Congratulations are in order, as Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and running back Roy Helu have been named to the Pro Football Weekly/Professional Football Writers of America’s 2011 All-Rookie Team.
This is a high honor, voted on by sports writers around the league for a source considered to be authority on pro football. The pair were voted to the team despite quality competition at their respective positions, and come after worthy efforts in their freshman seasons.
Kerrigan lived up to his first-round status this year, finishing the season tied for fourth in sacks, tenth in tackles, tenth in passes defensed, seventh in interceptions, first in touchdowns, and second in forced fumbles. He took every snap on defense this season, and he was thrice nominated for the NFL Rookie of the Week, taking home the NFL Rookie of the Month in September.
On top of that, he’s a class act and a super hero.
Kerrigan’s ‘Welcome To The NFL Moment’ was in Week 1 against the Giants, when he picked off quarterback Eli Manning on a pass to the flats and ran it back nine yards to the end zone:
Kerrigan was tied for first in the NFL in rookie scoring after Week 1, and did not relinquish his team title until Week 13 when Helu got his second touchdown of the season.
Meanwhile, Helu has a tremendous season on the offensive side of the ball, after starting the season as the change-of-pace back. His success this season was by virtue of his effectiveness when called upon.
In Week 7 against Carolina, starting running back Tim Hightower tore his ACL, ending his season. Third-string back Ryan Torain was given the first opportunity to replace him as the top back, but his ineffectiveness sterilized the Redskins’ offense. Looking for a spark, Helu was promoted to top back in Week 9 against the 49ers and became the catalyst for the offense.
In that game against the 49ers, Helu broke Art Monk’s franchise mark for receptions in a game (14) in his first career start. He continued to develop as the season went on, scoring two touchdowns on the ground, and one through the air in the final week. He battled through injury in the final weeks and nearly chased down Cowboys rookie DeMarco Murray for the rushing title, falling just short.
This was Helu’s ‘Welcome to the NFL Moment,’ as he transformed into the Helu-copter against the Seahawks:
Congratulations to both Redskins players, as they rest and prepare for their sophomore seasons. If this pair of freshman campaigns is an indication of things to come, the Redskins have a lot to look forward to from the 2011 rookie class.
Teammate defensive end Adam Carriker tweeted his congratulations for the duo. Carriker and Helu hail from the same alma mater (Nebraska), and Carriker and Kerrigan both line up on the right side of the defensive line: