Every year it seems like Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay spend days arguing over who are the best rookies to draft. Both “experts” make a big board and criticize teams for their draft picks before the rookies ever play a game. Throughout the season we will keep track of how many times each rookie makes this list and see if Kiper and McShay know what they are talking about.
However, Kiper and McShay never have a segment where they look back at their advice and see where they were right and wrong… Of course their experts! Neither is ever actually graded and by time the NFL season is underway, nobody remembers which athletes were highly recommended by either commentator.
QB: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins: No, Cousins did not have the best statistical game, but he was certainly the most clutch. With the Redskins driving down 8 with less than 1 minute on the clock, RGIII was forced to the sidelines with a knee injury, allowing Cousins to take the field with the Redskins’ season on the line. Prior to week 14, Cousins only attempted 9 throws, but went 2/2 for 26 yards and the game-tying touchdown with nearly no time on the clock. On the two-point conversion, Cousins found his inner Robert Griffin and tied up the game on a quarterback draw. The Redskins went on to win the game in overtime and kept their season alive. The Redskins were highly criticized for taking two quarterbacks in the draft, but now Mike Shanahan has the last laugh.
RB: Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins: At this point, it is safe to say that Morris was the steal of the draft. The 6th round pick has been consistent all year, and found success against one of the best defenses in the league. Morris ran for 122 yards and a touchdown, forcing the Ravens to respect both the pass and the run.
WR: Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns: The Browns have quietly had a good year considering they are in complete rebuilding mode. Gordon continues to make positives strides and caught 8 balls for 86 yards. He was targeted a team high 12 times and is strongly improving his chemistry with fellow rookie Brandon Weeden.
TE: No tight end performed well enough to win the honor this week. Instead, I will use this section to honor Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Despite not being a rookie, Lynch went “BEAST MODE” and absolutely torched the Cardinals defense for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 11 carries. For those of you that are bad at math, that’s a touchdown in roughly 1 of every 3 carries and a ypc of 11.6.
Def: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers: Kuechly was a big part of the Panthers upset over the top seeded Falcons. The rookie had 16 tackles, 9 more than the next closest player on the team. Kuechly always seems to be around the ball and is phenomenal at stopping the run. Look for the Panthers to have a bounce back season next year with young studs on both sides of the ball. Kuechly now has 130 total tackles on the year, leading not just all rookies but the entire NFL.