Russell Wilson Rookie of the Year: Breaking Down the Competition for Seahawks QB

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 2, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13:   Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks throws the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Georgia Dome on January 13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson finds himself in a battle with an outstanding collection of first-year quarterbacks to take home the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year award.

The 2012 third-round pick has become a sensation after leading the Seahawks to an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs this season, using his dual-threat ability to gash defenses throughout the league.

So, ahead of Saturday's NFL Honors award show, let's take a look at Wilson and the competition he faces for the Rookie of the Year honor.

The Case for Russell Wilson

Wilson not only led the Seahawks to a four-game turnaround, but his stats back up his impact on the field.

Wilson ranked fourth among all qualifying quarterbacks in yards per pass attempt in 2012 with 7.93, while posting 26 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions through the air.

By comparison, Andrew Luck tossed 23 touchdowns to 18 interceptions while averaging 6.98 yards per pass attempt, 17th among qualifying quarterbacks.

Wilson also added 489 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, besting Luck in that area.

On top of that, the Virginia native started all 16 games for the Seahawks, unlike Robert Griffin III. As you may remember, backup Kirk Cousins guided the Washington Redskins to victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 after Griffin went down with an injury. He also led them to a win over the Cleveland Browns the following week while RG3 recuperated. 

Wilson also didn't have much of a receiving corps beyond Sidney Rice and had to spread the ball around.

The Case for Andrew Luck

Supporters of Luck will tell you that his numbers (not as impressive as that of Griffin or Wilson) didn't tell the whole story.

That's probably true. Under a rookie's guidance, the Indianapolis Colts went from being a 2-14 team to an 11-5 playoff squad.

Luck did have Reggie Wayne, but not much beyond that and a running game that averaged a dismal 3.8 yards per carry, 26th in the NFL. Luck had to find a way to make his receiving corps productive and his success doing so reminded people of why he was compared to Peyton Manning headed into the 2012 NFL draft.

On top of that, Luck was able to not only keep the Colts afloat, but keep them rolling without head coach Chuck Pagano throughout most of the season.

The Case for Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III not only has the stats; he helped make the Redskins a playoff team, improving to 10-6 after a disappointing 5-11 campaign in 2011.

The dual-threat averaged 8.14 yards per pass attempt during the regular season (tops among qualifying quarterbacks) while tossing 20 touchdowns to a mere five interceptions.

You add in his 815 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground and it's no wonder why people have been raving about the Baylor product.

The Verdict

I believe Robert Griffin III deserves the 2012-2013 NFL Rookie of the Year award the most.

You may say that Griffin had an advantage with rookie running back Alfred Morris on his side (1,613 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns), but I think Griffin and Morris' success went hand-in-hand.

Griffin's ability to carve up defenses using the read-option, as well as sling the ball downfield using play action, undoubtedly opened up things for Morris.

Griffin, like second-year San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, is part of a new breed of NFL quarterback, slicing and dicing defenses with their legs and their arms

We all knew Griffin would be a threat on the ground, but a four-to-one touchdown-to-interception rate from a rookie quarterback is hard to believe.

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