The NFL recently announced the five finalists for the 2013 Pepsi Next NFL Rookie of the Year award. Fans can vote for one of these five players on www.nfl.com/rookies through Tuesday, January 28.
The finalists are:
Keenan Allen, wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers
Allen started 14 games for San Diego and helped the Chargers to a 9-7 record and a Wild Card berth in the AFC playoffs. He set the team record for the most receiving yards by a rookie in a season (1,046), surpassing John Jefferson’s mark of 1,001 yrads set in 1978. As the Chargers’ leading receiver, he became the first rookie in the NFL since A.J. Green in 2011 to eclipse 1,000 yards. Allen had 71 receptions and tied Eddie Royal for the team lead with eight touchdown catches.
Kiko Alonso, linebacker for the Buffalo Bills
Alonso, a second-round draft pick (46th overall) out of Oregon, played every defensive snap for the Bills this season. He ranked third in the NFL with 159 tackles and finished first in fan voting at the linebacker position for the Pro Bowl. Alonso’s career-high 22 tackles against Cincinnati in Week 6 were the second-most tackles by a player in a single game this season.
Giovani Bernard, running back for the Cincinnati Bengals
Bernard, drafted in the second round (37th overall) out of North Carolina, finished the season with 170 carries for 695 yards and five touchdowns. He was instrumental in helping lead Cincinnati (11-5) to an AFC North division title and a perfect 8-0 record at home. Bernard had 148 yards from scrimmage in the Bengals’ 42-28 victory against Indianapolis in Week 14.
Eddie Lacy, running back for the Green Bay Packers
Lacy, a University of Alabama product who was selected as the 61st overall pick, helped lead the Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) to their third straight division title and fifth consecutive postseason appearance. Lacy finished the season with 284 carries for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, setting franchise rookie records in all three categories. He rushed for a career-high 150 yards on 22 carries in a Week 9 matchup against the division rival Chicago Bears.
Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings
Patterson, selected in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft, set a Vikings record for most kickoff return yards in a season with 1,393 and was selected to the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl as a return specialist. He finished his rookie campaign with 45 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns, adding 158 rushing yards and three scores. He tallied five receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown, and added 111 kick-return yards for the Vikings against Baltimore in Week 14.