NFL’s Top 5 Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates

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NFL’s Top 5 Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates

NFL’s Top 5 Defensive Rookie of the Year Candidates
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NFL Draft has proven to be a strong one. There are a handful of franchise-caliber players that have outstanding potential, and teams are excited and lucky to have them on their roster. A significant amount of these rookies have contributed in huge way and have made critical plays.

These players are deserving of recognition for the work they have put in this season, along with the skill they have displayed on the field. The future is bright for these rookies, as well as many more around the league.

The end of the season is nearing, and that means the hardware will be passed out in just a few weeks. The Defensive Rookie of the year will begin to be a hot topic around the league. There are many players that deserve the award, especially these next five in this presentation.

The last five players to receive the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award are Luke Kuechly (2012), Von Miller (2011), Ndamukong Suh (2010), Brian Cushing (2009), and Jarod Mayo (2008). So, the Defensive Rookie of the Year is no fluke award. All those players have continued to put together terrific seasons. Nine out of the last 10 recipients were linebackers. All indications point to that particular trend continuing.

By the way, the names of the rookies this year are insane. Barkevious Mingo, Ezikel Ansah, Kiko Alonso, Star Lotulelei, to name a few. I mean, what gives? Why do these names have to be so challenging to spell and pronounce? Give us a break! Anyway, the weird names, by no means, take away from the talent these players possess. It’s hard to pick five, for there is many more who deserve to be considered.

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5. Alec Ogletree-St. Louis Rams

Ogletree
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Alec Ogletree has had his inconsistencies this season. He started off strong, and then fell off the map a bit after a 98-touchdown interception return. However, in the last few weeks, Ogletree has shown he belongs in this league. The last three games he has 30 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and stuffs. He is also third in tackles and has the most forced fumbles among rookies.

Stat Line: 94 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 4 forced fumbles

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4. Ezekiel Ansah-Detroit Lions

Ziggy
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The current sack leader among rookies, Ezekiel Ansah is a freak athlete. He puts quite a bit of pressure on the quarterback and has an extremely high motor. His speed and athleticism makes up for his size. The kid hits hard too. Ziggy has a bright future as a pass-rusher in this league.

Stat Line: 27 tackles, 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

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3. Star Lotulelei-Carolina Panthers

Star
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Star has been a major reason the Panthers have been so steady defensively. On first and second down, the Panthers five up an average of 3.4 yards per rush with Star in the game. Without his freakish body on the field, Carolina gives up 4.7 yards per rush. He’s a true and effective run stuffer, and he clogs up the middle with many double-teams. To put it simply, he’s a tank. He’s similar to Vince Wilfork. Their statistics fail reveal their importance to a defense.

State Line: 36 tackles, 2 sacks

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2. Sheldon Richardson-New York Jets

Sheldon Richardson
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Sheldon Richardson has led the Jets to the best rushing defense in the league. New York gives up a mere 4.3 yards per rush. Richardson has shown he can stuff the run, as well as get after the quarterback. He has proven to be an excellent pick for the Jets. He is very close to winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, but will fall short.

Stat Line: 66 Tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

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1. Kiko Alonso-Buffalo Bills

Kiko
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Kiko may very well run away with the hardware in 2013. The linebacker leads all rookies in tackles and interceptions. Also, his tackles rank second in the whole NFL. He has great anticipation and recognition, and his combination of speed and strength makes him effective as a defensive back. He stuffs the run behind the line, defends the pass, and makes critical tackles in the open field. Kiko, as of now, deserves the honor of Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Stat Line: 131 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble


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