Community Tailgate: Who Will Win DROY?

We’re still a few weeks away from the start of regular-season battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. This summer, we launched a new series here at PFR known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

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Yesterday, we asked you to take your pick on who will be this year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. Today, in the interest of equal time, we want to know who you think will be this year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Any list of DROY contenders has to have Jets rookie Leonard Williams near the top. The USC defensive lineman was touted by some as the top talent in this year’s class but thanks in part to the team needs at the top of the draft, the Jets managed to snag him with the No. 6 overall pick. At 6’5″ and 300+ pounds, Williams offers tremendous athleticism for his size and is a proven run stopper. Many wondered exactly where Leonard would fit on the Jets defensive line, which already featured stars like Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson, but Richardson’s suspension and subsequent run-in with the law have opened up a major opportunity for Williams to be an impact player in his rookie year.

Linebacker Vic Beasley, taken at No. 8 by the Falcons, is another strong contender for the award. Beasley has been roundly praised for his agility at the linebacker position and many feel that he’s going to be a menace for opposing quarterbacks right out of the gate. It also helps Beasley’s case that he’ll be under the tutelage of Dan Quinn, who is known for developing tough players in the front seven. For what it’s worth, the Clemson product also looked impressive in his preseason debut.

Outside of those top ten picks, other viable candidates for the trophy include a pair of “red flag” guys in Cowboys linebacker Randy Gregory and Broncos defensive end/linebacker Shane Ray. Without their respective off-the-field issues, both players would have been strong candidates to go inside of the top ten on talent alone. Staying in the front seven, there was great buzz surrounding Kentucky’s Bud Dupree in the months leading up to the draft and he now finds himself with a franchise that is historically known for it’s hard-nosed defense.

A defensive back has not won DROY since Charles Woodson did it in 1998, but early cornerbacks like Marcus Peters (Chiefs) and Trae Waynes (Vikings) could get in the mix if they get opportunities to make big plays.

Who do you think will win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015? Let us know in the comments below!

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12 comments on “Community Tailgate: Who Will Win DROY?

  1. Chad

    Frank Clark Seahawks

  2. Isaiah

    Danny Shelton if he can stay in on third down

  3. Sam Robinson

    History is heavily tilted toward front-seven players here, with Charles Woodson being the last non-DL/LB to win this. I’ll take Beasley.

  4. Sean

    “The wrath of kwon”
    Kwon alexander will win the DROY.
    best schedule for a LB and will be a 3down heard it here first

  5. Joe

    Eli Harold

  6. Rory Parks

    The Steelers have struggled to find a pass rusher in recent years, but I really like Dupree. I don’t know how well Beasley fits in Atlanta’s scheme, and while I think Gregory will ultimately be a good selection, he won’t have the same pass rushing opportunities as Dupree. A double-digit sack total as a rookie is possible, and it will get noticed. And as others have said, it’s tough for a DB to get the vote.

  7. hill

    Watch out for ball-hawking Quentin Rollins of the Packers. With Tramon Williams and Davon House cut free, and 1st rounder D.Randall struggling a bit, Rollins is the #3CB and could actually get to #2 if Casey Heyward can’t handle the move from the slot.

  8. Luke Adams

    I picked Aaron Donald last year based on the fact that I thought he was the best defensive player in that class, even if he wouldn’t necessarily pile up impressive on-paper numbers (sacks, etc.). That prediction worked out okay, so I’ll do the same thing this year and pick Leonard Williams.

    If Williams doesn’t get the necessary playing time after Richardson’s suspension ends, Beasley looks like the next-best bet to me. He should do well in Dan Quinn’s system.

  9. Rob DiRe

    Leonard Williams has to be the front runner, but if we are looking for a player to put up a big sack number I could see Shane Ray getting to the quarterback as a pass rushing specialist for the Broncos.

    For a real sleeper I would look at another Jet though. Todd Bowles loves to blitz (an outside linebacker led the Cardinals in sacks in both seasons as a defensive coordinator in Arizona), and Lorenzo Mauldin has a chance to put up a healthy number of quarterback takedowns.

  10. Dallas Robinson

    I’ll take Gregory. He’s a world-class talent as a rusher, and pairing him with Rod Marinelli can’t hurt. I think he’ll pile up enough counting stats to get the award.

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