The 2012 NFL regular season is coming to a close, so it is time to take a look back and reflect on the year.
Rookies have played a big part for many teams the past few months and have been scrutinized and analyzed from before the draft through the NFL season. It only makes sense to continue that process at the end of the regular season.
So, without further ado, here is your 2012 NFL All-Rookie Team.
Quarterback: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
A solid case can be made for Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson at this spot, but RG3 has vaulted the Redskins from the NFC East cellar to a playoff contender. His numbers lead all rookies and the rookie sensation’s 104.1 quarterback rating is second in the NFL.
Running Back: Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins; Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Morris and Martin have topped the 1,000 yard mark and have posted 1,413 and 1,312 rushing yards , respectively. Those numbers have greatly exceeded what any other rookie is producing and their veteran style of play has helped their young quarterbacks succeed. Both superstars have found the end zone ten times.
Fullback: Evan Rodriguez, Chicago Bears
The pickings at fullback are very slim but Rodriguez gets the nod on my list. He has been described as a poor man's Aaron Hernandez and lines up at fullback and tight end. Rodriguez has great vision, whether he is catching the ball or taking on contact as a lead-blocking fullback. The rookie has potential, but has not been used much this season. He has signed with the Bears for four years, though.
Tight End: Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
Allen wasn’t even the most heralded Colts rookie tight end coming into the season (Cody Fleener), but he has more than proven his worth. Allen’s 43 receptions for 500 yards and three touchdowns don’t only lead all rookies at his position, but it blows the competition out of the water. The production Allen has shown in 2012 will go a long way as the young Colts establish themselves as a contender.
Wide Receiver: T.Y Hilton, Indianapolis Colts; Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Speaking of young Colts, T.Y Hilton has been on fire for Indy this season. He has 750 yards and,six touchdowns on 46 receptions. His four 100-yard performances is tops among rookies. There is no doubt that Hilton has made Luck a better quarterback.
Justin Blackmon hasn’t gotten the privilege of a superstar signal caller, but he has made the most of it. The high draft pick is at the top of the rookie leader board with 786 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
One could make a strong argument for Cleveland Browns Josh Gordon at this spot, but he was the last man left off.
Tackle: Matt Kalil, Minnesota Vikings; Mitchell Schwartz, Cleveland Browns
It is no surprise that Adrian Peterson and Trent Richardson have enjoyed fantastic seasons when the two running backs have Kalil and Schwartz, blocking for them,. The Vike has lived up to expectations as a high draft pick while Schwartz has become one of the top offensive tackles in the league. Both of them should become valuable pieces for their respective teams.
The Panthers and Bengals needed to upgrade their lines in the 2012 NFL Draft. Both teams had drafted high-profile quarterbacks a year earlier and required someone to protect Cam Newton and Andy Dalton .
So far, so good for both teams. Silatolu has settled nicely into the Carolina line and Cincinnati ranks 12th in total points, in no small part to Zeitler’s efforts.
Center: Peter Konz, Atlanta Falcons
Only three centers were selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. David Molk of the San Diego Chargers and the Texans' Ben Jones joined Konz. Molk has seen limited playing time and is currently on injured reserve. Jones plays right guard for the Texans now.
Konz is also not playing at the center position but, since there are no rookie playing center, the Wisconsin product gets the nod here. Konz replaced Garrett Reynolds in Week 7 at right guard. He is capable of playing center, though. An illustrious college career can prove that.
Kicker: Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings
There have been a number of rookie kickers that have impressed this season. But Walsh stands above them all. He has made 32 of 35 field goals this year and even booted a 56-yarder. In his NFL debut against Jacksonville, he followed up a 55-yard field goal as regulation expired with a 38-yard game-winner in overtime. Walsh is nine for nine on kicks coming from 50 yards or further.
Did I mention that the rookie made the Pro Bowl?
Kick Returner: David Wilson, New York Giants
The running back has come up Giant this year for New York. His 1,504 return yards not only lead all rookies but the entire NFL, as well. Just to prove how talented he is, Wilson’s one return touchdown was a 97-yard mad dash to the end zone.
Irvin and Jones have both been on fire this year as they notched eight and six sacks, respectively. Irvin has broken the rookie sack record for the Seahawks while Jones fought through injuries to greatly impact the Patriots defense.
Both the Eagles and Rams had gaping holes at defensive tackle coming into the draft. Both squads fixed that need as Cox (39 tackles and 5.5 sacks) and Brockers (28 tackles and four sacks) have performed admirably.
Linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers and Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
All three of these stars are firmly entrenched in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year debate and for good reason. They have emerged as leaders of their units and put up the stats to prove that claim. All Kuechly does is tackle, tackle and tackle some more. His 151 tackles leads the Panthers and all rookies. David has been lights out for the Bucs as he notched 133 total tackles with a week left to play. But Wagner has been a step above of the rest and can make a significant claim to one of the best players at his position in the entire league.
Cornerback: Casey Hayward, Green Bay Packers and Janoris Jenkins, Saint Louis Rams
Surprised? So are many NFL general managers as Jenkins had a ton of red flags coming out of college and Hayward wasn’t very highly regarded. Both were picked in the second round and both have exceeded expectations. Hayward is one of the best defensive backs in the league as he leads the NFL in giving up a quarterback rating of only 27.7 on passes thrown in his direction. Meanwhile, Jenkins has returned an incredible three of his four interceptions for touchdowns.
Safety: Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings and Mark Barron, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both Smith and Barron have played out of this world for their teams. Both have had a chance to shine and they have done just that. Smith has been a force for Minnesota recording 98 tackles and returning two of his three interceptions for touchdowns. Barron hasn’t played as well but he has still done a fantastic job tallying up 87 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
Punter: Bryan Anger, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars were heavily panned when they picked Anger (a punter!) in the third round of the draft, passing up on prospects who would have made a bigger impact. The California product has done his best to ease the criticism booting 86 punts for 4,121 yards with an average of 47.9 yards per punt. Those numbers lead all rookies.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me your opinion in the comment section below. Hope you enjoyed the list!