Doug Baldwin has been a pleasant surprise for Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, who signed the former Stanford star as an undrafted free agent. Twenty-eight receivers were selected in the 2011 NFL Draft and Baldwin has outperformed almost all of them. That list includes Seahawks teammate Kris Durham, who was taken in the fourth round and had only 3 catches for 30 yards when he was placed on injured reserve with a labrum injury in early November. It also includes early-round selections such as Julio Jones, Greg Little, and Titus Young.
Here's a look at where Baldwin ranks among this year's rookie receivers:
Receptions: 45 (3rd) -- (Leader: AJ Green, 55)
Receiving Yards: 718 (2nd) -- (Green, 891)
Yards/Catch*: 16.0 (9th) -- (Torrey Smith, 18.7)
Yards/Game: 55.2 (3rd) -- (Green ,74.2)
Touchdowns: 3 (T-5th) -- (Green, 7)
20+ Yard Catches: 18 (1st)
40+ Yard Catches: 2 (6th) -- (Green, 6)
1st Downs: 35 (2nd) -- (Green, 36)
1st Down%*: 77.8 (3rd) -- (Vincent Brown, 93.8)
*Among receivers with at least 16 catches.
Green, who was selected No. 4 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, has produced like a first round wide receiver should and could develop into a star, despite what Richard Sherman said after the Seahawks played the Bengals earlier this season. What's more, the former Georgia star has done it with fellow rookie Andy Dalton throwing him the ball.
But what Baldwin has accomplished with Tarvaris Jackson under center isn't any less impressive. Many of the other top rookie WRs taken the draft have established or rising stars for quarterbacks. Jackson is neither. One of Baldwin's best catches of the season came in the final minute of the Seahawks' loss to the Cowboys. The game was already decided, but that didn't keep Baldwin from going all out to make an acrobatic catch against Gerald Sensabaugh. The play epitomizes the way Baldwin has played since Seattle gave him a shot.
Cam Newton is a lock to win the NFL's Rookie of the Year award, but Baldwin should earn a spot on the All-Rookie Team. In addition to his receiving numbers, he's been a force on special teams for Seattle. (He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week today.)
Baldwin is up for NFL Rookie of the Week honors after his punt block and touchdown reception on Monday Night Football. You can vote for him here.