Top 10 Rookies from the 2012 NFL Draft Class
The 2012 NFL Draft supposedly had three of the most sure-things we had seen coming out in a while. Andrew Luck was pegged as the next Peyton Manning, and Robert Griffin III was the next Michael Vick but could actually beat you with his arm. Then you had Trent Richardson, who sparked the debates of whether or not you should take a running back that high in the draft, as the third overall pick.
While Luck and Richardson have struggled at times, all three are having good years, and in the case of Griffin we may be looking at one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history, and maybe the most explosive from a QB ever. No QB has ever gone over 1,000 rushing yards and 3,000 passing yards in the same season, and Griffin is currently on pace for both.
But they are not the only rookies lighting it up this year. There are also a few defensive players who have been dominating, especially defensive ends. Most of these players came in the early rounds, but there is also a Terrell Davis type story happening in Washington with Alfred Morris. Fitting that Mike Shanahan is the coach there.
This list does not include any offensive lineman, mostly because unless I watch every single game I cannot get a feel for how they are playing. I'm sure I missed some, and if you feel that way comment below and tell me where I messed up.
10. Bobby Wagner LB, Seattle Seahawks
Bobby Wagner was a second round pick for the Seattle Seahawks that won the starting job and has been playing incredibly well. I loved him coming out of Utah State and obviously the Seahawks got a steal. He is a leader on that defense which ranks in the top five in yards per game allowed and points allowed. Wagner is second on the team with 43 tackles and also has 1.5 sacks and four tackles for loss.
9. Bruce Irvin DE, Seattle Seahawks
Many people questioned the Seattle Seahawks pick of Bruce Irvin in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, but he's making the Seahawks look like geniuses right now. He's got 4.5 sacks already and leading the charge on a group that is top 10 in the league in sacks. He's doing all of this as a situational rusher, so his numbers could get even better as he plays more snaps.
8. Doug Martin RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin won the starting job from LaGarrette Blount in the off-season and is having a very productive year. He has 431 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Martin was the first running back taken behind phenom Trent Richardson, so the expectations were high. He is living up to them so far.
7. Chandler Jones DE, New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are much improved defensively this season, and much of that has to do with the rookies they drafted in this year's draft class. Chandler Jones has exploded on to the scene like many predicted he would. He has five sacks already and 27 total tackles. The move to the 4-3 defense has shored up that defense and showcased Jones' talents.
6. Andrew Luck QB, Indianapolis Colts
You probably thought the No. 1 overall pick would be a bit higher, but Andrew Luck is not playing as well right now as a few of his rookie counter-parts. Luck has shown flashes of brilliance at times, and other times he's shown that he's still a rookie and has a lot to learn. He's completing just 53.4 percent of his passes, which has to get a lot better, but he has 1,488 yards and eight total touchdowns.
His comeback win over the Green Bay Packers last week was incredible, but he still has a long way to go.
5. Russell Wilson QB, Seattle Seahawks
Head coach Pete Carroll shocked everyone in the NFL when he made Russell Wilson the starting quarterback for the Seahawks. They brought in Matt Flynn in the offseason, and he's making a hefty chunk of change to ride the bench now. Wilson is showing everyone why Carroll made the move, and has led the Seahawks to a 4-2 record and a tie for the division lead.
Wilson is not lighting it up by any means, but he is not turning the ball over at an alarming rate and making plays when the Seahawks need him to. He's completing 62.5 percent of his passes and has a 85.6 QB rating.
4. Alfred Morris RB, Washington Redskins
Alfred Morris was a sixth round pick in this year's draft, but you could tell early in Washington Redskins camp he had a ton of talent. Mike Shanahan obviously liked what he saw, and named Morris the starter despite a loaded backfield with Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr.
Morris has been one of the best running backs in the league so far, rushing for 538 yards and five touchdowns already. He's on pace for over 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns.
3. Ryan Tannehill QB, Miami Dolphins
Many laughed at the Miami Dolphins for trusting Ryan Tannehill and making him the No. 8 overall pick. Chalk them up as another team laughing at the all the critics right now. Tannehill has been way better than most expected and is getting better each and every week. He started out slow, but his last three games have been fantastic and he has the Dolphins at 3-3.
2. Trent Richardson RB, Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson has been everything he was advertised to be when the Cleveland Browns made him the No. 3 pick in the draft. He doesn't have a great yards per carry average right now (3.6), but he's making up for it by being a weapon in the passing game. He's got 186 receiving yards, 526 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns so far. I'd go as far as to say Richardson will be the best running back in the NFL in two years.
1. Robert Griffin III QB, Washington Redskins
This shouldn't come as a surprise to see Robert Griffin III on top of this list, and frankly it's not even a close race right now. RGIII has been one of the best rookies I've ever seen, and that includes Cam Newton. Griffin is just so much better and more polished as a passer than Newton, and could honestly be considered in the MVP discussion right now, let alone rookie of the year.
His numbers jump off the charts. He's completing more than 70 percent of his passes, has 1,343 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions and a 100.5 QB rating. He also has 379 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. If he keeps this up we could be talking about one of the most explosive seasons from a quarterback we've ever seen, and he's just a rookie.
Griffin is on pace for 3,581 passing yards and 1,010 rushing yards, which would be just the second time any QB has rushed for 1,000 yards, and he would have 1,000 more passing yards than Michael Vick did that season. Take notice of what you are witnessing from RGIII, because it doesn't come along very often.