The anathema to defense, the best way to win is to keep the ball in the hands of a trustworthy offense. Nothing is more horrifying than watching a dreadful quarterback drop back to pass. Running a defense ragged with a punctual rushing attack that is complemented by a great passer is the way to go. Here are six of the top rookie of the year candidates on the offensive side of the ball.
VI: Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck
Had veteran WR Reggie Wayne not signed with Indy I may have left Luck off. He is far and beyond one of the greatest prospects we have seen. Indy lost C Jeff Saturday and both TE’s Jacob Tamme and Dallas Clark are gone. Nice. A second year, albeit solid prospect in LT Anthony Costanzo will be watching Luck’s blindside. With a defense that made some of the worst offenses in the league look great, there is not much for Luck at his disposal. Not due to his ability, but due to everyone he needed jumping ship, it is time for Luck to learn the ropes, not bring home hardware.
V: Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III
I, like anyone else find RG3 to be immensely talented with the dual threat an understatement. Griffin III however had it very easy at Baylor. Not only did he have a good receiver to work with and a halfway weak schedule, but Griffin had it easy at Baylor. His playbook was like a first stage book to heal illiteracy in a third world country. He had everything spelled out for him. The most difficult part for RG3 is to learn the nuances and intricacies of the NFL playbook. Plays, formations, routes, and blocking schemes can be mindbogglingly complicated, something that RG3 is going to have to put hard hours into to make this work. He does not have much to work with either, but has a defense that can pick him up unlike Andrew Luck.
IV: Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson
With a coaching job at the high school level awaiting me following my diploma, I still feel as a wide receiver’s coach that old-school football is the way to go. It is all fun and games when guys like QB’s Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers air it out all day. The pertinent question among such illustrious stardom is however, where is their running game and where were they at the end of last season? Richardson is a stabilizing force on a team with a halfway decent offensive line to run behind and no answer yet at quarterback. Richardson runs like a chainsaw every time he is handed the rock. He can run through anyone, shake any defender, and speed away for huge gains. In almost any situation, Richardson will be relied upon and will gain positive yardage. He will be the backbone of the offense for years to come.
III: Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery
A lot of folks had issues with Jeffery’s lack of productivity during this past season. Some feel that he lacks top flight speed, while others question his capability to run pristine routes. If one compares the other quarterback to wide receiver relationships in their past college years, we can tie Justin Blackmon to Brandon Weeden, Kendall Wright to Robert Griffin III and so on. There was no stability at quarterback for Jeffery as his passer could not lay off the hooch long enough to stay in school. Jeffery, despite these odds, is still one of the best receivers in the draft with the most pure skills as a pass catcher. Jeffery goes from a volatile situation at South Carolina to one of balance. He will have the benefit of working opposite the reliable WR Brandon Marshall and around the electric WR/KR Devin Hester. He also has the best quarterback of all the early selections in QB Jay Cutler.
II: New York Giants WR Rueben Randle
Here is where it gets annoying. There are five offensive linemen that will have better careers than half of the guys on this list. While these skill players are soaking the spotlight away from the trenches, voters forget about the value of offensive linemen. However, WR Rueben Randle is drafted immediately onto a Super Bowl champion team with a great quarterback and a situation where WR’s Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will have all the attention on them. The underrated Randle will be open early and often.
I: Minnesota Vikings LT Matt Kalil
Someone has to have faith that the voters are watching the warfare. They cannot all be that stupid. If RB Adrian Peterson returns strong, Kalil will look good. If he does anything to improve the game of QB Christian Ponder, he should be considered.
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