Patrick Peterson, Von Miller and Adrian Clayborn vie for 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL draft are stacked with defensive talent. With at least 40 defensive players going in these rounds, there are plenty of options for 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. And with practically all of them seeing the starting lineup in Week 1, this draft class will be one of the most productive in history.
On the defensive side of the ball, the competition is stacked. Since 1990, 19 of the 20 Defensive Rookie of the Year winners have been drafted in the first round. With roughly 20 defensive players projected to go in Round 1, things could get hairy.
Nearly half of all Defensive RotYs have been linebackers. In the last 10 years alone, eight of the players have been linebackers. There hasn’t been a cornerback since Charles Woodson in 1998, and no safety since 1990. But with two fantastic cornerbacks likely going in the top 10, there is a possibility that that streak will be broken.
To view my picks for 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, check out this article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/675955-2011-nfl-draft-cam-newton-aj-green-julio-jones-fight-for-rookie-of-the-year
Without further ado, let's take a look at the candidates for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
105 tackles, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Von Miller is definitely in the running to become the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the year. As the third overall pick, Miller came into the league with lots of expectations after the Bills opted for him over a quarterback to build around. Miller provides a solid force rushing the passer and stopping the run.
With further rookie updates at quarterback, offensive tackle and cornerback, the Bills end up improving on their record, mostly in part due to Miller's presence on defense.
60 tackles, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
Jordan makes a huge push to become RotY thanks in large part to fellow pass rusher Jared Allen. Coming at the quarterback from all sides drives the Vikings to become a more defense-centric team in 2011. With the Vikings opting for a defensive improvement rather than a new QB prospect, the Vikings fail to improve on their record from last year and miss the playoffs.
90 tackles, 6 interceptions, 1 defensive TD
In any other draft, Amukamara would be the first overall cornerback taken, and likely would have gone in the top seven. Falling to Detroit, Amukamara makes a run at giving the Lions two consecutive Rookie of the Year recipients. With Suh and company sealing the inside, Amukamara becomes a shutdown corner from Week 1, much improving Detroit's ability to stay in the game. The 2011 season is where we see glimpses of what the Lions can become in the coming years.
40 tackles, 7 sack, 5 forced fumbles
J.J. Watt provides the Chargers with their best defensive end since Igor Olshansky. He is a force on the outside, constantly in the face of the opposing quarterback, swatting down passes and stripping the ball. Finally going through a year mostly free of injuries, the Chargers become a major threat in the AFC.
122 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INTs
Ayers steps up for the Bucs immediately and leads the team, and all incoming rookies, in tackles for the 2011 campaign. The Buccaneers use the first three rounds of the draft to beef up their front seven, and in doing so become a true threat in the NFC South. Holding it together against a tougher schedule than the one the faced in 2010, Tampa again finishes 10-6 and makes a run at the playoffs.
60 tackles, 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Just look at that picture. Clayborn is undoubtedly the most intimidating player in this draft. The only tackle to make a big enough impact to be considered, Clayborn puts up good numbers for a rookie at his position, but falls short of the mark set last year by fellow DT, Suh. Clayborn's additions to the Saints' defense is a great one, improving their pass rush to numbers similar to their Super Bowl-winning season.
100 tackles, 8 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 defensive TDs
Houston trades up in the draft to get the best rookie cornerback since Charles Woodson. Peterson is an absolute force and provides much-needed coverage to support the Texans. With a healthy offense, solid front seven on defense, and newly found shutdown cornerback, the Texans finally present a legitimate challenge to the Colts in the AFC South.
To view my picks for Offensive Rookie of the Year, visit http://bleacherreport.com/articles/675955-2011-nfl-draft-cam-newton-aj-green-julio-jones-fight-for-rookie-of-the-year. Thanks!