sheldonrich

TGS 2013 NFL rookie of the year awards

This Given Sunday will start rolling out award winners over the next few weeks. And although the 2013 regular season still has a week to go, we're ready to kick things off with the offensive and defensive rookies of the year. 

Offensive Rookie of the Year 

The Candidates
 
Eddie Lacy 
Stats (heading into Week 17): 263 rushes, 1,110 yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, 33 receptions, 242 yards
 
Keenan Allen 
Stats (heading into Week 17): 66 receptions, 957 yards, 8 touchdowns
 
Larry Warford
Stats (heading into Week 17): He's an offensive guard, and "pancakes" are just a Madden statistic. However, Pro Football Focus does have him ranked as the No. 4 guard of 2013.
 
Gio Bernard 
Stats (heading into Week 17): 157 carries,  653 yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 51 receptions, 463 yards, 3 receiving touchdowns
 
Andre Ellington

Stats (heading into Week 17): 109 carries, 622 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 36 reception, 359 yards, 1 receiving touchdown
 
 
The Winner: 
 
Eddie Lacy 
 
 
Thanks in large part to Aaron Rodgers' serious collarbone injury, Lacy spent a good portion of his rookie NFL season as the focal point of the Green Bay Packers' offense, and he didn't disappoint in that role. 
 
Although offensive line quality has a major impact on a running back's success, and Lacy certainly has regularly had large holes to run through, he's been a relatively efficient workhorse for Mike McCarthy's team. 
 
His 4.2 yards-per-carry average is the same as power backs Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch, and the only runners with a higher yards-per-carry average with more carries are Alfred Morris, Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy. 
 
While Allen's production was impressive as well, the impact Lacy had on the Packers was slightly greater. Ellington leads the league with a 5.7 yards-per-carry average, but hasn't gotten the ball enough. Sad but true. Bernard was a front-runner early, but he's cooled off of late.
 
With Rodgers back, Lacy's efficiency numbers should only get better. 
 
Defensive Rookie of the Year
 
The Candidates
 
Sheldon Richardson
Stats (heading into Week 17): 76 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
 
Kiko Alonso 
Stats (heading into Week 17): 145 tackles,  2 sacks, 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
 
Desmond Trufant
Stats (heading into Week 17): 65 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
 
Tyrann Mathieu
Stats (heading into Week 17): 68 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
 
Star Lotulelei: 
Stats (heading into Week 17): 40 tackles, 2 sacks
 
The Winner: 
 
Sheldon Richardson 
 
 
Richardson's been an absolute, line of scrimmage disruptor, a real offensive game plan ruiner in 2013. Sure, playing next to Muhammad Wilkerson— to some, the best defensive player in the game—helps, but the first-round pick out of Missouri has panned out wonderfully for the New York Jets. 
 
Because the tackle stat, is, well, like the worst stat in professional sports, let's discount them for a second. 
 
Per PFF, only J.J. Watt has a higher run-stopping grade among 3-4 defensive ends this year. His cumulative run-stopping grade of 34.0 would be the second-highest among all defensive tackles, too. 
 
Richardson also forced 30 quarterback pressures (sacks, hits or hurries) on 459 pass-rush snaps as a rookie, a respectable number. Alonso's been a fabulous three-down linebacker for the Bills—he's played every defensive snap for Buffalo this year. Mathieu was the play-making Swiss Army knife many thought he could be in the NFL, but an ACL tear derailed his DROY hopes. 
 
Trufant's shown promise, and Lotulelei has been right behind Richardson in terms of overall impact. 
 
But the Jets' defensive lineman has been an elite run stopper as a rookie. He's the most deserving of this award. 
Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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