The Washington Redskins mortgaged their future last year to trade up and take Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall draft pick. Despite the hype, few could have anticipated that Griffin would provide such an immediate dividend.
The Redskins closed the season with seven consecutive wins to claim the NFC East title and secure their first playoff berth since 2007. Yet, when Washington takes the field to host the Seattle Seahawks this afternoon in the wild-card round, there is debate in some circles as to whether Griffin will even be the best rookie quarterback on the field.
Unheralded third-round selection Russell Wilson has played brilliantly in piloting the Seahawks to five straight wins to set up the second postseason matchup in league history — and the second in as many years — featuring rookie starting QBs.
As befitting his draft status, Griffin received more hype due to his all-around skills, but Wilson closed with a rush and threw more touchdown passes (26 to 20) than his counterpart. One stat which illustrates the success of both players: Griffin and Wilson finished third and fourth in passer rating at 102.4 and 100.0, respectively,
“I don’t play against quarterbacks. It’s not my job to compare us,” Griffin told reporters this week. “You guys will do that. ... I hope you guys have fun.”
Griffin set a rookie record with 815 rushing yards, but is still dealing with a sprained knee ligament that caused him to sit out a game and limited his mobility in season-ending wins over Philadelphia and Dallas.
Like Wilson who has Marshawn Lynch, Griffin has a hard-charging running back to lean on in fellow rookie Alfred Morris, a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic. Morris finished second in the league with 1,613 yards and capped off the regular season by running over the Cowboys for 200 yards and three touchdowns.