Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was ranked as the 15th best player in the league according to the NFL Top 100 List. The list was voted on by the players and is airing as a countdown on the NFL Network. This makes RGIII as the highest rated rookie ever since the creation of the poll. Griffin fared even better in a corresponding fan poll, ranking 11th overall. Three other Redskins made the list: Alfred Morris (64), London Fletcher (86), and Trent Williams (99).
Many NFL pundits have been critical of the rating, believing that Griffin was placed too high on the list. According to Kurt Warner, “I’m just not high on putting rookies this high. We’re talking about the best players in the National Football League. I believe rookies kind of have to earn their rights. So I believe all of them, as good as they were, should be much, much lower on the list.” Ryan Clark concurred: “Doing it year in and doing it year out, week to week, and we haven’t gotten the opportunity to see RGIII do that.”
These criticisms are misplaced for a number of reasons.
1) Lists like these are completely arbitrary and self-serving. The NFL Network is trying to create buzz for the upcoming season by debating each player and whether they are overrated. This in turn fuels fan discussion and argumentation, gets bloggers riled up to write about it, and further promotes the product.
Oh…Touche, NFL Network.
2) The NFL Top 100 list is supposed to be “based on the performance of the previous season and their belief of how the player will perform in the coming season.” There’s nothing in there about consistency, Mr. Clark. If we are going strictly by last year’s performance, only a handful of quarterbacks can claim to have a comparable season to RG3. Griffin ranks fifth on the list of QBs, only behind Rodgers, Brees, Brady, and Peyton Manning. The numbers support that rating. Maybe you like Luck or Wilson better, but Griffin has the best statistics of the three.
3) Rookies may have to “pay their dues” in the locker room, but apparently Griffin has done that because he was placed this high by current players in the league. RG3 didn’t ask to be rated this highly; players around the league simply respect his abilities. To suggest that Griffin needs to sit back and “earn” a spot on a voted list is nonsense.
Griffin is undoubtedly a top fifteen player in the league. He just completed one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history, and only a knee injury suggests he is not fully poised for a repeat.