When the 2012 season kicked off last September all eyes were on a star-studded rookie class looking to translate their college success to the pros.
With Andrew Luck looking to fill the shoes of another Indianapolis quarterback legend, Robert Griffin III revolutionizing what signal caller can do behind center, and Trent Richardson looking to become the next Jim Brown for the Cleveland Browns, everyone wanted to see just how talented the top-three picks in the draft would play in their NFL debut campaigns.
Did anyone outside of our Nation’s Capital (and the Big Easy) flip to the Redskins-Saints game to see Alfred Morris?
Well they had no choice but to watch Morris cap off his amazing rookie season in Week 17 where he saved his best for last—200 yards, three touchdowns, a franchise record and a key to the Redskins bringing home their first division title since 1999 on Sunday Night Football.
Now entering the 2013 season the 173rd overall pick is being compared to the 3rd overall pick for the right to be called the best tailback of the 2012 class.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks analyzed the two halfbacks based on vision, power, explosiveness, big-play ability, and receiving skills to give his thoughts on which is the premier back going into 2013.
Brooks gave the two similar grades on vision as he gave no advantage to either back.
Excuse me while Redskins Nation continues to have recurring visions of Morris’ 13 round trippers.
For power, Brooks gave the edge to No. 46 stating:
Morris is a big, physical runner with the size and strength to blow through defenders in the hole. He runs behinds his pads with a forward lean and frequently buries his shoulders into the chests of defenders attempting to take him on squarely. Although Morris will occasionally avoid a tackler with a nifty move, he is at his best when running like a bull in a china shop between the tackles.
When it came to bursts of explosiveness, Brooks believes that Richardson holds a slight edge of Morris but still gives him credit for his “deceptive” athleticism:
Morris is not an explosive athlete, but he does display sneaky initial quickness and acceleration with the ball in his hands. He combines a decisive running style with an underrated burst that allows him to get to the second level frequently on off-tackle runs.
While Griffin III should certainly give himself a pat on the back for helping transform the Redskins rushing attack into the best in the league on several long rushing plays, Morris’ proclivity for gaining 10 to 15 yards every few plays was just as pivotal in the 2012 version of the Redskins gaining 63 more rushing yards per game than in 2011.
Morris thrived in that capacity last season, posting nine runs of 20 yards or more and converting 83 first downs in 335 rushing attempts. Yes, those numbers were impacted by the influence of the Redskins‘ read-option attack, but Morris’ penchant for big plays also stems from his discipline and ability to consistently find seams in the defense.
Brooks ultimately gives the edge to Richardson and even believes that if he was in Washington, he would have put up better numbers than Morris.
If you go strictly on the two players resume’s after year one, though, all indicators point to the FAU alum as the better back going into year two.
Morris ran for just under 100 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 while Richardson struggled to replicate his fellow 2012 Draft colleague’s success with only 39 yards and zero touchdowns against the Eagles—a team Morris gained over 83 yards per game against.
Morris posted six 100-yard games in 2012 to Richardson’s three, the already talked about 200-yard performance against the Cowboys was 78 yards more than Richardson’s season-high, and when the two played against each other, Morris outperformed Richardson to the tune of 87 yards and two touchdowns to Richardson’s 28 yards and two touchdowns.
Oh yeah and the Redskins won.
Richardson’s 950 yards were good enough to place him 27th all-time on the Browns single season rushing yards list while Morris’ 1,613 yards was the highest total in the 80-year history of the Redskins. That would have placed him second all-time on the Browns rushing yardage list behind Brown too.
So what do you think Morris will do in season two?
Tags: Alfred Morris, Bucky Brooks, Robert Griffin III
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