Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Rookie Watch: Bradford, Suh deliver
By Matt Williamson
Sam Bradford has changed the face and perspective of the Rams' franchise. Other offensive rookies might have played their respective positions better than Bradford, but the degree of difficulty and importance of what he has done give Bradford the edge for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Few rookie quarterbacks in history have been able to read and manipulate coverage as well as Bradford. His poise is amazing and his accuracy and ball placement are already among the best in the league. Not only did the Rams have a rookie behind center, but they also were playing with a rookie left tackle, a right tackle with very little experience and a whole slew of receiving options with little pedigree to speak of.
Bradford isn't without blame, but his receivers let him down at Seattle in Week 17. Imagine what Bradford would have done with a more stable and veteran supporting cast. Or, think about what he might do going forward with a young ascending cast that will be tweaked further in the offseason.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
How rare is it that both the first and second overall picks live up to their lofty draft status in their rookie seasons? Well, that is exactly what we have this season.
There are not many rookies like Ndamukong Suh. I consider defensive tackle the most difficult defensive position for a rookie to come in and excel at. But that is exactly what Suh did.
Like nearly every first-year defensive tackle, Suh struggled early on with the run game. But he steadily improved as the season went along in that facet of his game -- and should continue to get much better.
A a pass-rusher, Suh is off the charts. His size, power, movement skills and tenacity are simply outstanding, and he combines those traits to harass quarterbacks and chase down and make plays all over the field. Suh is a force. The Lions are going in the right direction. And now they have their defensive building block in Suh.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.