When I posted the midseason awards a few months ago, Daryl Washington ran away with the polls. At the moment it was completely justified based on his production the lack of by the other rookies. This time around the race may not be as one-sided. The rookie class played admirably better through the second portion of the season.
The Cardinals completed one of the better drafts in the league last April when they stole Dan Williams and Washington in the first and second rounds. They didn't quit when they drafted Andre Roberts, O'Brien Schofield, and John Skelton in the later rounds. Here are the nominees for rookie of the year:
|2010 - Dan Williams||13||0||0||0||0||0||27||11||38|
Dan Williams(1st Round) - It took half a season but when Williams cracked the code he displayed the abilities that made the Cardinals draft him in the first round. He boasted a low center of gravity and uncanny speed during college that he applied to the NFL once he got the game down. During the second half of the season Williams played extremely well and was part of the reason opposing rushers only topped 100 yards three times in eight games.
|2010 - Daryl Washington||14||1||8||1||39||0||67||11||78|
Daryl Washington(2nd Round) - It's fascinating that a rookie linebacker coming out of the second round could rank fifth on the team with 78 total tackles while playing as well as Washington did. It helped that veteran Gerald Hayes landed on the PUP list for the first half of the season. That's not saying Washington started by default however. He impressed the fans and the coaching staff with his football smarts and speed in the offseason before winning the job. With a full year now under his belt, it's clear to give this man the starting nod next season.
|Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
Andre Roberts(3rd Round) - Roberts didn't begin the season like fans had hoped, as he struggled through camp and couldn't handle punt-return responsibilities. But like Williams, Roberts stepped into a bigger role when Steve Breaston and Early Doucet missed time at wide receiver later in the year. In that place he caught 20 passes for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half of the year. In the previous eight games Roberts recorded just 4 catches for 49 yards. With a lack of clarity at receiver next season, Roberts potential gives the Cardinals front office something to work with.
If you feel anyone should be added, just leave a comment listing who and why.