The majority of NFL fans and writers just assume No. 1 pick and rookie phenom Cam Newton is a shoe-in for Offensive Rookie of the Year. And they have a pretty strong case.
Newton has a good shot to throw for 4,000 yards, and his 26 total TDs through 12 games is very impressive for any QB, much less a rookie on one of the worst teams in the league.
Not to mention Newton makes spectacular plays week in and week out and is the definition of "wow" factor.
Some people look at the award a little differently and think Bengals rookie QB Andy Dalton should be the guy. They have a case too.
Not only has Dalton led a team that most thought would be the front-runners for Andrew Luck and turned them into a legitimate playoff contender, but he has done so with pretty impressive stats.
He has thrown for 17 TDs (compared to Newton's 13) and 12 INTs (compared to Newton's 12). And the fact that he is winning cannot be overstated.
Both of these two young QBs are having exceptional rookie seasons and should be stars in the league for the next 10 years.
But neither deserve ROY honors.
That award should go to Dalton's top weapon, WR A.J. Green.
Dalton's job has been a lot easier because of the spectacular play of Green. Green often turns what are pretty poor throws into huge plays. His 6' 4" frame combined with his incredible athleticism and sure hands make for a Larry Fitzgerald-type talent.
Let's look at the numbers.
In the 11 games Green has played he's put up 50 catches for 832 yards and seven TDs. He leads rookie WRs in all of those categories. Many of these grabs have been clutch game-winners too.
You can make an argument about who is the best rookie at every other position. There is no argument that Green is the best rookie WR.
When compared to non-rookie WRs Green holds up as well. With all stats and attributes combined, the arguments can be made that Green is already an elite NFL WR. Defenses give him the type of attention that they do to guys like Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.
Would anyone even argue that Dalton or Newton are elite QBs at this point in their careers? Both have made their fair share of mistakes to go along with their successes. Green has not.
Fans and the media love QBs and because of that Newton will likely win the award. And if he doesn't, it will likely go to Dalton. But anyone who bases a vote off the numbers and what Sunday performances show—not what the media says—will vote for Green.
There's a common rule that says you don't pick WRs in the Top 10 in the draft. But every once in a while there is a special talent that comes along and breaks that rule. I'm talking about guys like Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson. Green has that type of ability and has proven this year that he has the mental aptitude as well.
Green has the chance not only to be one of the best in the NFL today, but in the league's history. The Bengals made a great pick, and we will all have the treat of watching this guy dominate secondaries for the next 10 years.
In review, compare Green's performance to not only other rookies but to all WRs in the league. Do that same with Dalton, Newton or whoever else you argue should win the award. I guarantee you Green comes out on top in that category.
Green is a specimen born to play the position. Enjoy him, Bengals fans. This kind of talent only comes around once every few years.