The Associated Press announced Saturday that Broncos linebacker Von Miller is the 50-member panel’s winner of the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Miller won pretty handily over 49ers linebacker/defensive end Aldon Smith. Miller got 39 votes, Smith 11.
The advantage Miller had over Smith was that Denver’s rookie was an every-down player. Miller played strong-side linebacker on most early downs, and flipped to defensive end in the Broncos’ nickel packages. He finished with 64 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
Smith was a designated pass rusher, playing primarily in San Francisco’s sub-packages. Benefiting from attention commanded by hulking defensive linemen Isaac Sopoaga and Justin Smith, Aldon racked up 14 sacks to lead all rookies.