Arizona Cardinals end of the year awards: Rookie of the year

USA TODAY Sports

We take a look at a few of the rookies for the Arizona Cardinals and decide which one was the best.

Yesterday we examined the offensive player of the year for the Cardinals in our year in review series and it appears that most of you were leaning towards Kevin Kolb, with Larry Fitzgerald trailing not that far behind. Kolb was a big piece to the offense and after he went down, the team crumbled. I think his selection is warranted.

Today, we will look at candidates for rookie of the year. Each one of the players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft saw time on the field for the Cardinals this season, which probably is not a good thing.

I have included four possibilities, omitting Ryan Lindley (because he did not play well enough), Senio Kelemete and Jamell Fleming. See the other options below and vote in the poll. I have included an other option, so if you believe one of the above guys should have been added, go ahead and scream at me. But as a fair warning, if you pick Lindley, prepared to be screamed at by everyone else.

Bobby Massie

As I noted yesterday where Massie was an offensive player of the year candidate, he had a really rough first half of the season. In that time, he allowed 13 sacks and was basically a turnstile at right tackle. But ever since week nine, he allowed zero sacks. It was quite the dramatic turnaround.

But how will his first portion of the season affect your voting? We do have to look at his whole rookie year as his body of work, not just the second half. Still, if he plays the way he did down the stretch, the Cardinals appear to have found their right tackle of the future.

Michael Floyd

The first round pick out of Notre Dame was somewhat disappointing in his rookie season, but we have to wonder how much of that was due to the poor quarterback play. In all, he had 45 catches for 562 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but much of his production, like Massie, came in the latter parts of the season. He appeared to get better as time went on, but many wonder whether or not he was worthy of a first round selection.

I think Floyd will be an integral part of this team moving forward, especially if he can secure the starting spot at wide receiver across from Larry Fitzgerald, forcing Andre Roberts to the slot.

Nate Potter

Potter came in as the starting left tackle during the week nine game against the Packers and if not for an injury in the final week, he probably never would have looked back. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed 7 sacks, 5 hits and 12 hurries in his 282 pass blocking snaps, which are subpar numbers. But what can you expect from a project seventh round pick?

If Potter can gain more weight this summer and build some more muscle mass, I think he could have a shot at securing the starting job once again next season. He didn't play awful, but he was not great. It will be interesting to see if/how he develops.

Justin Bethel

Bethel did not play much in terms of being inserted as a safety or a cornerback (he only saw 13 snaps on defense, according to PFF), but it was his special teams play that allows him to make this list. He and Michael Adams formed a formidable pair of gunners for the Cardinals.

Bethel is lightning fast and incredibly athletic. We did not see the blocked kicks and punts that we saw during the preseason translate to the regular season, but he was still effective. He had 14 total special teams tackles, but he also missed five tackles in that time. Still, I think he was a nice asset for the Cardinals to have.

The winner for me has to be Bobby Massie. I know he was not terrific for the first half of the season, but he really buckled down after the bye, which has me thinking he could be a key piece to this offensive line for a long time.

Now it is time for you to vote in the poll. Also, feel free to leave your comments below.

We invite you to follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and like us on Facebook. Also, follow me on Twitter at @TylerNickelASU.

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