NPC End of Year Awards: Defensive Rookie of the Year
I really don’t feel like waiting until the Super Bowl before we hear about who is MVP of the league and all the other seasonal awards that go along with it. So, I figured it would be fun if we heard from you, the readers, to vote on your own. Each day for the next week, I will post a different category. When it’s all said and done, I’ll post the results for you to see who the winners are. In true Steeler tradition, we’ll start on the defensive side of the ball, rookie style.
1) Von Miller, LB Broncos – 11.5 sacks and 64 tackels. Miller was a surprising leader of the Broncos defense this year. Even though these awards are typically meant for regular season stats and performance, Miller did prove he could perform on the big stage of a playoff game by getting a sack on Ben Roethlisberger and a few tackles during wild card weekend. Miller aided the rest of the defense in allowing the Broncos to have comeback win after comeback win while playing stellar defense in the 4th quarter.
2) Aldon Smith, LB 49’ers – 14 sacks, 37 tackles, 2 forced fumbles. Smith gets a bit of a bum wrap because the front line of the Niners was so damn good this season. He rarely contended with double teams, but who cares. He took advantage of that and got 14 sacks out of it – his opportunism should be rewarded if at the very least recognized. He got 2.5 sacks against the Steelers… although I wonder how many he would have had were Ben able to run away from a crawling infant that night.
3) Patrick Peterson, CB Cardinals – Probably one of the best performances from a rookie corner in a long time. Peterson accumulated 64 tackles (yeowzers), a sack and two picks. Adding a bit of special teams flavor, Peterson also blocked 2 kicks.
I really couldn’t put any Steelers on this list. Our newly acquired corners were more dime and special teams packages. Heyward was effective when he played on the line, but he was so limited that he never had the chance to eclipse any of the guys listed above. It was a good year for rookie defensemen – probably one of the better ones in a long time – for the Steelers. We may see our guys in the Defensive Player of the Year category in years to come.
Below is the voting block. Have at it. If you feel that there is someone missing from this top three, then vote ‘other’ and put your write in and why down in the comments section – they are certainly welcome.