Former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner has had a terrific rookie season in a starting role for the Seattle Seahawks. His fellow Aggie Robert Turbin has also found success as a rookie, backing up star running back Marshawn Lynch. But how do they compare against the other notable rookies of the 2012 NFL season? Here's a look at a few of the most prominent.
As the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the former Stanford signal-caller was seen as a surefire star. But he has out-performed scouts' lofty expectations by leading the Colts — a 2-14 team a year ago — to a 10-5 record and a spot in the AFC playoffs. Luck has posted 4,183 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions and has made the Colts' first year without Peyton Manning a memorable one.
The 2011 Heisman winner was the second overall pick of the draft, and he might end up even better than Luck. He's known for his dual-threat athleticism, having racked up 752 rushing yards and six touchdowns. But he's also an excellent passer, with 3,100 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions this season. Among NFL starters, only Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers has a higher QB rating than Griffin this year.
The Bucs don't get as much attention as some NFL teams, but Martin has been an absolute force, tallying 1,312 rushing yards, 454 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns. Tampa Bay won't make the playoffs in 2012, but the former Boise State running back will make the Bucs an offensive threat for years to come.
Wagner and Turbin's fellow rookie teammate started the season slowly, but he had a breakout performance in Week 6 against the Patriots. He threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-23 Seattle win. The Seahawks don't need Wilson to throw that much because of their strong running game and defense, but the former Wisconsin quarterback has been efficient in leading the team to a 10-5 record. Wilson's not a bad runner, either, with 431 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
You'll never see a lineman win a Rookie of the Year award, but given Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's amazing comeback season, some of the credit has to go to Kalil. The former USC Trojan has led the way in opening holes for Peterson and protecting quarterback Christian Ponder. Oh, and through the first 13 games of the 2012 season, Kalil was called for holding exactly once...and that penalty was declined. Not bad.
Griffin gets all the attention on the Redskins, and Martin is more versatile, but Morris might be the best rookie running back. In fact, he's been one of the best backs in the league in 2012, notching 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns while helping the Redskins to the NFC East lead. At only 5-foot-9 and 218 pounds, Morris isn't physically intimidating, but his size hasn't stopped his effective running.
Kuechly doesn't just lead all rookies in tackles. He leads the entire NFL in tackles, with 151. He has also shown a nose for the ball, with eight pass deflections, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Basically, wherever a Panthers opponent has the football, you'll find the former Boston College star.
While Wilson and Seahawks first-rounder Bruce Irvin got the attention on draft day, Wagner has emerged as the leader of Seattle's imposing defense. He is eighth in the NFL in total tackles with 130, and he has added two sacks, seven pass deflections and three interceptions as well. The Seahawks trust the former Aggie so much that he makes the team's on-field defensive play calls.
Browns fans don't have many reasons to celebrate these days, but Richardson's performance is one of them. He has battled injuries throughout the season, so his overall numbers — 950 rushing yards, 367 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns — don't look overwhelming. But when he's healthy, Richardson is a strong, physical back who can break a game open. If the Browns hadn't been trailing in so many games and forced to pass, Richardson could have done more this season.
Turbin hasn't accomplished as much as the other players on this list. That's no slight on him, since he's playing behind Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch, who is second in the NFL in rushing yards. But when the Seahawks have given Turbin chances, the former Aggie has made the most of them. He has 359 rushing yards on 78 carries to go with 19 receptions for 169 yards. And his 4.6 yards-per-carry average is seventh among rookie running backs with more than 50 total carries.