Our man Matt Williamson, who will be the ringleader for tonight's live chat during the Cowboys-Giants opener, has released his first "Rookie Watch" column of the season. It should come as no surprise that the top two players on it are the two who were picked first in this year's draft. And while it may not come as a surprise, it could irk some Washington Redskins fans to see that Matt has listed them in the order in which they were drafted.
That means Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the No. 2 rookie on Matt's list behind Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, whose preseason did nothing to subdue the high expectations the league had for him. As Matt points out, Griffin's preseason was uneventful, but it also appeared obvious that the Redskins were determined not to show too much of their offensive game plan in preseason games:
Griffin will make his share of errors, like any rookie quarterback, but he will more than make up for it with his extreme playmaking skills.
I buy into the notion that Griffin's situation (specifically, the higher quality of the team around him) puts him in position to have a better rookie season than Luck. But it may be, as Matt writes, that Luck is that special, once-in-a-generation talent who stars from the get-go and makes those around him better. Not that Griffin can't also do that, but there is a reason Luck was the consensus No. 1 pick and Griffin was No. 2. I think it's safe to say we're all looking forward to watching them play real games.
Incidentally, Matt has New York Giants rookie running back David Wilson at No. 7 on his list. I'm holding back on Wilson until we see what, exactly, his role will be in the Giants' offense, though I admit he's got the talent to make an early splash if given the opportunity.
Matt also lists Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks among his honorable mentions. Kendricks is my sleeper pick to be the biggest-impact rookie in the NFC East in the first half of the season. That's largely because a 4-3 outside linebacker doesn't carry the same amount of pressure and responsibility that a starting quarterback does -- not because I don't expect Griffin to play well. I do. I just think he's going to need some time to look as good as everyone believes he eventually will.