From Arizona To Washington: Every NFL Franchise's Greatest Rookie Ever

Ah, rookies! Every year the NFL is inundated with an influx of players fresh off their college exploits, hoping their respective talents and successes carry over to the professional level. Since the NFL Draft’s commencement in 1936, NFL rookies have followed a similar script. They are drafted by a team based on immediate or future needs. Tens of rookies find themselves as an opening day starter. Some are thrust into a starting position early in the season because of a starter’s injury while some rookies see the field due to the underwhelming performance of a veteran player. The majority of rookies never make the team, take the field or last more than three years in the league. That’s what makes rookie standouts all the more intriguing.

All 32 NFL teams have had that one exceptional rookie. That one first year player who made a sizable impact in the statistical department, the team’s standings or its postseason endeavors—or all of them if the team and the player were so lucky! Some top-drawer rookies are a mere blip in a team’s star studded history while others reshaped and merged leagues with their persona and accomplishments. Who are they? The following list will show you each NFL team’s greatest rookie and his respective season accomplishments. Considerations to overall statistics, awards and both regular and postseason impacts weigh heavily for each player. But be warned—a fourth of this may change within the next five years!

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32 Arizona/St. Louis Cardinals: Ottis Anderson—RB

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Running back Ottis Anderson—the other “O.J.”—was not as prolific as his infamous counterpart but he was much better in his rookie season than the embattled Buffalo halfback was in his first-year campaign. Anderson ran for 1,605 yards and eight touchdowns during his first year as a pro for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979. In addition to his 100-yard per game average, he tallied 41 receptions for 308 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Bolstering his stats were his selection as All Pro as well as a Pro Bowl nod. And inevitably, he was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year. In a twist of irony, Anderson would attain something else O.J. Simpson did not—a Super Bowl ring. He would receive Super Bowl MVP honors as a New York Giant in 1991 against Simpson’s old team, the Buffalo Bills.

31 Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan—QB

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The Atlanta Falcon’s inaugural season started off shaky with quarterback Randy Johnson in 1966 and then found stability with Steve Bartkowski in the late-70s and 1980s. Fast forward to 2008 and the Falcons would pluck a gem from Boston College in the first round—Matt Ryan—who’s passed for more yards than those two combined. Ryan threw for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns and a 61.1 completion percentage in his rookie season, making everyone forget about the Michael Vick years. More importantly, the Falcons went 11-5 while earning an NFC wild-card spot. The 2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year was aided by running back Michael Turner’s amazing year as well as veteran wide receiver Roddy White’s efforts. However, “Matty Ice’s” rookie season was just the start.

30 Baltimore Ravens: Jamal Lewis—RB

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Much of the Ravens’ success during the 2000 season was attributed to its historic defense led by Ray Lewis. However, there was another Lewis who was just as valuable on the offensive side of the ball—running back Jamal Lewis. Lewis started the year out slow but became the workhouse back by season’s end. His 1,364-yard effort on the ground and six touchdowns helped a quarterback situation that was less than desirable for the Wild-Card and Super Bowl bound Ravens. Lewis continued his push into the playoffs and Super Bowl, rushing for over 300-yards and four touchdowns in four games. What made Lewis’ efforts all the more remarkable in both the regular and postseason was that he consistently faced stacked fronts with Trent Dilfer as his quarterback.

29 Buffalo Bills: Cookie Gilchrist—RB

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The Bills have had some pretty decent running backs during their franchise history: OJ Simpson, Thurman Thomas, Travis Henry, Willis McGahee and Marshawn Lynch. However, all the aforementioned Buffalo backs—or any other Buffalo position player—did not put together a rookie season better than running back Cookie Gilchrist in 1962. Cookie chewed defenders for 1,096 rushing yards and 319 receiving yards while amassing 15 total touchdowns. But that’s not all! Gilchrist also kicked for the Bills, making eight field goals out of 20 attempts. Cementing his legend further was that he returned kicks for the first four games of his rookie season as well. Gilchrist’s All Pro and Pro Bowl selections during his first season were all but icing on the cake—or cookie, rather!

28 Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton—QB

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Move over Ric Flair, Superman resides in Charlotte! Former Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton took the Queen City by storm as the Carolina Panthers selected the decorated quarterback with the first overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. With his college accolades and controversy aside, the Auburn standout did not disappoint! During his first season in the league he threw for a then rookie record of 4,051-passing yards—since broken by Andrew Luck in 2013. Additionally, he tossed 21 touchdowns while posting a 60-percent completion rate. But where Cam really shone was on the ground as evidenced by his 706-rushing yards and his 14 rushing touchdowns—the most ever by a quarterback. Needless to say, Newton breezed to the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and a Pro Bowl selection.

27 Chicago Bears: Gale Sayers—RB

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The Chicago Bears hit pay-dirt with two of their back-to-back draft picks in the 1965 NFL draft—running back Gale Sayers and middle linebacker Dick Butkus. Although Butkus’ play in his rookie season was outstanding—and worthy of Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, had the award existed—the Kansas Comet went “Madden 99-Rating” on the league. All the former two-time All American did was rush for 867 yards and 14 touchdowns. He tacked on 507-yards and six touchdowns through the air. He wasn’t done! He recorded two touchdowns on both punt and kick returns for a total of 22 touchdowns scored. The latter is still an NFL record for a rookie season. For his efforts, Sayers earned Rookie of the Year honors, an All Pro nod and a Pro Bowl selection.

26 Cincinnati Bengals: Ickey Woods—RB

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If an NFL player gets his own dance during their inaugural campaign, they are automatically considered as having the best rookie season in a franchise’s history—period! In all seriousness, that is what Cincinnati Bengals running back Ickey Woods got during his 1988 rookie season—his own dance and the league’s attention. Woods showcased “The Ickey Shuffle” often as he battered the league for 15 rushing touchdowns. His 1,265 yards from scrimmage complimented quarterback Boomer Esiason’s aerial endeavors and helped the team to a 12 – 4 record. Woods didn’t stop at the regular season and averaged over 100-yards rushing per game in three playoff games—one of those being the Super Bowl. Although a Super Bowl ring evaded Woods, he shared Offensive Rookie of the Year honors with New England Patriot running back John Stephens.

25 Cleveland Browns: Jim Brown—RB

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In 1957, the Cleveland Browns selected an All American running back from Syracuse University named Jim Brown. You may have heard of him. It only took a “dozen” games for Brown to prove that he had the Cleveland Browns greatest rookie season ever. Brown led the league with 942 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 10 total touchdowns. His efforts led the Browns to a 9-2-1 record, good for first place in their division and the NFL Championship game. Although Cleveland came up short, Brown collected considerable end-of-year accolades. He was named 1957 NFL Rookie of the Year, All Pro and selected for the Pro Bowl. In addition, Brown was named the 1957 Associated Press Most Valuable Player as well. Remarkably, his rookie rushing yardage was the lowest of his nine-year career.

24 Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliot —RB

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Not since Tony Dorsett has a rookie running back—or rookie player save for teammate Dak Prescott—had such an impact for the Dallas Cowboys. Not even Herschel Walker, Emmitt Smith nor Demarco Murray can claim to have had a better rookie season. Flirting with breaking the NFL mark for rushing yards by a rookie as well as double digit touchdowns amid MVP talk has put the former Ohio State in rare air. Elliot’s Junior and Senior seasons at Ohio State were an indication of the greatness to come given his average of 1850 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns per season. The 2015 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year started his 2016 rookie season off slow but went on a four game tear that put critics to rest and positioned him for over 2000 scrimmage yards by season’s end. Elliot is a shoo-in for the Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Pro Bowl and an All Pro selection.

23 Denver Broncos: Clinton Portis—RB

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It doesn’t hurt when the team you are drafted to has a running back guru for a head coach. Likewise, it helps immensely when you are already insanely talented. Such was the case of the Denver Broncos drafting of Clinton Portis in the second round of the 2002 draft. Portis joined a lineage of Denver backs that thrived under head coach Mike Shanahan. The former University of Miami standout responded with the greatest rookie season for a Denver Bronco. Portis galloped for 1,508 rushing yards and fifteen touchdowns. He added 33 receptions for 364 receiving yards and two additional touchdowns. Portis garnered Offensive Rookie of the Year honors for his rookie endeavors but little else due to Ricky Williams’ freak season for the Miami Dolphins that same year.

22 Detroit Lions: Barry Sanders—RB

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Former Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders was the fourth most dangerous offensive weapon on Nintendo’s Tecmo Super Bowl. But fans everywhere knew better when watching the real thing! The NFC North and the NFL were put on notice during the 1989 season when the Detroit Lions picked the Oklahoma State phenom with its first pick of the NFL draft. Sanders was fresh off a junior season where he put up an astonishing 2,628 yards rushing, 37 touchdowns on the ground and returned punts and kicks for two additional touchdowns. Sanders paced the Lions with 1,470 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 starts. The former All American picked up where he left off with regard to awards collecting Offensive Rookie of the Year hardware and an All Pro selection.

21 Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy—RB

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With names like Don Hutson, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, John Brockington and Brett Favre as alum, many would pounce on one or more of those Packer greats as having the best rookie season in Green Bay history. However, schemes were much different in football’s golden age and Favre was an Atlanta Falcon as a rookie. That leaves University of Alabama product Eddie Lacy as having one the best rookie seasons for the Pack. In 2013, Lacy rumbled for 1,178 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns while adding 257 yards receiving. Although Green Bay running back John Brockington was an All Pro, a Pro Bowler and Rookie of the Year in 1971, Brockington played for a 4-8-2 team while Lacy helped the Packers to the 2013 playoffs in addition to his Rookie of the Year Award.

20 Houston Texans: Brian Cushing—LB

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In 2009, rookie Brian Cushing became the Houston Texans’ second—and third—Defensive Rookie of the Year after DeMeco Ryans won the award in 2006. More on Cushing’s “third” award later. What separated Cushing from Ryans was that the prior stuffed the stat sheets during his rookie season. Cushing, the Texan’s first round pick (15th overall), was a wild man who covered the entire field. He intercepted four balls and deflected 10 passes while leading the Texans and tying for the NFL lead with 133 combined tackles. However, not all was cushy with Cushing’s season as he tested positive for PEDs early in the season. As a result, a revote was cast for Defensive Rookie of the Year with the same result as Cushing won—again.

19 Indianapolis Colts: Edgerrin James—RB

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Many would argue that future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning had the best rookie season for an Indianapolis Colt player in 1998. However, the young signal caller was 3-13 during his rookie season. Contrast that with the 13-3 record in 1999 that was facilitated by the arrival of a certain University of Miami product who replaced the departed Marshall Fualk. Edgerrin James performed his best Marshall Faulk impression and picked up where the all-time great left off by rushing for 1,553 yards and 13 touchdowns during his rookie season. If that wasn’t enough, he added 62 receptions for 586 yards totaling 2,139 yards from scrimmage. Although his eight fumbles on the year were troublesome, James made everything look too easy en route to a Pro Bowl selection and an All Pro nod.

18 Jacksonville Jaguars: Fred Taylor—RB

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In 1998, the Jacksonville Jaguars were left in the wake of running back Natrone Means’ free agent departure. As a result, the Jaguars selected running back Fred Taylor in the first round (9th overall) of the NFL Draft. Moving a little over an hour away from his alma mater, the University of Florida, Taylor paced the Jaguar running game with 1,223-yards and 14 touchdowns while only starting 12 games. He added 44 receptions and 421 yards through the air with three touchdowns. Taylor popped 183 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the Detroit Lions during one season game. He showed similar workhouse tenacity and results with 33 carries for 163 rushing yards and a score in a playoff win against the New England Patriots. However, it was hard for Taylor to stand out that year given Randy Moss’ and Peyton Manning’s rookie campaigns.

17 Kansas City Chiefs: Derrick Thomas—LB

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Name the top five pass rushers in NFL history and former Kansas Chief linebacker Derrick Thomas’ name will surely come up. The All American and Dick Butkus Award winner was destined for big things given his record 27 sacks in 1988 and his career record 52 collegiate sacks, although the NCAA did not start officially record defensive stats until 2000. Thomas was selected by the Chiefs in the first round (fourth overall) in the 1989 NFL Draft and went to work immediately during his rookie season. He recorded 10 quarterback sacks, 75 tackles and forced three fumbles. For his efforts, Thomas received the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in addition to a Pro Bowl nod. His rookie season was just a tease for things to come.

16 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams: Eric Dickerson—RB

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Running back Eric Dickerson is the stuff of legend. He should be since he holds the all-time single season rushing mark at 2,105 yards. Dickerson’s record setting season was one year removed from his rookie season for the Los Angeles Rams in 1983. The first round pick (second overall) tore up the turf that year for 1,808 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Dickerson also caught an amazing 51 receptions for 404 yards and two scores, totaling more than 2,212 yards from scrimmage. The good times kept rolling for Dickerson and the Wild Card Rams in a playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys until a drubbing by the Washing Redskins in the next round. Dickerson would be selected as Offensive Rookie of the Year, as an All Pro and for the Pro Bowl.

15 Miami Dolphins: Dan Marino—QB

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Before the gaudy numbers of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, there was Dan Marino. Marino’s rookie stats would be considered pedestrian by today’s standards. However, the University of Pittsburgh alum and first round pick (27th Overall) of the Miami Dolphins was not projected to be close to those numbers given his lackluster senior year numbers and backup role. That all changed in Week Five of the 1983 season when Dolphins coach Don Shula inserted Marino into the starting position. Marino responded with 2,210 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. He even added two touchdowns on the ground. The 1983 Offensive Rookie of the Year guided the Dolphins to seven wins out of the remaining nine games and positioned the 12 - 4 Dolphins into a first round bye of the playoffs.

14 Minnesota Vikings: Randy Moss—WR

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You know you’re great when your last name is a moniker for embarrassing opponents with your receiving skills. There was no doubt Randy Moss “Moss’d” defenses during his rookie season for the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. The Marshal product brought his collegiate dominance to the professional game with 1,313 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. During the Viking’s Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, Moss showed the league and the nation that he had arrived with 163 receiving yards and three touchdowns. His year-long efforts propelled the Vikings to a 15 – 1 record and into the playoffs. In two playoff games he recorded 148 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Moss was awarded with the 1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, an All Pro acknowledgment and a Pro Bowl selection.

13 New England Patriots: Mike Haynes—DB

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This one is pretty close between defensive back Mike Haynes and running back Curtis Martin. However, Haynes played two less games in 1976 than Martin’s 16 in 1995. Hayne’s eight interceptions in two less games were all the more impressive as was his recording seven of those picks in a four game stretch late in the season. In addition, he recorded 90 yards in total interception return yards. And speaking of returns, Haynes made an impact there as well. He tallied 608 punt-return yards for 13.5 yards per return—both good for second in the league—and two return touchdowns. Haynes garnered a Pro Bowl selection, an All-Conference Pro nod and he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Hayne’s efforts helped the Patriots to an 11-3 record and a playoff berth as well.

12 New Orleans Saints: George Rogers—RB

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What did the New Orleans Saints get for drafting the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner? The city of jazz, gumbo and beignets got a season for the ages! The Saints took University of South Carolina standout running back George Rogers with the first overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft. The team wasted no time in putting Rogers to work with 378 carries. Rogers turned those totes into 1,674 rushing yards—a then NFL rookie record until broken by Eric Dickerson a few years later. For good measure Rogers added 13 touchdowns. He was the lone bright spot for the 4 -12 Saints, accounting for nearly half of the team’s scoring and yardage. Still, Rogers collected Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, an All Pro selection and a Pro Bowl spot.

11 New York Giants: Lawrence Taylor—LB

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In a twist of list and draft irony, the New York Giants selected linebacker Lawrence Taylor as the second overall player in the 1981 NFL Draft, right after George Rogers. Had the Saints selected Taylor, history would have been written much differently for the Giants not to mention Bourbon Street! As fate would have it, the Giants would get one of the most dominant players in NFL history. Taylor recorded 9.5 quarterback sacks, terrorized opponents with his frenzied play and helped position the Giants for a Wild Card playoff berth. Although L.T. would not collect any post season hardware, the individual awards were plenty. Already decorated with All Pro and Pro Bowl selections, Taylor was named the 1981 Defensive Rookie of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year.

10 New York Jets: Joe Namath—QB

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In 1965, Alabama quarterback Joe Namath was drafted by two competing teams, the AFL’s New York Jets and the NFLs St. Louis Cardinals. “Broadway Joe’s” signing with the Jets would not only boost the AFL’s legitimacy but impact the NFL’s history on a whole—he “guaranteed” it. In his first season, Namath shared the starting quarterback position with Mike Taliaferro. However, Namath would assume full-time duties by season’s end, throwing for 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns across nine starts. His efforts garnered him the AFL’s Rookie of the Year Award as well as an AFL All Star Game selection. During the AFL All Star game, Namath added to his legend with four straight scoring drives to cement the AFL All Stars’ win over the Buffalo Bills.

9 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders: Marcus Allen—RB

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The strike shortened season of 1982 didn’t stop Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen from putting up spectacular numbers during his rookie season. The first round pick (10th Overall) out of Southern California lit up the NFL for 697 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He proved to be one of quarterback Jim Plunkett’s best weapons by catching 38 passes for 401 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Allen’s performance over nine games helped the Raiders to an 8 – 1 record and first place in the AFC West Division. Allen continued his stat-hogging ways in the playoffs by amassing 220 total yards and three touchdowns in two games. Marcus Allen’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, All Pro designation and Pro Bowl selection were well deserved.

8 Philadelphia Eagles: Reggie White—DE

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In 1984, the NFL held a supplemental draft to determine team rights to collegiate players who already signed with the rival United States Football League (USFL). The draft hedged potential bidding wars for stars when and if the USFL collapsed—which it did in 1986. In that draft was defensive end Reggie White, who the Philadelphia Eagles selected with their fourth pick. When the inevitable happened to White’s USFL team, the Memphis Showboats, White joined the Eagles during the start of their 1985 season. The 1985 season would technically be his NFL rookie season. In only 12 games as a starter, White broke out with 13 quarterback sacks and 100 tackles. White outperformed the actual Defensive Rookie of the Year Duane Bickett of the Indianapolis Colts, who recorded six sacks and 141 tackles.

7 Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger—QB

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Ben Roethlisberger’s first season in the league is the exception and not the norm for rookie quarterbacks. As the Pittsburgh’s Steeler’s first round pick (11th overall) in 2004, Roethlisberger found himself thrust into the starting position due to starter Tommy Maddox’s injury. With the help of a stout defense and effective running game, Roethlisberger went 13-0 as the starter. He threw for 2,621 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 66.4 percent of his passes. His 98.1 passer rating was fifth best in the league. The 15–1 Steelers rode “Big Ben’s” hot-hand into the playoffs where he won his first playoff game against the New York Jets. However, he eventually succumbed to the New England Patriot’s defensive schemes the following week. Nonetheless, Roethlisberger’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award for his 2004 efforts was a glimpse of what was to come in the 2005 season.

6 San Diego Chargers/Los Angeles Chargers: LaDainian Tomlinson—RB

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Running back LaDainian Tomlinson was on the heels of a spectacular season and All American accolades for Texas Christian University (TCU) before entering the 2000 NFL Draft. However, Tomlinson’s scouting report before the NFL Draft stopped short of recommending him as a feature back worthy of first round selection—even after running for more than 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns in 11 games. Yet, the San Diego Chargers selected him in the first round (5th overall) and reaped the benefits. Tomlinson had a rookie season that flew under the radar as he rushed for 1,236 yards and 10 touchdowns, tied for fourth in the league. His 59 receptions and 367 receiving yards placed in the top-10 for running backs. Additionally, Tomlinson led the league with 389 touches proving that he was more than capable of being a feature running back.

5 San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis—MLB

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It’s safe to say a linebacker is good when he wins the Butkus Award as well as the Jack Lambert Award for his college level play. Add the tutelage of legendary linebacker Mike Singletary and you’ve got a linebacker who is primed for a great start to his rookie season. That was San Francisco 49er linebacker Patrick Willis, who the 49ers took in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Willis responded in kind going gangbusters on the league for a combined 174 tackles. He tacked on four quarterback sacks as well as two forced fumbles. Unfortunately, Willis didn’t play on offense as the 49ers ranked at or near the bottom in every offensive category. As a result, Willis had many opportunities for plays on the opposing offense. Nonetheless, Willis was selected as the 2007 Defensive Rookie of the Year and as an All Pro.

4 Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson—QB

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In 2012, the Seattle Seahawks were ready to roll with recently signed free agent Matt Flynn or journeyman back-up Tarvaris Jackson at the team’s quarterback position. However, Seattle’s third round draft pick (75th overall) Russell Wilson and his preseason play made head coach Pete Carroll rethink the team’s quarterback strategy for the 2012 season. Playing with a historic defense as well as a punishing running game, Wilson made defenses pay with his 3,118 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. Wilson excelled on the ground as well as evidenced by his 489 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Combine the aforementioned stats with his 64.1 completion percentage along with his 100.0 quarterback rating and its obvious why Carroll went with the talented signal caller. Wilson’s play carried Seattle into the 2012 playoffs as well.

3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Doug Martin—RB

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The comparison of rookie seasons between running back Doug Martin and quarterback Jameis Winston is extremely close. On one hand, Winston had one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in Tampa bay Buccaneers history; however, the “Muscle Hamster” had the best rookie season for a Buccaneers player ever in 2012. Martin got the league’s attention at the season’s midpoint when he exploded for 486 total yards and six touchdowns during a two-game stretch. The Boise St. product ran for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns for the season overall. Martin also caught 49 balls for 479 yards, totaling close to 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Had Adrian Peterson not rushed for 2,097 yards that season, Martin would have been selected as an All Pro in addition to his Pro Bowl nod.

2 Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers: Earl Campbell—RB

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Before there was “Beast Mode” there was “The Tyler Rose.” Running back Earl Campbell was coming off a collegiate season at the University of Texas where he ran for over 1,700 yards and scored 18 touchdowns spanning 11 games in 1977. That effort earned him All American Honors as well as the Heisman Trophy. As a result, the Houston Oilers selected Campbell with the first overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft. He immediately paid dividends in his first season by leading the league in rushing with 1,450 yards. In addition, Campbell scored 13 touchdowns on the ground. His All Pro efforts helped the Oilers secure a Wild Card playoff spot where they rode Campbell until losing the Conference Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1 Washington Redskins: Sammy Baugh—QB/RB

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Yes, quarterback Robert Griffin put up great numbers in his rookie season for the Washington Redskins. However, he didn’t parlay those numbers into a championship like Sammy Baugh did in 1937. Washington selected “Slingin’ Sammy” with their first round pick (sixth overall) in the 1937 NFL Draft. Baugh—who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals (baseball) as well—played both quarterback and tailback. At quarterback he passed for and led the league with 1,127 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games, five of which he started. At tailback, he scampered for 240 yards and one touchdown. But it was the NFL Championship game where Baugh put the Washington on his back—or arm, rather—and went new-school throwing for 335 yards and three touchdowns in a comeback win against the Chicago Bears. An All Pro selection, an unofficial Championship MVP and a Championship Title is not bad for one’s first NFL season.

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