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NFL 2014: NFL Rookies Excelled in 2013
2013 continued a strong NFL trend of standout rookie play, with many young contributors on offense, defense and special teams.
Minnesota's Cordarrelle Patterson highlighted the versatility of this year's talented class of first-year players, making an impact as a kick returner and wide receiver for the Vikings.
Patterson became the only player in NFL history -- rookie or veteran -- with four receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and two kickoff-return touchdowns in the same season. He also became the first player in NFL history with a 100-yard kickoff-return touchdown (109 and 105), 75-yard receiving touchdown (79) and 50-yard rushing touchdown (50) in a season. His 109-yard kickoff return touchdown in Week 8 tied the record for the longest play in league history (Antonio Cromartie).
Patterson was among four outstanding rookies to earn a Pro Bowl selection in 2013, along with Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy, Chicago guard Kyle Long and San Francisco safety Eric Reid. Lacy (Offensive) and New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (Defensive) were named the Associated Press Rookies of the Year for the 2013 season.
Here are just a few of the notable accomplishments by the NFL's 2013 rookie class:
Buffalo QB E.J. Manuel posted 11 touchdown passes, the most ever by a Bills rookie (Dennis Shaw, 10 IN 1970). He also had 180 completions, surpassing Shaw (178) for the club rookie record.
In Week 4 against Baltimore, Manuel became the first rookie QB to defeat the defending Super Bowl champions in September.
Oakland QB Matt McGloin made his first career start in Week 11 and became the first undrafted rookie quarterback to throw at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in a single game in the common draft era (since 1967).
New York Jets QB Geno Smith (3,046) passed for the most yards by a rookie in franchise history (Mark Sanchez, 2,444 in 2009). On Kickoff Weekend, Smith and the Jets became the first team since the merger to open the season with a one-point win when starting a rookie QB.
Pittsburgh RB Le'veon Bell (1,259) surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris (1,235 in 1972) for the most scrimmage yards by a Steelers rookie.
Cincinnati RB Giovani Bernard (1,209) became the first Bengals rookie running back to reach 1,000 scrimmage yards since Corey Dillon in 1997 (1,388).
Green Bay RB Eddie Lacy rushed for 1,178 yards, breaking John Brockington's franchise rookie record of 1,105 rushing yards set in 1971. Lacy set a franchise rookie record with 11 rushing touchdowns.
San Diego WR Keenan Allen led NFL rookies with 71 receptions and 1,046 receiving yards, surpassing La Dainian Tomlinson (59 catches in 2001) and John Jefferson (1,001 yards in 1978) for the most receptions and receiving yards by a Chargers rookie.
Houston WR De Andre Hopkins' 52 receptions and 802 receiving yards were the second-most by a rookie in franchise history (Andre Johnson, 66 catches and 976 yards in 2003).
Dallas WR Terrance Williams became the only rookie in franchise history to record a touchdown catch in four consecutive games (Weeks 5-8).
Buffalo LB Kiko Alonso led all AFC linebackers -- rookie or veterans -- in interceptions (four). Alonso recorded all four interceptions in September, tied for the most ever by a linebacker during September in one season (John Anderson, Chuck Howley and Jack Lambert).
New York Jets DE Sheldon Richardson finished with 3.5 sacks and 78 tackles, the fourth-most in the league among all defensive linemen. Richardson also was used in short-yardage offensive situations, becoming the first NFL defensive lineman since William "Refrigerator" Perry in 1985 to rush for two touchdowns in a season.
San Francisco S Eric Reid finished with 77 tackles, the third-most of any 49er behind Pro Bowl teammates Patrick Willis and Na Vorro Bowman. He also added four interceptions.
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