Rolando McClain: NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Rolando McClain, if you don't know his name, you will soon know his game. McClain will ignite his NFL career as the starting middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders taking over for the departed Kirk Morrison.
At every level, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound linebacker, has been the best at his position. A Parade All-American in high school, McClain stepped in as a freshman at Alabama and by the end of his junior year, he had won the Butkus Award for the Nation's best linebacker, had brought the Crimson Tide a National Championship, and was on his way to the next level.
Behind a revamped Raiders defensive-line led by Richard Seymour, expect McClain to be the ball-hog that he has been throughout his career.
Projected stats: 115 Tackles, 7 Sacks, 3 Interceptions
Runner-Up: Eric Berry
Coined the "Fifth Dimension," Eric Berry has amazed the 'Football World' since the first time putting on pads as a youth. His high-school career ended with him being named the best high school player in the state of Georgia and he was the top corner-back prospect in America.
Berry's innate ability at the corner-back position has some NFL analysts predicting that he will be an All-Pro very soon. As far as college corner-backs are concerned, Berry was the most gifted player I have seen at the position since Charles Woodson, who ironically won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Projection: 60 Tackles, 6 interceptions, 3 sacks
2nd Runner-Up: Derrick Morgan
Derrick Morgan led the pass-rush for Georgia Tech last year and ended the season with (12.5 sacks) and with the crown of being the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Drafted by the Titans, Morgan's pass-rushing ability is deeply needed in Tennessee so expect him to start from Game 1.
Although, injury-prone Morgan should be able to accumulate near double digit sacks if he can avoid serious injury.
Projected Stats: 50 Tackles, 10 Sacks