As the 2010 NFL season creeps closer and closer, I’m going to take a look at some of the rookies that have a chance of shining in the NFL spotlight and earning themselves the coveted defensive rookie of the year award.
1. Eric Berry, Safety, Kansas City Chiefs
Berry could be one of the most gifted defensive players to come into the NFL in years. He is a dynamic player that is all over the field, making plays in the run or in the pass. Berry is fearless in stepping up and making plays on a running back, can cover just about any receiver and is able to lockdown the entire defensive backfield almost single-handedly. The Chiefs were extremely lucky that he fell down to the fifth overall pick in the draft because he was definitely worthy of a top-three pick. WIll be a anchor on the Chiefs defense for years to come.
2. Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle, Detriot Lions
One of the most intriguing specimens to come into the league in a long time, Suh could be a human wrecking ball or a total bust. He looks to be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and offenses in general. He has unnatural strength and an instinct for getting to the ball. The Lions could just have one of the greatest professional football players of all time on their hands.
3. Rolando McClain, Middle Linebacker, Oakland Raiders
After letting go of the disappointment that was Kirk Morrison, the Raiders needed to find their next defensive anchor and made one of their best draft choices in recent years when they picked Rolando McClain. He is a workhorse and rock in the middle of the defense, and could easily rack up 100 tackles before the season is over. Look for him to become a leader for the Raider defense immediately and should prove any doubters of his talent wrong within the first few weeks of the season.
4. Nate Allen, Safety, Philadelphia Eagles
After a year of searching for the replacement for former Eagles-great, safety Brian Dawkins, the Eagles may have finally found the remedy for their woes. Allen is a ball-hawking play-maker who could make an immediate impact for the Eagles secondary. He isn’t the greatest hitter but makes up for the lack of strength with his insane amount of athleticism. He definitely could have been worth a first-round draft pick, so the Eagles were lucky to get such a superior player in the second-round.
5. Earl Thomas, Safety, Seattle Seahawks
Thomas was just what the Seahawks’ defense needed. He has incredible instincts and play-making abilities, and could be a huge different in keeping opposing offenses from creating big plays and putting the Seahawks into tough situations. Could also play as a nickel cornerback if needed. Thomas is a ball-hawk who could make plenty of plays on the ball, racking up interceptions all season long.
Sean Witherspoon, Outside Linebacker, Atlanta Falcons
Joe Haden, Cornerback, Cleveland Browns
Brandon Graham, Defensive End, Philadelphia Eagles
Taylor Mays, Safety, San Francisco 49ers
Sergio Kindle, Outside Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens
My pick for the 2010 defensive rookie of the year is Eric Berry, who will be an excellent play-maker for a sub-par defense. He will wreak havok all over the field in Kansas City and could even help them gain some prominence in the AFC West.