And the Nominees Are . . . Voting Begins for 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year

January 16, 2015

2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Beckham Jr Nom

Want to know who got just as excited as Panini America and NFL collectors about NFL rookie performances each week during the 2014 season? Pepsi with its NFL Rookie of the Week initiative. And for the last 17 weeks, Panini America and Pepsi have worked together to promote Pepsi Rookie of the Week voting and Panini America NFL Rookie trading cards.

The payoff for collectors and NFL fans everywhere has been some pretty sweet virtual cards highlighted on NFL.com each week in a special Pepsi Rookie of the Week gallery, across social media platforms and the NFL.com rookies voting page. But now the stakes have been raised. The 17 weekly winners have been whittled down to the five most impressive rookie performers who will now vie for 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year honors.

Vote now for your favorite choice at NFL.com. Fans can vote now through January 29. The 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year award will be recognized in Arizona during the Super Bowl XLIX festivities and online.

The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2014 NFL season. Each week, five nominees were chosen for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner. Those results were used to help determine the 2014 finalists.

In conjunction with the 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week promotion, Panini America produced virtual trading cards of each week’s five nominees and a virtual card for each week’s winner. Now that the season is over, Panini America will produce actual trading cards of all weekly winners and the Rookie of the Year for insertion in a late-season 2014 NFL product. Stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for more information.

Below is a complete list of the 17 weekly winners. After that, we provide a closer look at the 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year contenders.

2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week Winners

Week 1: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
Week 2: Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
Week 3: Kyle Fuller, CB, Chicago Bears
Week 4: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Week 5: Branden Oliver, RB, San Diego Chargers
Week 6: Branden Oliver, RB, San Diego Chargers
Week 7: Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
Week 8: Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
Week 9: Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 10: Chris Borland, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Week 11: Chris Borland, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Week 12: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, New York Giants
Week 13: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Week 14: Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
Week 15: Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants
Week 16: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, New York Giants
Week 17: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, New York Giants

Now, a closer look at the finalists:

Odell Beckham, Jr. (New York Giants)
Beckham, drafted by the Giants as the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State, had 91 catches, 1,305 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games. He finished the season with four consecutive games with at least 130 receiving yards and a touchdown, seven games with more than 100 receiving yards total and nine straight games with 90 or more receiving yards (tying Michael Irvin’s 1995 record). Beckham surpassed Billy Howton (1,231 with Green Bay in 1952) for the most receiving yards in NFL history for a player in his first 12 career games. Beckham’s 1,305 yards were the third-highest total in Giants history, trailing only Victor Cruz’s 1,536 yards in 2011 and Amani Toomer’s 1,343 yards in 2002. Beckham was nominated for 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors seven times, winning the award four times.

Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings)
Bridgewater, a University of Louisville product, was selected 32nd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. He finished the season with the third highest completion percentage for a rookie in NFL history (64.4), behind Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (66.4 in 2004) and Washington’s Robert Griffin III (65.7 in 2012). He ended the season with 2,919 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games. Bridgewater was nominated for 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors four times, winning the award twice.

Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Evans, a rookie from Texas A&M who was drafted in the first round (7th overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft, finished with the second-most receiving yards and fourth-most receptions among rookies in his debut season. He ended the season with 68 receptions for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns – leading the Buccaneers in receiving yards and touchdowns. Evans capped his rookie season with five receptions, 54 yards and a touchdown against the Saints in Week 17 – the touchdown marked a team record. Evans, along with Tampa Bay wide receiver Vincent Jackson, combined for 2,053 receiving yards, the third-most in Buccaneers history. In Week 11, Evans had seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 27-7 win at Washington. At 21 years, 87 days old, Evans is the youngest player in NFL history with a 200-yard receiving game. Evans was nominated for 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors four times.

Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati Bengals)
Drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Hill closed out his rookie season with three consecutive 100-yard games. He reached the 100-yard mark five times total, ending the season with 1,124 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 222 carries. Hill also recorded 215 receiving yards on 27 receptions. Hill was nominated for 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors five times, winning the award once.

Sammy Watkins (Buffalo Bills)
Watkins was the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He finished the year with 982 yards on 65 catches, both Bills rookie records, in addition to six touchdowns. He had more than 100 yards receiving in four games. Watkins was nominated for 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors four times, winning the award three times.

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