While the top two spots go to a receiver and runner, the overall list is, predictably, quarterback-centric. Griffin and Manning both make the list, as does old standby Drew Brees, still the patron Saint of New Orleans since leading the club to a post-Katrina Super Bowl title.
Joining them this year is Seattle’s Russell Wilson, a solid 2012 rookie who nonetheless registers as a bit of a surprise given how much he was overshadowed by other top quarterbacks including Griffin, his fellow rookie from the 2012 draft class. Philpott points out that Wilson probably would have missed the awareness threshold (he wound up sneaking in at 11%) if not for a pair of impressive playoff performances in Washington and Atlanta last January. Beating RG III head-to-head certainly didn’t hurt.
“He comports himself very professionally, he’s got a good story going for himself that seems to be reflected in the numbers,” Philpott says.
With Seattle off to a strong start this year, Wilson may get plenty more chances in this year’s playoffs, perhaps even the Super Bowl. One of those can go a long way. Just ask Fitzgerald, who notched 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his only Super Bowl appearance almost five years ago. People have been paying attention to him ever since.