NFL Rookie of the Year 2012: Building a Case for the League's Best Rookies
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As the NFL nears the end of the regular season, analysts, coaches, broadcasters and writers will start letting their predictions fly for NFL regular season awards.
One of the biggest awards is the NFL Rookie of the Year.
Most seasons there are one or two rookies who really stand out. This season it's much murkier. With so many rookies finding playing time, the voters will have a tough decision in the coming weeks.
Here are four players that will rightfully be near the top of the polls.
Robert Griffin III
It's no secret that RGIII has had a stellar year. He's received Offensive Rookie of the Month two times in the first three months of the season. He has the highest QB passer rating of any rookie in the NFL over a two-game span, and he even holds the single-season rushing record for rookie quarterbacks in the NFL.
Griffin is third overall in QB Rating (104.4) and has thrown for over 2,600 yards with 17 touchdowns.
Griffin can make plays with his legs and shred defenses with his arm, all in his first year in the league. He came into an unenviable situation in Washington, but has made the best of it and is keeping his team in the hunt.
What RGIII lacks in the win column, Luck makes up for. Luck has led the young Colts to an 8-4 record. Yes, 8-4. The same team that won just two games all of last season, is now winning with a rookie QB and names like T.Y. Hilton, Vick Ballard and LaVon Brazill.
While they have a lot of new names, Luck is the main source of the Colt's success. Luck has almost 3,600 passing yards this season, which is fourth-best in the NFL. Luck has racked up a few impressive wins, and is having a great year for the Colts, leading them on five game-winning comeback drives already this season.
While Luck's rating or efficiency might not be as impressive as Griffin's, come voting time it should be remembered that he's in a high-pressure situation. He came in as the first overall pick in the draft, replacing Peyton Manning.
Pretty big shoes to fill.
Doug Martin is one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season. Martin won the Offensive Rookie of the Month in October, and has come out of nowhere for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While Martin is a sight to be seen on the gridiron, his stat sheet is where he truly shines. The first-year back is third in the NFL in yards (1,106) and yards per game (92.2) and is second in the NFL in touchdowns with nine.
Let us not forget his 251-yard, four-touchdown performance in Week 8 against the Raiders. That alone is good enough for a few NFL Rookie of the Year votes.
Who Should Win the NFL Rookie Of the Year Award?
Russell Wilson is another surprising candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year. Wilson came to training camp this year ready to assume the backup role to the Seahawks' newly acquired Matt Flynn.
Flynn didn't impress and the first-year player out of Wisconsin was handed the offense.
He hasn't disappointed. Wilson is tied with Tony Romo at 11th overall in touchdown passes with 19, the most among the NFL's rookie quarterbacks.
Wilson is also seventh in the NFL in passer rating (95.2) has thrown for over 2,300 yards in his first NFL season.
While Wilson may not have the stats or the record of some of the other quarterbacks, he has more against him. Wilson is "too small to be a quarterback" and wasn't drafted until the 75th pick in the third round. He came to the league as a backup. The starting spot wasn't waiting for him like Luck or Griffin. He had to really earn it.
All four of the rookies have great resumes, but before we get ahead of ourselves, the NFL season isn't over. The last few weeks of the season will separate who comes out on top when the year-end awards are handed out.
Who do you think should win? Luck? RGIII? Martin or Wilson? Or someone else entirely?
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