Casey Hayward and the 6 Best Rookie Defensive Playmakers in the NFL

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Casey Hayward and the 6 Best Rookie Defensive Playmakers in the NFL
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Offensive skill players usually garner most of the attention leading up to and during the NFL draft each year. 2012 was no different, with quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, running back Trent Richardson, left tackle Matt Kalil and wide receiver Justin Blackmon rounding out the top five.

However, a handful of rookie defenders tend to outshine their more celebrated offensive counterparts each year.

In 2011, the league saw the Denver Broncos' Von Miller and the San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith combine for 25.5 sacks to finish first and second as the NFL's Defensive Rookies of the Year.

Though maybe not with the same hype, there are a few rookies this year making a huge impact in the league.

Here are the six best rookie defensive playmakers so far in 2012. 

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