoff appearance. His ability to step on the field immediately and handle himself with poise was crucial. The Cincinnati Bengals were predicted by most to struggle this season and to end up in the top 10 of the upcoming draft. However, Dalton came in and found a way to win.

Looking at the numbers, his production isn't that far off from Newton's. The biggest gap is in passing yards, where Newton threw for over 600 more yards. However, Dalton did a better job protecting the ball and threw four less interceptions. Their completion percentage is separated by only two percentage points and both had a quarterback rating over 80.

The biggest argument for Dalton over Newton is the win total and postseason appearance. Dalton's ability to lead his team to a playoff berth is a major selling point.

Meanwhile, A.J. Green's numbers could have looked a lot better had he not missed some time with injury. Nevertheless, he managed to top the 1,000-yard receiving mark.

His seven touchdowns put him only behind the Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones among rookie receivers. Green led all rookies with 65 receptions and 1,057 yards. He's the first rookie receiver to top the 1,000-yard milestone since Marques Colston in 2006.

Ultimately, the award belongs to Newton and he is the most deserving. However, both Dalton and Green deserve a little more recognition.