Breaking Down the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates by Position

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Breaking Down the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates by Position
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

In our previous installment, we broke down some of the players who are sure to be in the spotlight for Offensive Rookie of the Year. This time, we turn our attention to the defensive side of the football.

This is where things get a little more complicated. A huge number of rookies are poised to start and contribute right out of the box. This is a testament to just how better prepared college defensive players are coming out of school.

Of course, when it comes to rookies and playing time, it is all about opportunities. It is rare for a team to pencil in a rookie starter prior to training camp, but it does happen. In most cases, training camp and preseason are when rookies climb up the depth chart and earn those spots.

In other cases, it’s about being opportunistic. If a veteran goes down with an injury, a rookie can find be thrust into a starting role in a hurry. Either way, look for a dozen or more rookies to play huge minutes in 2014.

Who is your favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year? Let’s break them down by position and see who the contenders are, along with a few sleeper picks.

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