As I read through the various Internet sites and NFL blogs, when they talk about the postseason awards, they
invariably talk about Sam Bradford of the Rams and how he should be the offensive rookie of the year (ROY). While I concede that he has had a great year for a rookie quarterback, I don’t think he has the award wrapped up. I think Mike Williams of the Buccaneers is having just as good of year, if not better, and should be considered just as highly for the award.
Most writers consider a number of objective and subjective criteria for determining whom their vote should go to. They will consider overall stats, contribution to the team, success of the team, and how they compare to other players at their position in the league. Given all of these things, let’s compare Bradford and Williams. Keep in mind that there are multiple receivers per team and typically only one quarterback on the field in regards to the NFL ranks.
Passer Rating: Bradford is 27th in the league at 75.9. He is behind such NFL stalwarts and all-stars such as Alex Smith (49ers), Shaun Hill (Lions) and Chad Henne (Dolphins). He is even behind Donovan McNabb (Redskins) and Kyle Orton (Broncos), who have both been benched this year.
Receptions: Williams 58 (25st in the league). He is ahead of celebrated receivers like Mike Wallace and Hines Ward (Pittsburgh) and DeShaun Jackson (Eagles)
Yards Per Pass/Reception: Bradford is averaging 5.9 yards per completion (31st in the league) which is only half a yard better than Jimmy Clausen(Panthers), who has had a very forgettable year as a rookie. Williams is averaging 15.2 yards per reception, which is 40th in the league, but he is ahead of almost every big name receiver including Calvin Johnson (Lions), Andre Johnson (Texans), Miles Austin (Cowboys), Greg Jennings (Packers), etc. In fact, if you eliminate anyone with under 20 receptions, Williams jumps 23rd in the league.
Yards: Bradford 3,065 (13th in the league); Williams 880 (17th in the league). Both are in the top 20 in yardage in the league and this is one of Bradford‘s most impressive stats. If he wins the award it will be largely due to this stat and the fact that the Rams are still in playoff contention. Williams, though is competing against multiple receivers from each team, and draws the opposing teams best coverage man.
Yards Per Game: Bradford 218 (23rd in the league); Williams 62.9 (23rd in the league). Both are very impressive, but once again, Williams is competing against multiple receivers on each team.
Touchdowns: Bradford 17 (18th in the league); Williams 8 ( 9th in the league). This is where Williams has excelled, and he is tied with Roddy White (Falcons) in this category. Bradford’s number and rank are not bad, but it is not as impressive as Williams here, as his total is almost half of the Bucs receiving touchdowns.
Turnovers: Bradford 15 (9th MOST interceptions in the league and 1 fumble); Williams 2 lost fumbles, and no receiver in the league has most than three. Both players have had forgettable years when it comes to this category, and it is hard to say one player is doing better than the other here, but this looks worse for Bradford.
Team Wins: Bradford 6; Williams 8
Improvement from last year: Bradford 5 wins; Williams 5 wins. A dead heat, as both teams have improved significantly from last year.
So, if you look at the two candidates and their stats for the year, it is likely a closer competition than most sportswriters think. People will argue that quarterback is a much tougher position to learn, but it is well documented that rookie receivers often have trouble adjusting to the pro game in their first year. In addition, Bradford has had a pretty good rushing attack with Steven Jackson all year. Williams’ year started with what every expert considered the worst receiving corps in all of football.
Finally, I don’t want to leave Maurkice Pauncey (Center – Steelers) out of the argument, but the only stat he has on NFL.com is games started and offensive linement do not get a tremendous amount of attention in these awards, but he may be just as deserving of the award. If I had one, my vote would go to Williams, but then again, I write for a Bucs site.