In the modern-day NFL, we watch a game that has been all but overtaken by high-flying theatrics and octane-fueled offenses. When teams like the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers are putting up 30-plus PPG, defenses tend to become forgotten.
Given all the hoopla over the performances of offensive rookies Cam Newton, A.J Green and Andy Dalton, and the race for Rookie of the Year on their side of the ball, the battle for Defensive Rookie of the Year has been a much quieter affair.
Maybe it is because defenders can't throw for 400 yards per game, or make a game-winning 75-yard touchdown catch, but the lack of attention paid to defensive rookies in light of offensive statistics is a shame.
Many of the races for other 2011 accolades like the MVP and Offensive Rookie have much more clear-cut endings, even with five weeks to go. The race for Defensive Rookie could go down to the last snap, and that makes it all the more interesting.
Here are five defensive rookies whose contributions to their respective teams have them on the watch list for Rookie of the Year.