RGIII, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson: Who’s Rookie of the Year?

December 26, 2012

All season long, the debate has been vigorous and, as these things go, unexpectedly emotional and heated: Who should be the NFL’s Rookie of the Year: Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III?

Now, though, there’s a complication and another strong entry: quarterback Russell Wilson, a third-round pick in the NFL Draft, chosen 70-plus spots after Luck and RGIII were taken by the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins. Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks have topped 50 points in two of the last three weeks and are likely to either win the NFC West or grab a wild-card spot. Mike Tanier, writing on SportsonEarth.com, makes the case that he may be the shrewdest pick of the three.

By December, there were three rookie quarterbacks in the playoff picture, three rookie quarterbacks worth talking about, but we were all talked out about two of them. The third wheel began squeaking, leading the Seahawks to thundering blowout victories. The two-man battle for the hearts of football fans had an unexpected third-party candidate.

Wilson is still 5-foot-11. His height is not irrelevant, and like Griffin and Luck, he still has to develop and round out his game. Wilson is no sure thing, no guaranteed franchise quarterback for the next decade, though no one really is, not even the heartthrobs.

But then you realize that Luck cost the Colts the first pick in the draft, and the chance to saddle up a few more times with Manning. Griffin cost the Redskins a briefcase full of future draft picks. The Seahawks got Wilson for loose change. They drafted two impact defenders before him (Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner). They put themselves in position to reach the Super Bowl before the Colts and Redskins are finished building their rosters to championship level, which means that Wilson could beat the heartthrobs to the Super Bowl. The third wheel could cross the finish line first.

Sometimes it pays to look past the dazzle, and to listen. Wilson’s name was in the air last January. In retrospect, it should have been easy to find an overlooked, available heartthrob. All it took was the ability to filter out all the other noise.

But is he the right pick?

All three are likely to be in the playoffs, making this a tougher call than which Miss America competitor looks best in a bikini. Luck has turned around a team that won only two games last year and had arguably the least talent returning. He’s managed to win despite not having his coach for most of the season. Wilson is showing that being less than 6 feet tall is no hindrance as the Seahawks have become stronger each week.

And then there’s RGIII. There’s something else entirely going on with him and, the Post’s Jason Reid writes that there’s really no doubt he’s the Rookie of the Year.

Each week, opponents focus their efforts on shutting down Griffin’s highlight-film performances. They study countless hours of tape in the hope of grounding him. But Griffin keeps on rising. “It’s like telling Superman not to fly,” Baltimore superstar safety Ed Reed said.

Someone has to win…but who?

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

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RGIII: The face of the franchise

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | December 26, 2012