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PFT’s defensive rookie of the year

Richardson Getty Images

Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson recently declared himself to be the defensive rookie of the year.

We’re not inclined to tell him he’s wrong.  And so Richardson is the 2013 PFT defensive rookie of the year.

Drafted with the first-round pick acquired from the Buccaneers for Darrelle Revis, Richardson has emerged as one of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL.  Richardson started 15 games, appeared in all sixteen, and notched 3.5 quarterback sacks.

He also pulled a Refrigerator Perry, carrying the ball enough times this season to create a Jerome Bettis late-career single-game stat line:  four attempts, four yards, two touchdowns.

The other finalists were Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso, who started 16 games, made 159 tackles, picked off four passes, and notched two sacks; Panthers defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, who started 16 games and helped make a good defense in Carolina even better; Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, whose stellar first season was cut short by a torn ACL; Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro, who started 14 games before breaking an ankle; and 49ers safety Eric Reid, who started 16 games and helped the team turn the page on the Dashon Goldson era.

Cast your own ballot below and/or share your views in the comments.

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54 Responses to “PFT’s defensive rookie of the year”
  1. tokyosandblaster says: Jan 1, 2014 10:38 PM

    Are you kidding? Shariff Floyd is clearly the best defensive player drafted in the last ten years! 2nd best is clearly Xavier Rhodes!

    >

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 1, 2014 10:39 PM

    And he has a much more favorable salary rate than Revis in addition to long-term usage upside. I definitely like the young stud rookie over the old man that has no benefit to a team that isn’t remotely in shape to win the Super Bowl. Gee I wonder if that had something to do with Dominik getting fired? That or the rest of his entire career of failed decisions finally getting under the skin of the owner.

  3. buffalowned says: Jan 1, 2014 10:41 PM

    It’s Kiko Alonso. End of story

  4. lionsplayoffs says: Jan 1, 2014 10:41 PM

    Ansah not even a finalist?

  5. jacksonjames4 says: Jan 1, 2014 10:42 PM

    Kiko Alonso is a no brainer

  6. theboondoggles says: Jan 1, 2014 10:43 PM

    But seriously, no Ziggy Andah?

  7. theboondoggles says: Jan 1, 2014 10:44 PM

    Or Ansah?

  8. joemac1114 says: Jan 1, 2014 10:44 PM

    Kiko Alonso had an insane year for a rookie.

  9. rjkilla says: Jan 1, 2014 10:45 PM

    i went with star. simply because stats aren’t everything in football. star made it possible for the panthers D to make a huge leap to a top 2-3 defense.

  10. daltongang1 says: Jan 1, 2014 10:45 PM

    Kiki Alonso by far… Not a Bills fan but that guy is epic

  11. cursedvikings1998 says: Jan 1, 2014 10:45 PM

    Kenny Vaccaro will soon be considered the best safety in the entire league.

  12. aaronvel says: Jan 1, 2014 10:46 PM

    Ziggy Ansah – 8 sacks, 2FF

  13. discosucs2005 says: Jan 1, 2014 10:50 PM

    As a Niner fan, Richardson would be my pick (followed by Reid because of bias lol)

  14. deezenucks says: Jan 1, 2014 10:53 PM

    Not a bills fan but Kiko was a beast this year. 159 tackles and some of his interceptions were just dirty, he woulda been my vote.

  15. finfan4life says: Jan 1, 2014 10:54 PM

    Paul Worrilow looked pretty good and instinctive as the new middle linebacker for the falcons once he got the starting nod. Had the falcons not been so bad this year he would have gotten more attention.

  16. honolulubluekoolaid says: Jan 1, 2014 10:54 PM

    What about Ziggy Ansah? Led rookies in Sacks most of the year, even with missing a couple of games. At least a mention would be fitting.

  17. hyzers says: Jan 1, 2014 10:56 PM

    How does Ziggy Ansah not get a mention? Lead all rookies in sacks with 8 despite missing two games. At least worth a consideration, no?

  18. MostlyRight says: Jan 1, 2014 11:02 PM

    Kiko, but I have to give props to the Honey Badger for proving me and many others wrong. Hope he heals well, guy is a blast to watch. I can’t believe the instincts this kid has.

  19. slick50ks says: Jan 1, 2014 11:07 PM

    It’s Alonzo, and it’s really not that close.

  20. rationalitybias says: Jan 1, 2014 11:07 PM

    Kiko Alonso. No one even said a word when he had 22 tackles against the Bengals.

  21. bubbajon46 says: Jan 1, 2014 11:08 PM

    How is Ziggy Ansah not on the list when he led all rookies in sacks?

  22. burnzy32 says: Jan 1, 2014 11:09 PM

    Wow Ziggy and his NINE sacks and fumble recoveries and INT and TD doesn’t even make the options list, oh AND he missed a few games

  23. ziggystheansah says: Jan 1, 2014 11:14 PM

    Ziggy Ansah leads ALL rookies with 8 sacks despite missing 2 games. Also has 2 forced fumbles. Not even a mention.

  24. dlk47823 says: Jan 1, 2014 11:16 PM

    You are correct.

  25. riverace19 says: Jan 1, 2014 11:17 PM

    Alec Ogletree deserves to be on this list. 94 tackles, 6 FF, 1.5 sacks, an INT and a 98 yard TD is pretty good.

  26. riverace19 says: Jan 1, 2014 11:24 PM

    That’s 94 solo tackles and 23 assists for 117 total

  27. oldschoolnflman says: Jan 1, 2014 11:24 PM

    Sheldon is a great pick for DPOY. Will he continue to progress or pull a K. Bell (if you get that reference awesome!)? I was not a big fan ofthe honey badger coming out of LSU. Thought he was another overrated d back coming from a stacked school with a great front seven. Wish he recovers from the torn acl to come back full strength! I know kiko fans are disappointed, another good looking rookie. Bout time we had some more young defensive studs in the league again!

  28. eslaught says: Jan 1, 2014 11:28 PM

    Rushing TDs count as offense. Alonso has 4 more INTs, over 100 more tackles, and only 1.5 sacks less. I’m not a Bills fan, but Alonso is clearly the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

  29. mizzouram says: Jan 1, 2014 11:45 PM

    First you snub Zac Stacy, then you don’t even mention Alec Ogletree. Rams get no respect…

  30. meatcarroll says: Jan 1, 2014 11:59 PM

    Niners fan here but even I would give it to Star Lotrololol

  31. obxraider says: Jan 2, 2014 12:08 AM

    He may not be the winner, I think he is, but how could you not even nominate Alec Ogletree for DROY. He has nearly 100 solo stops and 6 forced fumbles.

  32. lasher1650 says: Jan 2, 2014 12:22 AM

    How is Alec Ogletree not in this conversation? Lead a good Rams defense in tackles, had 6 forced fumbles and a 98 yard interception return to boot.

  33. slaugin says: Jan 2, 2014 12:26 AM

    Logan Ryan should be on the list

  34. supremekingz says: Jan 2, 2014 12:38 AM

    Eric Reid, concussions and all. Made me completely forget Dashin Goldson. I think he has better coverage too

  35. jconnolly226 says: Jan 2, 2014 12:41 AM

    Eric Reid should be DROY, he was consistent throughout each and every game for the 49ers.

  36. razielsanchez56 says: Jan 2, 2014 12:53 AM

    Kenny vacaro for sure!!!

  37. ramfanaz says: Jan 2, 2014 12:57 AM

    No love for Ogeltree? He had a great year!

  38. richhomietae says: Jan 2, 2014 1:17 AM

    I think Alec Ogletree should get some consideration. 117 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 1 defensive touchdown

  39. hpeters77 says: Jan 2, 2014 1:32 AM

    Kenny v was great

  40. lanham4eve says: Jan 2, 2014 1:50 AM

    Kiko Alonso also played every defensive snap, was the signal caller for the defense and was responsible for on the field adjustments of the defense. This might not be statistically important but in deciding DROY these are very important factors

  41. EJ says: Jan 2, 2014 2:13 AM

    There was no better Rookie than Kiko Alonso Offense or Defense…PERIOD.

  42. superpats90 says: Jan 2, 2014 2:40 AM

    Where’s CB Logan Ryan?? He leads all NFL rookies in interceptions and has less than 16 starts… ijs

  43. rrthomasxyz says: Jan 2, 2014 3:57 AM

    Christine Michael of the Seahawk is the best rookie nobody has heard of. Seattle is stacked at running back and Christine is 3rd in line but he is a wiggler with a great upside. You’ll here from him a couple of years.

  44. socalcpa7 says: Jan 2, 2014 5:59 AM

    How does Ziggy Ansah from the Lions not make this list? I believe he had the most sacks of any rookie (8).

  45. truths4all says: Jan 2, 2014 6:12 AM

    Alonso and Mathieu were far superior to Richardson in what they produced on the field and what they meant to their teams.

    The selection of Richardson (only 3.5 sacks on a BAD team?) is just another example of those narrow-minded, NE coast biased, parochially impaired assessments blindly produced without fail by the intellectually stunted East coast media who additively self-strokes themselves by their manic perpetuation of their minute worldview and slavishly narcissistic fantasies of sophistication, insight, wisdom, and self-importance.

    What’s next? Rex Ryan for the Nobel prize? Well, stranger things have happened there. Remember that the East Coast media thought it was wonderful when their messiah got it from the Nobel group who awarded it for a great PR advertising/snow job done on an increasingly feeble minded populace.

  46. kingpel says: Jan 2, 2014 6:40 AM

    Alec Ogletree with St. Louis.

  47. kissmyconverse says: Jan 2, 2014 6:52 AM

    Richardson wasn’t even the best rookie DT this year (Star). I’m not a Bills fan but you’re crazy if Kiko isn’t your pick.

  48. eroschmidt says: Jan 2, 2014 9:42 AM

    The poll above will show you the truth – Kiko Alonso was hands down the best rookie this year.

  49. topcommenter says: Jan 2, 2014 2:16 PM

    The Dolphins had the 3rd pick and had a star LT at their reach. Despite their HUGE need for LT, they preferred to go with Dion Jordan (a defensive end, having already Cam Wake and Olivier Vernon, with decent depth with Derrick Shelby).

    They apparently saw something REALLY special with this first defensive rookie taken in the draft. He ended up with 26 tackles and TWO sacks (nowhere near this list) while the team suffered the whole season for having the WORST offensive line in Dolphins history. They also passed on Brandon Albert. Then they lost several games (and were kept out of the playoffs) due to that shameful offensive line.

    If this doesn’t get Ireland fired, then I guess nothing will.

  50. nofaceangler718 says: Jan 2, 2014 5:28 PM

    As a Jets fan, I gotta go with my boy Sheldon. He was the main reason Calvin Pace had 10 sacks this year instead of the like 4 he had every season since he got here. Richardson collapses the pocket and flushes the QB outside where he was eaten by LBs and DEs who stayed in their lanes. He also chases down every play and ofetn makes plays 20 yards down the field or far outside the hash marks.
    I also watched 3-5 Bills games, and though their guy is a solid blue collar player, its not like he is a difference maker. He is one of those LBs who are in on tackling the RB every time they rush for anywhere from -1 to 8 yards. His is like that year James Farrior led the league in tackles for my Jets with 140+ and I couldn’t remember him ever making a single tackle.
    Ansah on the other hand is another monster. I saw 4 Lions games and that guy made several fantastic plays in each game.

  51. turfrage says: Jan 2, 2014 11:03 PM

    Definitely Alec Ogletree with STL Rams.

  52. stephenalve1 says: Jan 3, 2014 9:18 AM

    Richardson has helped turn around a run defense that was uncharacteristically generous in 2012. The Jets allowed 4.3 yards per rush and 1.7 yards after contact per rush. This year, they are allowing 3.1 yards per rush (best in NFL) and 1.2 yards after contact per rush.

    Richardson has 65 tackles on defense this season, 20 more than the next closest rookie defensive lineman and one more than 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Twenty-seven of those tackles were for a loss or no gain. Only Watt has more, with 31.

  53. flakeybiscuits says: Jan 4, 2014 10:55 AM

    kiko. hands down

  54. bcgreg says: Jan 4, 2014 12:03 PM

    Logan Ryan., Patriots.

    There are rookies who were drafted outside the 1st round, PFT. (Yes, I know Mathieu was one of them, but you could only come up with one?)

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