Grading the rookies: All-rookie team
All season long, we've been grading the rookies. Now, as the regular season ends, it's time to give you my all-rookie team.
|Kuechly had one of the best years of any rookie. (US Presswire)|
All season long, we’ve been grading the rookies. Now, as the regular season ends, it’s time to give you my all-rookie team.
QB: Robert Griffin III, Redskins: Andrew Luck lost his spot with his late-season slump, and Russell Wilson didn’t do enough earlier in the season to earn it. Plus, Griffin put together one of the best rookie seasons ever. But in reality, all three quarterbacks were amazing this season. RG3 was just slightly better.
RB: Alfred Morris, Redskins: I’ve said it all year long. Without Morris rushing for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, Griffin wouldn’t have been as effective running Washington’s offense.
TE: Dwayne Allen, Colts: Although Indianapolis selected Coby Fleener a round before Allen, the third-round pick had better stats than Fleener (45 catches and three touchdowns for Allen to Fleener’s 26 and two) and he was more than solid at run-blocking.
T: Matt Kalil, Vikings: His teammate, Adrian Peterson, had one of the best seasons by a running back in NFL history, and according to Pro Football Focus, Kalil only allowed one quarterback sack this year.
C: Trevor Robinson, Bengals: With Kyle Cook injured in the preseason and with free-agent pickup Jeff Faine ineffective, Cincinnati inserted Robinson, an undrafted free agent, and found some stabilit at center.
K: Blair Walsh, Vikings: He didn’t have just one of the best rookie kicker campaigns. He had one of the best kicking years in NFL history. Walsh went 10-for-10 on field goals that were beyond 50 yards.
KOR: David Wilson, Giants: After fumbling as a running back in the first game of the year, coach Tom Coughlin kept him in offensive purgatory for much of the season. But as a kick returner, Wilson was one of the league’s best.
OLB: Dont’a Hightower, Patriots: In 14 games this season, Hightower finished his season with 60 tackles. Good first year.
ILB: Bobby Wagner, Seahawks: Because these two inside linebackers were so much better than any other rookie outside linebacker (outside of Hightower), I put both of them on this list. Wagner was a star this year.
CB: Casey Hayward, Packers: Already, Hayward is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Hayward had six interceptions, and according to Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks throwing his way had a 27.7 passer rating.
CB: Janoris Jenkins, Rams: He wasn’t always great in coverage, but he finished with four interceptions on the season, and he scored four defensive touchdowns. Which is pretty ridiculous.
S: Harrison Smith, Vikings: He’s made a number of game-changing plays, and he finished the season with 103 tackles and three interceptions.
S: Mark Barron, Buccaneers: Not a great season for the first-round pick, but he’s at a position that isn’t populated with impact rookies. He’ll have to get better to live up to his expectations.
P: Bryan Anger, Jaguars: Jacksonville caused us some laughs when it drafted Anger in the third round (ahead of Russell Wilson!). But Anger did have a solid season -- entering this week, he was second in the league with a 40.8 net average.
PR: Keshawn Martin, Texans: He averaged a steady 12.1 yards per game. Pretty good, but not outstanding.
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