NFC East awards: Odell Beckham, rookie of the year

NFL Nation reporters from the NFC East -- Phil Sheridan, Dan Graziano, John Keim and Todd Archer -- have crunched the numbers, run through the analysis, doublechecked their notes and gone with some gut feelings.

This week, they are offering up their NFC East Awards.

Tuesday, they offer up the division’s Rookie of the Year.

As with the Coach of the Year, the winner was unanimous: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

There were only two real candidates: Beckham and Dallas Cowboys guard Zack Martin. Martin received all four second-place votes. Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens received two third-place votes, as did Philadelphia Eagles kicker Cody Parkey.

Beckham’s season was nothing short of sensational and he missed four games with a hamstring injury. He finished with 91 catches, including one amazing one-handed, falling down touchdown grab against the Cowboys, for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns.

All of those numbers were New York rookie records. He had at least 90 yards in nine straight games, tying the NFL record held by Cowboys Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin. His 91 catches were the second most in NFL history for a rookie. Anquan Boldin had 101 receptions in 2003 for the Arizona Cardinals in 2003.

Here is why they voted the way they did:

Phil Sheridan: Beckham was not in the same contest as the other rookies here. He was a phenomenon. It’s honestly hard to imagine a rookie coming into the NFL and doing what Beckham did in 2014. Plus he was just plain fun to watch. Martin and Parkey went to the Pro Bowl, which was nice. Beckham went into low-earth orbit. It should be fun to have him around for two games every year.

Todd Archer: The football guy in me wanted to Zack Martin. He helped change the Cowboys’ style of play, giving the coaches more confidence to stick with the run. But how can you ignore what Beckham did in just 12 games? It goes far beyond the catch he made against the Cowboys. He finished with 91 catches, 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s more catches, almost as many yards and four fewer touchdowns than Dez Bryant, and he did it in 12 games. And now the Cowboys have to figure out how to defend him for years to come

Dan Graziano: With about a month to go, I thought this was neck and neck between Beckham and Martin (kind of funny, since that was the decision the Giants ended up making with the No. 12 pick in the draft). But while Martin had a year worthy of this award and the leaguewide one, Beckham put it away with a December beyond anyone’s imagination. He simply never let up, averaging 11 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns in his final four games to make this a no-brainer.

John Keim: This was a tougher decision than you would think because of the season Martin had at guard. But Beckham became not only a top rookie but a fantastic playmaker at a position that usually does not see rookie seasons like he had. I love Martin and he was my choice midway through the year, but Beckham put himself in a different category.