STACK NFL Rookie Midseason Rankings

November 1, 2012

The end of October marked six months since the NFL Draft and the midpoint of the NFL season. What better time to weigh in on the top performing first-year players, some of whom we covered as they prepared for the 2012 NFL Combine? (Check out STACK's "Path to the Pros" series.)

Here, we rank the top 10 rookies based on the impact they’ve had in the first half of the season.

10. Mark Barron, SS, and Lavonte David, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It would be unfair to choose one over the other in terms of which one has had more impact. Both Barron and David have started since Week 1, and both have been key contributors to a Bucs defense that ranks among the top five in rushing yards allowed, a remarkable turnaround for a defense that ranked dead last in stopping the run last season.

9. Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans

Wright is outperforming fellow rookie receivers Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd, both of whom were selected ahead of him. If fact, at the midway point, he has more catches and receiving yards than Blackmon and Floyd combined. Not surprising, considering Wright has been the most targeted receiver on the Titans.

8. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson won the QB competition in Seattle and has the job on lock after leading the Seahawks to improbable wins over Dallas, Green Bay and New England. Not bad for a fourth-round pick whom many had written off as too small to be an NFL quarterback.

7. Luke Kuechly, MLB, Carolina Panthers

This is a guy who averaged 177 tackles as a three-year starter at Boston College. Before the draft, some pundits claimed those numbers were inflated, because a large percentage of Kuechly's tackles occurred downfield after the opponent had already made a big play. That’s not the case this year, as Kuechly leads the Panthers in tackles and tackles for loss through the first half of the season. A quick search around the league shows that his seven tackles for loss currently ranks fourth among NFC teams.

Cleveland Browns rookie RB Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson is the franchise running back the Cleveland Browns have long coveted.

6. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns

Richardson carried Cleveland to a 7-6 win over the San Diego Chargers on a rainy and windy Sunday afternoon in Week 8, which is exactly what the Browns envisioned when they traded up in the Draft to pick the Alabama running back. After battling injuries early in the season, Richardson appears to be returning to full health and adjusting to the pro style with each game. (Check out the training that has powered some of Richardson's greatest performances.)

5. Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

Morris leads all rookie running backs in rushing yards and attempts at the midway point of the season. Talk about draft value: Morris was selected in the sixth round (173rd overall), the 14th running back chosen in the 2012 Draft.

4. Chandler Jones, DE, New England Patriots

Through their first seven games, the Patriots have started as many as four rookies on defense; but none has had more of an impact than Jones, who leads all rookies in sacks and forced fumbles. Jones has been a dynamo, playing in 92 percent of the Pats’ defensive snaps.

3. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The second running back picked in the draft has been solid all season, but it was his breakout performance against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8 that catapulted the Boise State product to number three on this list. A humble, hard-working player, Martin has the potential to develop into an elite back in the NFL.

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

The first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft has been steady if unspectacular through the first half of the season. He ranks in the top 10 in pass attempts, passing yards and yards per completion. One of the more interesting stats for Luck is his three rushing touchdowns. That’s nearly half as many rushing touchdowns as he scored during his three years at Stanford. (Watch video of Luck's pre-draft training at Athletes' Performance.)

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

Very few folks had the audacity to project RGIII ahead of Luck as the No. 1 pick in the draft. Sure, Luck was selected first, but knowing what you know now, would you be surprised if RGIII ends the season as the more successful QB? We sure wouldn’t.

The sky is the limit for RGIII. There is no question that he has had the most profound impact of any rookie in 2012. (Watch RGIII on the practice field as he provides 1-on-1 instruction for becoming a better QB.)

Photo: Jim Prisching

Topics: FOOTBALL | NEWS
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...

Featured Videos

Adrian Gonzalez Rope Plank Adrian Gonzalez Rope Plank Views: 632,441
Ronda Rousey Shows Off Intense New Bag Drill Ronda Rousey Shows Off Intense New Bag Drill Views: 68,124
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 1,524,960
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,164
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,831
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,151,981
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,099,366
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,974,019

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
My 3-Mile Run With Kendrick Lamar

My 3-Mile Run With Kendrick Lamar

The Most Amazing Vines From the First Round of the NBA Playoffs

The Most Amazing Vines From the First Round of the NBA Playoffs

WATCH: Lacrosse Star Paul Rabil Obliterates a Watermelon

WATCH: Lacrosse Star Paul Rabil Obliterates a Watermelon

WATCH: James Harden Dominates in High School

WATCH: James Harden Dominates in High School

The Must-See Vines of the NCAA Tournament's Opening Rounds

The Must-See Vines of the NCAA Tournament's Opening Rounds

WATCH: Tom Brady Bats Lefty, Practices Swing with Pedro Martinez

WATCH: Tom Brady Bats Lefty, Practices Swing with Pedro Martinez

18 Strangest and Most Impressive Fitness Records

18 Strangest and Most Impressive Fitness Records

WATCH: FSU Recruit Jukes 12 Tackles and Gets TD

WATCH: FSU Recruit Jukes 12 Tackles and Gets TD

The 7 Best Plays of the NBA Conference Finals, Ranked

The 7 Best Plays of the NBA Conference Finals, Ranked

WATCH: J.J. Watt's Insane 61-Inch Box Jump

WATCH: J.J. Watt's Insane 61-Inch Box Jump

Is the Armpocket Truly 'The Ultimate' Armband? Find Out Here.

Is the Armpocket Truly 'The Ultimate' Armband? Find Out Here.

Quick Review: Columbia Sportswear Turbodown Jacket

Quick Review: Columbia Sportswear Turbodown Jacket

5-foot-8 Cole Beasley Throws Down Massive Dunk on Instagram

5-foot-8 Cole Beasley Throws Down Massive Dunk on Instagram

8 Pro Athletes Who Are Clearly Showing Off During Workouts

8 Pro Athletes Who Are Clearly Showing Off During Workouts

BEHOLD: Footage of Michael Jordan Dunking in High School

BEHOLD: Footage of Michael Jordan Dunking in High School

Spend a Day in the Life With Browns Defensive End Billy Winn

Spend a Day in the Life With Browns Defensive End Billy Winn

WATCH: Steph Curry Drains 77 Straight 3-Pointers in Practice

WATCH: Steph Curry Drains 77 Straight 3-Pointers in Practice

WATCH: Kyrie Irving Runs the Floor in High School

WATCH: Kyrie Irving Runs the Floor in High School

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

Who the Heck Is Grayson Allen?

Who the Heck Is Grayson Allen?

7 Insanely Drastic MLB Body Transformations

7 Insanely Drastic MLB Body Transformations

Cleveland Browns Release New Uniforms

Cleveland Browns Release New Uniforms

WATCH: John Cena Benches 440 Pounds

WATCH: John Cena Benches 440 Pounds

The Best Vines of the 2015 NBA Finals

The Best Vines of the 2015 NBA Finals

WATCH: The Rock Drags an Airplane with a Toddler

WATCH: The Rock Drags an Airplane with a Toddler

The 7 Most Epic Smack Talk Fails in Sports History

The 7 Most Epic Smack Talk Fails in Sports History

YardBarker