NFL Rookie of the Year: Ranking the Best Rookies of 2011-2012

NFL fans are impatient. Gone are the days where a rookie receives time from a fan base to develop. People expect immediate results.

Some of the most talented rookies are providing that instant impact fans love to see. Cam Newton has stolen the show this season, and Von Miller has changed the makeup of the Denver Broncos defense.

However, other first round picks, such as Blaine Gabbert, have had a tough time transitioning to the big leagues.

After the jump, we'll examine the leaders for the rookie of the year honors on both offense and defense.

Offense

 

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton was the first player selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, and he is now the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award this season. He is fearless with the football in his hands and has shown tremendous athleticism at the quarterback position. Newton's 2,600 passing yards and 11 touchdowns are impressive enough. Add to that his 375 rushing yards and seven scores, and Newton has unprecedented production for a rookie signal caller.
  2. A.J. Green , Cincinnati Bengals - Many thought A.J. Green would struggle to make a smooth transition to the NFL given his quarterback situation and lack of talent around him. However, Green has shown that he has the talent to excel in any situation, and the Bengals have been the surprise of the season. The former Georgia Bulldog has 635 yards and six touchdowns in nine games this season.
  3. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati, Bengals - Speaking of the perceived weakness at the quarterback position for the Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton has silenced all of his critics. Dalton has 1,800 yards and 14 touchdowns this season in addition to leading the Bengals to a 6-3 record.
  4. Demarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys - Despite not starting until Week 7, Demarco Murray has played his way into contention for the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year Award. He has 674 yards rushing on only 100 carries and has shown no signs of slowing down. If he continues to dominate the opposition, Murray will have a shot to overtake Cam Newton.
Defense
  1. Von Miller, Denver Broncos - Von Miller has made a huge impact on the Denver Broncos defense. In his young career Miller has 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He has been all over the field, becoming one of the most valuable Denver Broncos.
  2. Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers - Considered one of the most raw players in the 2011 NFL Draft, Aldon Smith has made a surprising impact as a pass rusher this season, collecting 6.5 sacks. His production has helped the 49ers become one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL.
  3. Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills - Marcell Dareus plays 3-4 defensive end, which is a tough position from which to win Rookie of the Year, but he definitely deserves consideration. In addition to his 3.5 sacks this year, Dareus has been a consistent force in opponent's backfields, demanding attention from multiple linemen at times.
  4. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals - Coming out of LSU, Patrick Peterson was considered an elite cornerback prospect. While his play has been inconsistent in his rookie season, Peterson does have a pair of interceptions and has made a huge impact on special teams with three scores including a game winner against the St. Louis Rams.
Who else deserves consideration for the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year? Let us know in the comments.
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