The race to the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award is secondary to getting wins for first-year professional football players. They still hand out the award, however.
Quarterback Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts (first overall) and running back Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31st) each stated their case to be the 2012 draft class’ winner.
Luck has the advantage as the No. 1 overall pick. He would be the third straight quarterback to be drafted first overall and take home the OROY trophy.
He has competition in Martin, who has quite literally carried the Bucs to victory in the last two weeks. 2007 was the last time that a running back won the award. His name is Adrian Peterson, and he owned the NFL single-game rushing record by the time his first winter in the league rolled around.
The five players on this list meet certain criteria determined by the recent winners of the OROY award.
Each is a first-round pick, as seven of the last eight winners were top-11 picks in the draft. Percy Harvin (2009) was chosen 22nd.
Tight ends and offensive linemen are excluded here, as players from those positions have never won the award. Lastly, wins will be taken into account for the candidates in question.
Draft Slot: 8
Stats: 58.9 percent completions, 1,762 yds, 5 TD, 6 INT
Ryan Tannehill has started for the Miami Dolphins from Week 1, helping them to a 4-4 record without the consistent presence of a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. He got hurt against the New York Jets in Week 8 but made it back in time for a competitive contest with Andrew Luck’s Indianapolis Colts in Week 9.
Each of Miami’s last three losses was by three points, and two were overtime games. Tannehill is showing promise leading an offense that has been keeping games close.
Draft Slot: 3
Stats: 152 rushes, 575 yds, 5 TD; 31 rec, 240 yds, TD
Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns is an every-down back: He has recorded 19 or more rushing attempts in four of the Browns’ nine games and four or more catches in five of them.
The rugged runner has topped 100 total yards in five games this year for a competitive Browns team that has not lost by more than two scores in 2012. Cleveland is 2-2 in its last four games.
Draft Slot: 2
Stats: 65.6 percent completions, 1,993 yds, 8 TD, 3 INT; 81 rush, 529 yds, 6 TD
Robert Griffin III was the runaway favorite for the OROY award through six weeks. His team was 3-3, and he was responsible for 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
Since then, the Washington Redskins have been on a three-game losing streak despite the rookie’s ability to keep them in any game offensively with his accurate passing and dynamic running.
RGIII still has a chance to win the award—the Redskins would likely be even worse off without him—but he’s currently behind two rookies who have led their respective squads to more victories thus far.
Draft Slot: 31
Stats: 154 rushes, 794 yds, 7 TD; 20 rec, 245 yds, TD
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won three of their last four games, and Doug Martin is a major part of that record. The rookie’s numbers have been fantastic in his last four games: 83 rushes, 547 yards and six rushing touchdowns.
That’s without accounting for his three or more receptions in each of his last three appearances. Martin has been phenomenal for the Bucs as the second running back off the board in April’s draft. His 251 rushing yards on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland tied him for third all-time among rookies, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
He rushed for four touchdowns in that game, too.
Draft Slot: 1
Stats: 56.5 percent completions, 2,404 yds, 10 TD, 8 INT; 27 rush, 148 yds, 3 TD
Andrew Luck currently claims the best record among rookie starting quarterbacks, at 5-3. His Indianapolis Colts are riding a three-game winning streak and have won four of their last five. Luck has thrown as many interceptions over that period (four) as he did in his first three games when the Colts went 1-2.
He’s getting better.
Luck is also the proud owner of the NFL rookie single-game passing yards record after his 433-yard performance on Sunday against Ryan Tannehill’s Miami Dolphins.
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