I just happened upon the list of candidates for NFL Rookie of the Year over at NFL.com, and much to my shock and dismay the Steelers Maurkice Pouncey is not on the list of five candidates. So you might be wondering who is on the list, and there are a couple that I can't quibble with. I decided to breaking this down into three categories, those that are slam dunks to be considered, those on the borderline, and at the end you get my "you have to be kidding me" slot.
Sam Bradford - The St. Louis Rams quarterback set NFL rookie records for completions (354) and attempts (590), and his 3,512 passing yards are the second most by a rookie in league history. Bradford also threw for 18 touchdowns that tied him for fifth most among rookies in NFL history.
Ndamukong Suh - What can you say about the Detroit Lions defensive tackle? He immediately came into the NFL a started right where he left off in college at the University of Nebraska: a man among boys.
Suh became the second rookie defensive tackle in NFL history to record 10 sacks. He also was the only rookie in the NFL to record a sack, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown this season. He was selected to the 2011 NFC Pro Bowl team as a starter. I'd call that a pretty good season for anyone.
Should Maurkice Pouncey be Rookie of the Year?
Joe Haden - I'm not picking on him just because he plays in Cleveland, and he had a good rookie campaign. The cornerback had 64 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and six interceptions, which tied for fifth in the NFL and was second among rookies.
Devin McCourty - McCourty had an even better season than Haden, playing cornerback in New England. He finished the season with 82 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, 17 passes defensed and seven interceptions. His interception total tied for second in the NFL and led all rookies.
Here is where it gets good. Our "you have to be kidding me candidate" is:
Mike Williams - Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams finished the year with 65 receptions for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. Mind you, 11 touchdowns is a great job, and makes him the first rookie since Randy Moss to have more than 10 touchdowns. However, let's face it—964 yards isn't what it used to be considering that we now play a 16-game season.
Williams or Haden over Pouncey? I think not. All Maurkice Pouncey did was walk into Pittsburgh and immediately earn a starting spot at what is mentally the most difficult spot on the offensive line. He was by far the Steelers' best offensive lineman, which is not saying much, but what is worth saying is that he routinely dominated his opposition.
Amazing that the NFL's and Rodger Goodell's hatred of the Steelers extends even into postseason awards. Don't even get me started on the Pro Bowl roster...