NFL Rookie of the Year 2012: Breaking Down Remaining Contenders in Race

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2012

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 16: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts late in the game after building up a comfortable lead during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre on December 16, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Apologies to Washington's Alfred Morris and Tampa Bay's Doug Martin, but they simply wound up in the wrong rookie class.

The NFL Rookie of the Year award will not be decided until the regular season has reached its end, but it's a three-horse race—and all three horses have cannons for arms.

Let's take a look at the contenders as they enter the home stretch.


Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Nobody, and I mean nobody, considered Russell Wilson a legitimate contender for the Rookie of the Year award a month ago.

Yet, here we are. Wilson has a legitimate shot to become the first member of the Seattle Seahawks to earn the honor.

Wilson has completed 63 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,697 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He's added 402 yards and three touchdowns to his totals on the ground, and he has been playing as well as any quarterback in the league over his past six games.

Most impressively, Wilson has Seattle sitting with a shot to overtake the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West title with two weeks left to play.

Not bad for a guy who many pundits believed was too short at 5'11" to effectively run an NFL offense.


Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

A dynamic dual-threat QB, RGIII has protected the ball better than any of his rookie counterparts, committing only six turnovers all season long (four interceptions and two fumbles).

He broke the NFL record for rushing yards by a QB, besting Carolina QB Cam Newton, who ran for 706 yards last year. 

RGIII broke the mark in Week 13, and he sits with 748 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on the season, averaging more than six yards per carry.

He's no slouch through the air, either. Griffin has completed more than 66 percent of his passes for 2,902 yards, 18 touchdowns and only four interceptions. His 104.2 passer rating is second in the NFL behind Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.

Like Wilson, RGIII has his team in the thick of the playoff race, though Washington has the lead in the NFC East and will clinch the division if it wins out.


Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

No rookie has been asked to do more in 2012 than Andrew Luck, who has taken everything thrown his way and succeeded.

Luck has completed less than 55 percent of his passes and thrown 18 interceptions, but he's also thrown for 3,978 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Most impressive is the complete turnaround he has led the Colts on.

The worst team in the NFL last year, Luck has the Colts not only on the precipice of a 10-win season, but a return to the playoffs—two things that people thought the team would take years to get back to.