Alfred Morris had most underrated rookie season in NFL history
He’s played 16 games for 16 starts. He’s rushed for 1,613 yards and has 13 touchdowns with an average of 4.8 yards per carry as a rookie.
You may have heard of him – his name is Alfred Morris.
Situated in the Washington Redskins backfield, running back Alfred Morris has been overlooked by all analysts as a contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
In this quarterback driven league, Morris is parked a long way behind his own quarterback Robert Griffin III and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Most pundits then have Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson locked in for third.
All three rookie quarterback’s led their teams to the playoffs.
Morris has been just as integral to the Redskins offense as Griffin, whom Morris is frequently asked to block for as part of Redskins offense which sees Griffin often running with the ball. With Morris as a blocker, Griffin has amassed 815 yard by foot for seven touchdowns.
Morris’ 1,613 rushing yards during the regular season leaves him second on the season rushing chart behind seasoned Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson who trailblazed the season with a near record-setting 2,097 yards.
Beattie Feathers (1934, 1,003 yards), Jim Brown (1957, 942 yards), Earl Campbell (1978, 1450 yards), George Rogers (1981, 1,674 yards), Eric Dickerson (1983, 1,808 yards) and Edgerrin James (1999, 1,553 yards) are the only players in history to win the NFL rushing title in their rookie seasons.
Brown, Campbell and Dickerson are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and James is likely to join them in the future.
Adrian Peterson’s rookie season in 2007 has widely been regarded as the best by a rookie in recent years when he ran for 1,341 yards for 12 touchdowns and receiving 268 yards for another. It was enough to be awarded the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and a trip to the Pro Bowl where he was named MVP.
Alfred Morris was not even rewarded with a trip to the Pro Bowl. Not even on the bench, despite rushing for more yardage and touchdowns than Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore who claimed the two bench spots behind Peterson on the NFC team.
Selected in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft with pick 173 by the Redskins, little-to-nothing was expected of Morris.
Drafted out of a relatively weak football school – Florida Atlantic, an impressive preseason saw Morris emerge as the unlikely starter for week one.
All eyes were on prized recruit Robert Griffin III who has taken all the limelight from Morris’ freakishly impressive rookie season.
On seven occasions, Morris ran for more then 100 yards which culminated in a dominant week 17 performance where he produced 200 rushing yards for three touchdowns. He finished the season averaging 100.8 yards per game. Only George Rogers (104.6) and Eric Dickerson (113) had more productive rookie seasons.
Alfred Morris was dealt an awful year to be a rookie. In any other year he would make newspaper headlines as the NFL’s next big thing.