Sheldon Richardson named 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets' defensive force now has some hardware to stick in his trophy case.

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson has been named the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Richardson was the first defensive tackle selected in last year's NFL Draft.

Richardson is one of the up-and-coming players in the league. His rookie season saw flashes of dominance as he got better throughout the season. One of two first-round draft picks by New York this season, Richardson showed he can help form an impressive defensive front for the Jets alongside Muhammad Wilkerson. He was moved from his college position of defensive tackle to defensive end in Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense and was named a starter to begin the season.

The former Missouri star racked up 77 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his inaugural campaign for a team that finished 8-8. Richardson's best day came against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 24, when he made a career-high nine tackles including three for a loss. He also was award NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November.

This award comes as no surprise to Richardson, who said after the season he believed he deserved to win it, per

"I am the defensive rookie of the year," Richardson told reporters. "I don’t have odds. That’s just how I feel. If anyone has an opinion on it, they can state their opinion but that’s just me."

Breaking Madden

While Richardson may have felt he deserved the honor, there were still several standout rookies on defense this season. Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan was among the league leaders with five interceptions, Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah led all rookies with eight sacks and Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso finished his first season with 159 tackles and four interceptions. Also, 49ers safety Eric Reid was on a top-tier defense and collected four interceptions on the season, while Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow and Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree were among the top tacklers in the NFL. The competition for the award likely makes it all that more meaningful for Richardson.

The previous three winners of the award are Ndamukong Suh, Von Miller and Luke Kuechly. The award was first given in 1967, and since then five of the winners have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame including Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Haynes and Derrick Thomas.

More from SB Nation NFL

SB Nation's complete coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII

Danny Kelly: Is Russell Wilson really a "game manager?"

PFT Commenter's ultimate Super Bowl party | Spilly's Rocky Mountain tacos

Behind the Boom: The secrets of the Seahawks' secondary

NFL mock draft: Blake Bortles is the new No. 1 pick

The sordid end of David Meggett: From All-Pro to prison

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.