As I stated in my prediction of postseason awards, I believe veteran corner Brent Grimes and rookie corner Will Davis will both make big splashes on the defense in 2013.
When you stack up Will Davis' accomplishments next to those of the more heralded third overall pick Dion Jordan, I believe Davis will get the nod for rookie of the year. Additionally, when you stack up Brent Grimes' accomplishments next to those of new acquisitions like Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe and Phil Wheeler, I believe Grimes will be renowned as the team's newcomer of the year.
All in all, I see the defense increasing its number of interceptions in 2013 compared to the low number in 2012.
I do not expect rookie Dion Jordan to crack into double-digit sacks during the 2013 season. As a part-time pass-rush specialist who may miss parts of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, I believe 8.0 sacks is a more reasonable expectation.
On the other hand, I expect Cameron Wake to be as productive as ever, and I also expect defensive tackles Randy Starks and Jared Odrick to be active in sacking the quarterback.
Given defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle's blitzing tendencies, I would not be surprised to see the team's primary linebackers account for about 6.0 sacks. However, I do not expect the unit to be strong in coverage. As such, the only interceptions I have projected to the linebackers go to Phil Wheeler, who will have the most extensive coverage duties.
Cameron Wake: 14.0 sacks
Dion Jordan: 8.0 sacks
Olivier Vernon: 3.0 sacks
Jared Odrick: 5.5 sacks
Randy Starks: 4.5 sacks
Dannell Ellerbe: 1.5 sacks, 120 total tackles, 0 interceptions
Phil Wheeler: 2.5 sacks, 100 total tackles, 2 interceptions
Koa Misi: 2.0 sacks, 65 total tackles, 0 interceptions
Reshad Jones: 110 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2.0 sacks
Chris Clemons: 90 tackles, 1 interception, 0.0 sacks
Brent Grimes: 55 tackles, 5 interceptions, 0.0 sacks
Dimitri Patterson: 40 tackles, 1 interceptions, 0.0 sacks
Nolan Carroll: 60 tackles, 1 interception, 1.0 sacks
Will Davis: 35 tackles, 4 interceptions, 1.0 sacks