The NFL has some great rookies who are making key contributions this season.
Success in college football does not always translate to a bright career in the National Football League. The big boys of the NFL play a different brand of ball that requires a different skill set. Some of the brightest college football stars have fizzled out in the pros (Ryan Leaf, anyone?). Others were relatively obscure names while in college but have since morphed into superstars (i.e. Tom Brady).
This year’s rookie class was no different. Some of the league’s newbies have failed and some have excelled. Considering this year’s new wave of talent, here are the rookies that have made the biggest impact on the league (and not so much).
Robert Griffin III and a host of other quarterbacks
Several rookie quarterbacks transitioned straight into starting roles this season. This is both uncommon and a tall order for the newcomers that have to quickly master a pro offense. This year’s starting rookie quarterbacks include:
- Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)
- Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)
- Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns)
- Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles)
- Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
- Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins)
None of these new signal-callers have made quite as much noise as Griffin III. Dubbed RG3, the Baylor University grad has become one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Lethal with both his arm and legs, RG3 has racked up both rushing and passing yards. Some NFL commentators have said that RG3 is transforming the game, proving that the run-and-gun dynamic can be successful in the NFL. However, much like fellow mobile quarterbacks like Michael Vick and Cam Newton, RG3 will have to work hard to remain consistent.
Luck, who is more of a pure passer, has also put up solid numbers and has helped turn around a once-struggling Colts franchise.
Richardson, Martin and Morris a solid RB trio
A few rookies have found immense success as starting running backs this season. Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns), Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Bucs) and Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins) will all likely end up in the pack of top 10 running backs for the year.
Martin and Richardson have helped their respective teams grind it out on the ground but have also played a major role in the passing game. Martin’s season has been highlighted by a week nine performance that saw him rush for 251 yards and reach the end zone a staggering four times. Richardson has provided an offensive spark for a Browns team that has struggled throughout the year.
Morris has simply pounded the ball on the ground and has played a nice compliment to fellow rookie RG3 in a run-and-gun offensive attack.
Rookie wide outs getting lost in the mix
No one in the new class of wide receivers has made a huge impact for their teams this season. Former Oklahoma State University Cowboy Justin Blackmon showed the most potential coming out of college, where he was drafted No. 5 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Off-the-field troubles paired with an offense that lacks a solid quarterback, Blackmon has not lived up to those expectations. Outside of a week 11 performance against Houston where he pulled in seven catches for 236 yards and a touchdown, Blackmon’s numbers have been relatively mediocre.
Kendall Wright (Tennessee Titans), Chris Givens (St. Louis Rams) and T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts) have posted solid numbers, but nothing incredible.
The jury is out still but there have been some great rookies and definite busts so far.