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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Williams among five finalists for 2010 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year

Mike Williams was passed over in the NFL draft until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected the Syracuse receiver in the fourth round.

His rookie season proved he has first-round talent.

Williams is among the five finalists for the 2010 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year. He joins a list of players that includes four first-round draft picks -- Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Browns cornerback Joe Haden, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty and Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Williams led all rookie receivers in receptions (65), yards (964) and touchdowns (11), a club record for the most receiving TDs. He also became the first rookie since Randy Moss in 1998 to have double-digit touchdown catches.

Not among the finalists is running back LeGarrette Blount, who led all rookies in rushing with 1,007 yards after being claimed off waivers from Tennessee.

Williams and Blount became the first teammates to lead all rookies in rushing and receiving since the Bengals Bob Trumpy and Paul Robinson in 1968.

Clearly, Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick who led the Rams to the brink of the post-season, and Suh, who led all defensive tackles with 10 sacks, are the frontrunners for the award. But there's no denying Williams' impact on the Bucs going from 3-13 to 10-6.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Williams among five finalists for 2010 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year 01/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 1:15pm]
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