Who will be next year's Von Miller?
Well, it might just be another rookie linebacker, namely Courtney Upshaw, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of last week's draft, No. 35 overall.
With the potentially devastating Achilles injury to Terrell Suggs, the Ravens not only lose one of their star defenders, but they also become a bit thin at linebacker.
Upshaw, a premier pass-rusher at outside linebacker, was voted a first-team All-American in 2011 (FWAA, Sporting News, SI.com, ESPN.com, Pro Football Weekly) after recording 52 total tackles and 9.5 sacks for the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
Those accolades also earned him first-team All-SEC honors.
Last year, Von Miller stepped in day one for the Denver Broncos and had a stellar rookie campaign with 11.5 sacks and 64 tackles, proving a first-year player can have a major impact. Miller made so much of an impact that he was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and was given a bid to the Pro Bowl.
With a vacancy at linebacker in Baltimore, Upshaw has a huge opportunity to earn a starting spot, and on that vaunted defense he could post some big-time numbers and make a difference.
Suggs, who tore his Achilles tendon playing basketball, could be out of commission into October at the earliest, but will likely miss the entire season, according to reports.
What do you think? Will Upshaw start this season? What kind of an impact could he have? Comment below.
Ryan O'Leary is a writer and researcher for Bleacher Report's Video Production Department with seven years of experience in sports media.
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