The way I see it, the defensive rookie of the year award will be given to one of two players. Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson or Buffalo's linebacker Kiko Alonso. If you ask Sheldon, the award should be finding its way to New Jersey this season:
"I am the defensive rookie of the year," Richardson told reporters Monday at the New York Jets' "baggy" day. "I don’t have odds. That’s just how I feel. If anyone has an opinion on it, they can state their opinion but that’s just me."
Does he really believe he's the top defensive rookie?
"Most definitely," he said. "Most definitely. That’s not even a question."
Richardson has had a brilliant rookie season, there is no question about that. He has been a disruptive force at the line, he's graded out very well against the run, he's showed a tremendous amount of athleticism for a big man, and his instincts and awareness are second to none. He has really just completed a defensive line that already had a star on it in Mo, and an up and coming grinder like Snacks. He also finished the season with two rushing touchdowns, the first defensive lineman to do that since William Perry did it in 1985, more commonly known as "The Refrigerator". 77 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 12 tackles at or behind the line....that's a tremendous job, and worthy of recognition.
However if I remove my Jets tinted glasses, I wouldn't be able to complain if the award went to Kiko Alonson, who has just had an unbelievable season over in Buffalo. 159 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 5 passes defended and 11 tackles at or behind the line. Now those are some phenomenal numbers for a rookie, and when you watch him, you can see that he just has this ability to recognise and diagnose a play immediately and his acceleration to the ball carrier is fantastic. Comfortable playing at the line or dropping back into coverage.
To summarise, I would absolutely love Sheldon Richardson to win this award, but if it is given to Kiko Alonso, and I happen to think it will, he has most definitely deserved the recognition too.