Wednesday, 9 November 2011

NFL Rookie of the Year – First half of the season contenders - Defence

The defensive players are hard to judge. Apart from Aldon Smith and JJ Watt (and to a slight degree, Marcel Dareus) a majority of the contenders play on poor defences, so more statistical analysis is required. 

The pack is much more closely bunched together and we could see any of the names mentioned in the article kicking on towards the end of the season and making a claim for the award. So, without further ado…

Marcel Dareus
The Defensive Tackle may not have the dazzling stats of other candidates, but his impact on the Bills defence is clear. The Alabama alumn gobbles up double teams and still manages to make an impact on the stat line similar to all pro defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.

Since moving to Nose in the Bills 3-4 (he was originally playing as end) he has had 2 and a half sacks and 25 tackles so far and if he continues to perform at that level he will get close to the numbers certain Mr Suh put up last year (ok, maybe not as many sacks...)

Weekly Top 5

Last week we brought you our top five overrated NFL players, some people may have disagreed with the choices but that’s why we love opinion threads. This week we bring you our top five underrated players, once again this is our opinion so if you don’t agree please feel free to comment.

Number 5 – Matt Schaub
Originally drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, Schaub would end up being traded to the Houston Texans for two second round draft picks and the teams would swap their first round picks. After two injury prone seasons at the Texans, Schaub finally managed to complete a full sixteen game season and would end up getting voted to the pro bowl.

In 2009 when he was voted to the pro bowl, Schaub passed for 4,770 yards (6th highest total in NFL history), the following year Schaub passed for 4,370 yards! Only five quarterbacks have thrown for 4,300+ yards in two straight years and this feat puts Schaub in amongst names such as Warren Moon and Dan Fouts (both hall of famers) as well as current players Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (two future hall of famers)

It’s not just the pundits who underrate this guy, in the preseason top 100 players (voted for by the players) Schaub didn’t even make the list but Vonta Leach did...that’s right, according to the players Leach, who’s a fullback, is a better player than Schaub and more valuable to his team than Schaub.
Even with the loss of Andre Johnson to injury, Schaub still has the Texans top of their division and still he gets none of the love!

Number 4 – Eric Decker
Even though he’s a second year player, Decker deserves a lot more praise than he receives. He didn’t feature that much in the Broncos offence last year due to injury, but Decker was still effective in the special teams game, recording 7 tackles and averaging 25.2 yards per return.

This season Decker has stepped up and despite playing opposite defacto number one receiver Brandon Lloyd (until he was traded), it was Decker who leads the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns. When Lloyd was traded away these stats were over looked and everyone was saying “how can the Broncos win without any good receivers?” Decker is answering that question.

Regardless the quarterback Denver decide to start, Decker is still producing and should start to receive more credit. His 90 yard punt return for a touchdown will also help in drawing attention to his talents.

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