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.
Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.
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!