Now that the regular season is over, perhaps it's time to take a look at how the Rookie class has done.
Since 1967 The Associated Press has given two annual Rookie of the Year Awards to NFL American football players: one for an offensive player and one for a defensive player. These two are often regarded as the "official" awards. However, the league recognizes multiple other awarding agencies including, but not limited to, The Sporting News, Pro Football Weekly, Sports Illustrated, and Diet Pepsi.
In 2008, the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year was Quarterback Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. The Defensive Rookie of the Year was Linebacker Jerod Mayo of the New England Patriots.
On the Money side of the ball, there are 3 Wide Receivers and 3 Running Backs that stand over the rest.
The Indianapolis Colts found a pleasant surprise in the 4th round. With the 27th pick in that round, they picked up Wideout Austin Collie. Peyton Manning has found another weapon for the Colts aerial assault. Austin has 60 catches and 676 yards and 7 Touchdowns. That's a pretty good return for a late rounder. Especially as the 3rd or 4th option between, Reggie Wayne (1243 yards, 10 TD's), Dallas Clark (1054 yards, 10 TD's) and Pierre Garcon (765 yards).
Percy Harvin was taken by the Minnesota Vikings with the 22nd pick. He had 60 receptions for 790 yards, which was pretty remarkable playing behind Sidney Rice's 1,200 yards. Harvin had a 13.8 average and 6 Touchdowns. He has also made an impact as a Kick Returner, with 42 returns for 1156 yards, a 27.5 average and 2 Touchdowns.
Hakeem Nicks was the New York Giants 29th pick. Nicks missed 2 games this year due to injury, but still had a good showing. He finished the regular season with 47 receptions, 790 yards, a nice 16.8 average, and was on the receiving end of 6 Eli Manning Touchdown passes as the 3rd Receiver for the G-men.
Now for the Running Backs, there were 3 players that stood out.
LeSean McCoy was selected with the 21st pick in the 2nd round by the Philadelphia Eagles. He carried the ball 155 times this year. His 637 Rushing yards led the Eagles and took up the slack for an oft-injured Brian Westbrook. lesean scored 4 Touchdowns in 2009. He also made 40 receptions for 308 yards.
Chris "Beanie" Wells was the Arizona Cardinals 31st pick in the draft. He had 176 carries, and his 793 yards the the Cards. Beanie had a 4.5 average and 7 Touchdowns. He had 12 catches for 143 yards as well.
Then we have our own Knowshon Moreno, who the Broncos picked up with the number 12 selection. Moreno carried the ball 247 times for a team high 947 yards, a 3.8 average and 7 Touchdowns. He also caught the ball 28 times for 213 yards and 2 Touchdowns.
On the Defensive side, there were 2 SAM Linebackers, an Outside Linebacker, an Inside Linebacker and a Safety among those who made an impact in their Rookie year.
Immediately after the Broncos took Knowshon, the Washington Redskins took 4-3 SAM Linebacker Brian Orakpo with the number 13 selection. All Brian did was outdo the $100 Million man, "Fat" Albert Haynesworth. In a part-time role, Orakpo made 37 Tackles, had 14 Assists, and Forced 1 Fumble. His 11 Sacks tied him for the team lead with Andre Carter. Choosing Orakpo was probably the only good thing Dan Snyder got out of VP Vinnie Cerrato before he fired him.
3-4 Outside Linebacker Clay Matthews was the Green Bay Packers 26th pick in 2009. He had a pretty terrific year too. Clay also made 37 Tackles and had 14 Assists. He lead the Pack with 10 Sacks. He had 7 Pass Defenses, Forced 1 Fumble, Recovered 3, and returned 1 for a Touchdown. Matthews was narrowly edged out for the Pro Bowl by Orakpo.
4-3 SAM Linebacker Brian Cushing was taken at the 15th spot by the Houston Texans. Cushing led his team with 86 Tackles, had 47 Assists, and 5 Sacks. He also recorded a Safety, had 14 Passes Defensed, had a team-high 4 Interceptions, and Forced 2 Fumbles.
Now James Laurinaitis had a terrific Rookie year, but may not get consideration at Inside Linebacker for a 1 - 15 team. The 2nd rounder (35th pick overall) led the St. Louis Rams with 106 Tackles, 13 Assists and 2 Sacks. He had 7 Pass Defenses and 2 Interceptions, 1 Forced Fumble and 1 Recovery.
Safety Jairus Byrd of the Buffalo Bills was chosen in the 2nd round as the 10th pick. He played 14 games before a Groin injury ended his season on Dec 23rd. He finished the year on Injured Reserve. Byrd made 33 Tackles, had 12 Assists and had 20 Passes Defensed. He led the Bills and tied 3 veterans for the League lead with 9 Interceptions, returning them 118 yards.
3 players in Broncos history have collected Rookie of the Year honors. In 1991 it was Linebacker Mike Croel. The 2000 season saw Running Back Mike Anderson hold up the Hardware. Most recently, Running back Clinton Portis galloped away with the Trophy for best Newcomer in 2002. Since the Fans are the source of generating these accolades, the Fans should have a say so in the choice for the Award. Well, I can't give you the authority to make that selection, but I can give you the opportunity to vote and voice your opinion on the matter.
What say You. Should Knowshon Moreno be the next Offensive Rookie of the Year?