SB Nation's preseason awards turn to the defensive rookie of the year, where Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers has run away with the vote. Kuechly ended up with nearly 50 percent of the vote and won this award from SB Nation NFL bloggers handily.
The defensive rookie of the year award goes to a linebacker more often than not and Kuechly is one of the best ones available. The ninth overall pick in the draft, Kuechly should be able to rack up big tackle numbers this year. It would surprise no one if he was able to bring home this award.
Behind him is the Tampa Bay Bucs' Mark Barron, who had 17 percent of the vote. The San Diego Chargers' Melvin Ingram and Seattle Seahawks' Bruce Irvin each had eight percent of the vote while the following players all ended with four percent: Dallas Cowboys' Morris Claiborne, Philadelphia Eagles' Mychal Kendricks, Houston Texans' Whitney Mercilus, Baltimore Ravens' Courtney Upshaw and St. Louis Rams' Janoris Jenkins.
Three of these players -- Upshaw, Jenkins and Kendricks -- were second-round picks while the rest were first rounders.
Comments from SB Nation's NFL bloggers on the preseason defensive rookie of the year vote:
The Jets just played the Panthers and it seems as though every single tackle, Luke was there. In a way he does remind me of Patrick Willis who won this award back in 2007. His tackle numbers in college are incredible, I mean 191 tackles last year as a junior. He has a nose for the football and reads the game extremely well. He's got good pace, sound tackling ability and he can drop back into coverage. There isn't a great deal not to like about Luke and I'm positive he will go on to have a brilliant NFL career.
Twelve of the last 14 defensive rookies of the year have been linebackers, so looking there is a safe bet. I zeroed in on Luke Kuechly of Carolina and Mychal Kendricks of Philadelphia. Both have had good preseasons and both will be day one starters ... I think it will be pretty close, so I went the homer route and gave Kendricks the edge. He is a little faster and a little stronger than Kuechly, so I think it makes sense.
Here's your homer pick for this year, but I do think Mark Barron has everything he needs to be defensive rookie of the year. He brings a physical presence to the defense, but more importantly he'll be put in position to make a lot of splash plays: interceptions, sacks, big hits, tackles for loss -- and those highlights are what win a player this award. Barron should be a contender.
The full results:
Luke Kuechly: 45
Mark Barron: 17
Melvin Ingram: 8
Bruce Irvin: 8
Morris Claiborne: 4
Mychal Kendricks: 4
Whitney Mercilus: 4
Courtney Upshaw: 4
Janoris Jenkins: 4