It’s absolutely impossible to argue with the recent track of the Carolina Panthers and Rookie of the Year awards.
In 2011 quarterback Cam Newton was the award winner on the offensive side of the football, and the following season, Luke Kuechly took home the hardware on defense.
Carolina’s first-round draft pick this season, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, will make it two defensive ROY winners in a row and a triumvirate of winners for the Panthers in recent memory.
Lotulelei is the prototypical defensive tackle in terms of his size, and he has the versatility to move around on the defensive line to give the Carolina coaching staff opportunities to disguise his looks.
The Panthers had a glaring need in the middle of the defensive line, and Lotulelei will be benefactor of a lot of teams focusing on the pass rush from defensive ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson.
Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons: Opposing offenses are going to pick on former Washington Huskies cornerback Desmond Trufant now that he’s the likely starter in Atlanta and playing opposite of Asante Samuel.
That’s fine. Trufant is going to get schooled every day in practice by the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL (how nice will it be to face Roddy White and Julio Jones every day?).
Quarterback Matt Ryan has already noticed good things from him in just one practice with the team, saying, "He moves pretty well. That was the thing I noticed the most during 1-on-1's.
Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns: Mingo has to be considered on the merits of his name alone, right? Joking aside, Mingo has the rare combination of pass-rushing speed and more-than-competent coverage skills that will make him a force in the league.