Which NFL rookies are going to put up the biggest numbers in 2012? That is my first thought as I try to predict the 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
My second thought: "Let history be your guide."
In the last 12 years, 10 of the DROY's have been linebackers. The reasoning is pretty simple. If you are drafted by pretty weak defensive team and you're a linebacker, that means you're going to have a lot of chances to tackle somebody. If you end your rookie season with a lot of tackles, those stats look good in the eyes of voters.
So my list is going to have a lot of linebackers on it.
It's also worth noting that since 1996, the latest a DROY was drafted was No. 39 (Kendrell Bell, 2001). So while it's not impossible to be the DROY if you are drafted in the third round or later, it's just highly unlikely. Again, the reasoning for this is pretty simple. If you get drafted in the first or second round, there is a very good chance that you're filling a need, and therefore you'll get on the field right away.
So without any further ado, here is my list of the five players most likely to be selected as the 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.