Thursday, January 24, 2013

NFL Award Predictions: Defensive Rookie of the Year

     In our second installment of "NFL Award Predictions", we will discuss those competing for the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Award. In a draft class known for its high flying offensive weapons, many rookie defenders did not gain the recognition they deserved. Luke Kuechly of the Panthers, Janoris Jenkins of the Rams, and Casey Hayward of the Packers all made a legitimate impact on the league; consequently, these three players have legitimate shots at taking home Rookie of the Year.

LB Luke Kuechly: Immediately, Boston College alum Luke Kuechly showed his dominance as a defender while playing for a mediocre Panthers defense. Kuechly led the National Football League in tackles with 164. Tackles are the only statistic that proves the true athleticism of any defender, whether it be their ability to stop the run, or the ability to make quick decisions on where the ball might be headed. Carolina's defense saw several improvements thanks to Keuchly, such as a decrease in points allowed, rushing yards allowed, and passing yards allowed, all relative to Carolina's 2011 season. Luke Kuechly became one of the most decorated linebacker's in college football history, and Defensive Rookie of the Year would add to an already impressive football resume.

CB Janoris Jenkins: Unfortunately for most teams around the NFL, their reluctancy to select Janoris Jenkins in the draft due to character issues cost them one of the most talented cornerbacks from the draft class. Jenkins picked off four passes in 2012, and he successfully returned three for touchdowns. His 73 tackles ranked 11th among rookies, a sensational number for any defender. Though he did not thrive within the "passes defended" category, Jenkins is one of the most athletic cornerbacks in the game, rookie or veteran.

CB Casey Hayward: Out of all the cornerbacks to be selected in Last April's draft, the rookie with the most impressive statistics relating to coverage is awarded to Casey Hayward. Green Bay made the right decision by adding another cornerback to the roster for when veteran Charles Woodson retires. Hayward stepped up to the plate, and boy, did he deliver. 6 interceptions, with a rookie leading 21 passes defended. Statistically speaking, Hayward wins over Janoris Jenkins, but by looking at their overall impact, Jenkins gets the edge over this Green Bay corner back.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Prediction: Luke Kuechly


  1. Casey Hayward, all the way. He's smart, hard working, humble and about to graduate from Vanderbilt. And he is just getting started.

  2. I'm excited to see how Hayward does when Charles Woodson calls it quits. It would be scary if he can develop into a shut down corner like a healthy Darrelle Revis.