Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Lacy is PFWA's top rookie; AP award next?
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It's not the NFL's official award, but Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy was named the league's top rookie Tuesday by the Professional Football Writers of America.
It could be a precursor to Lacy winning the Associated Press award, which the NFL considers its official honor. That will be announced Feb. 1, the eve of the Super Bowl.
Lacy was the PFWA's overall top rookie after rushing for 1,178 yards to lead all rookies and set the Packers' rookie record.
The PFWA also named top rookies on offense (San Diego Chargers receiver Keenan Allen) and defense (Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso).
None of the three players honored by the PFWA was a first-round pick. Lacy was selected in the second round at No. 61 overall, while Allen was a third-round pick (No. 76 overall) and Alonso a second rounder (No. 46 overall).
The AP does not award a top overall rookie but rather splits the award into offensive and defensive rookies of the year, so Allen would appear to be Lacy's top competition for that honor. No Packers player has won the AP offensive rookie of the year award since John Brockington in 1971. Lacy broke Brockington's team rookie rushing record this season.
Lacy was the only Packers rookie honored by the PFWA. Left tackle David Bakhtiari, a fourth-round pick, seemingly was a strong candidate for the all-rookie team, but the tackle spots went to D.J. Fluker of the San Diego Chargers and Justin Pugh of the New York Giants. Both were first-round picks.
Micah Hyde was also bypassed as a punt returner. Tavon Austin of the St. Louis Rams was named to the all-rookie team as a punt returner. Hyde averaged 12.3 yards per return on 24 attempts, which ranked fifth in the NFL, while Austin averaged 8.5 (to rank 16th) on 33 returns. Each had one punt return for a touchdown. Austin was the eighth overall pick in the draft, while Hyde was a fifth-round pick (No. 159 overall).
The complete PFWA rookie honors can be found here.