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Rookie race: Wells-Harvin revisited

12/31/2009

Doug from Chicago writes: Hey Mike,Where do you see Beanie in the rookie of the year race? I feel he has a strong shot. Better YPC than Knowshon Moreno, more TDs than Percy Harvin.

Mike Sando: NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert and I had this debate before the season (and before Brett Favre turned the Vikings' receivers into stars, I might add). I took Wells. He took Harvin.

My perception is that Harvin has had the greater impact. But if the stats are close enough for us to revisit that one, maybe I should take another look. Harvin is the more dynamic talent, but Wells will get the ball more frequently. I thought Wells could have been a 1,200-yard rusher this season if Arizona wanted to lean on him more heavily. I still think that could have happened. Tim Hightower stepped up some, however, and Hightower is clearly more reliable on passing downs.

Harvin's role as a kick returner might swing the argument in his favor. He has 2,000 total yards even though migraines have slowed his pace. Tim Brown set the rookie record in 1988 with 2,317 yards. Gale Sayers had 2,272 in 1965. Maurice Jones-Drew had 2,250 in 2006. Those are the top three rookie yardage totals in league history. Harvin is not far behind.

Wells is gaining momentum as the he gets more opportunities late in the season.

This debate is worth revisiting periodically because both seem headed for productive careers.

Rookie watch: Harvin vs. Wells

The chart compares Beanie Wells' production as a runner and receiver with Percy Harvin's production as a runner, receiver and kickoff returner.