In what might be one of the best rookie classes in recent memory, Robert Griffin III has emerged as the best.
The quarterback of the Washington Redskins came into the league with high expectations after winning the Heisman Trophy with Baylor a year ago. Amazingly, he has already exceeded them.
Through 11 games, Griffin has excelled as a passer. He currently has the fourth-best quarterback rating in the NFL at 104.6. He is also fourth in the league with a completion rate of 67.5 percent.
As a runner, he has been even more impressive. He leads all quarterbacks with 642 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground, and he is in the top 10 overall in the latter category.
Only C.J. Spiller averages more yards per carry than Griffin's 6.5.
These numbers would be impressive if the season ended now, but it seems that the quarterback is even getting better. In the last two weeks, Griffin has thrown eight touchdowns compared to only one interception, while completing 79 percent of his passes.
If he can continue to improve at this rate, there is no telling what he might be able to achieve.
However, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award has traditionally gone to players that help their teams win as well as producing individual numbers. Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan both took their teams to the playoffs, while Vince Young and Sam Bradford were dangerously close.
In that case, Griffin should also get the respect from voters. The last two wins have brought his squad to 5-6 after a rough start. With some help from the Green Bay Packers (who have to beat the Vikings), the Redskins could be playing for a wild-card spot as soon as next week.
Washington had pretty low expectations coming into the year, so it would be more than impressive if this rookie quarterback can take his team to the playoffs.
In any other year, these factors would make him a runaway favorite to win the prestigious award. However, this year provides some stiff competition.
This year's No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Luck, has had himself a good season as well. The quarterback is third in the NFL in Total QBR, trailing only Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. That is some pretty good company.
Additionally, his Indianapolis Colts are in position to make the playoffs with a 7-4 record.
To make things more complicated, two running backs have put together some incredible statistical seasons in their first year.
Trent Richardson has shown flashes of brilliance, but Doug Martin is near the top of the league in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns. The former Boise State player has pleased both fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as fantasy owners this season.
Still, Griffin only has to come close to matching his competition on paper. Where he separates himself is on the field.
The highlight-reel plays that the former Baylor quarterback provides are truly impressive. He makes eye-opening throws and jaw-dropping runs that force people to watch over and over again.
Finally, there is such a buzz around this player that voters will have no choice but to put him on the ballots.
Not only are fans falling in love with Griffin, but opposing players and coaches continue to give him praise. The latest is Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who said, "I don't like him, but...he is very talented" (via NFL.com).
No one can watch Griffin play and leave unimpressed. This separates the quarterback and makes him the deserving favorite for the Rookie of the Year award.
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