NFL Rookie of the Year Race: Making the Case for Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson

Soven Bery@@realsovenberySenior Analyst IDecember 24, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 09:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks points downfield against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on December 9, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Kevin Casey/Getty Images)
Kevin Casey/Getty Images

For a long time the NFL Rookie of the Year race seemed to be a two man sprint between Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, the signal caller for the Indianapolis Colts

But not anymore. 

The Seattle Seahawks are 10-5 and already in the playoffs. That is more than RG3 can say about his team. If the cards fall right they could be winners of the NFC West beating a team that was one unlucky bounce away from the Super Bowl last season. 

A big reason for that is first year player Russell Wilson. He has exceeded all expectations by an astronomical amount. 

Being the first and second picks respectively, Luck and Griffin had a lot handed to them. They were the bona fide starters from Day 1 and would have their teams built around them. 

This wasn’t the case for the 75th overall pick, Wilson, who finally heard his name be called in the third round. He would be thrown into a heated quarterback battle with prized free agent Matt Flynn.

But through hard work, grit and determination, Wilson impressed the coaches in Seattle so much that he earned the starter position from Week 1 and forward. 

That alone shows the kind of person the Wisconsin product is. He is confident in his abilities and someone who will never give up and continue working at something they so desperately want. 

Furthermore, Luck and Griffin were put in situations where the team wasn’t so good. They could have an excuse for rookie mistakes. The Seahawks expected to be contending in the NFC West. Wilson had enormous pressure, and with early season contests against Dallas, Green Bay and New England he had no room for a mistake. 

Wilson grew up before our eyes beating the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots like it was as easy as picking apart a Big 10 defense. 

He doesn’t look like a rookie because his play is at another level. He is a boon to the Seahawks, not a hindrance. 

Wilson had a couple missteps in an early season loss 13-6 at San Francisco as he went 9-for-23 with 122 yards and an interception. Yikes! But he learned from that faulty performance and in the second game versus the 49ers was on fire. 

This time, Wilson was 15-for-21 with 171 yards and four touchdowns! Did I mention he got the 42-13 blowout win over his hated rivals? 

That is because the Seattle offense has become another level of dynamic, posting a 58-0 shutout win on December 9 against the Arizona Cardinals and a 50-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills the following week. This incredible accumulation of points can be traced to Wilson, who has a similar playing style to RG3. 

Unlike Griffin, Wilson has been healthy the whole season because he knows when to slow down, when to step out of bounds and when to slide. He knows how to control his running ability and that will be incredibly beneficial to his young team in the coming years.

Oh, and his stats are pretty good too. 

Wilson has 25 touchdowns on the season and is within one of Peyton Manning's rookie record of 26 touchdown passes. He will likely tie the record but can break it with a two touchdown showing next week against the lowly Rams

His QB Rating of 98 is just a tad behind Griffin at 104.1 and miles better than Luck at 75.6. It is interesting to note that Redskins backup Kirk Cousins posted a 101.6 quarterback rating when he finished the game against the Ravens and defeated the Browns in his lone start. Clearly, the Redskins supporting pieces are very good as well. 

His completion percentage of 63.4 percent dwarfs the 54.3 percent posted by Luck. He edges the Stanford product in average yards and interceptions, as well. 

While it is clear that all three quarterbacks have a bright future in the league, it is also as clear that no one deserves Rookie of the Year more than Russell Wilson. 

He might not be the trendiest name or the highest draft pick but when push came to shove he performed the best. No one can deny that.