The NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards are usually pretty good indicators of future success in the league. Some notable recent winners are Matt Ryan, Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson and Ben Roethlisberger on offense and Von Miller, Jerod Mayo, Patrick Willis and Jonathan Vilma on defense.
This year’s crop of rookies looks to be as talented as any in recent memory and have the look of a group that will proudly carry the torch of the NFL into the future.
Here now are Know It All Football’s favorites to win the NFL’s Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards.
Tavon Austin, WR, Rams — Austin can and most likely will play every skill position for the Rams in 2013. I expect Jeff Fisher to exhaust all means necessary to get the ball in his hands as often as possible. He’ll also likely return punts and possibly kicks for the Rams, adding even more value to an already game-changing talent.
Montee Ball, RB, Broncos — Denver finally has a young, franchise-type of back to hitch their wagon to. Ball is an every down back with a nose for the endzone. His running style and vision remind me of Edgerrin James, which is convenient considering he’ll be playing in pretty much the same offensive scheme that James excelled in.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers — Lacy gives the Packers an added dimension they haven’t had on offense since Ryan Grant fell out of favor and eventually left Green Bay. Lacy is a powerful runner with deceptive speed. If he can stay healthy, I expect him to vault into the elite group of NFL backs rather quickly.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers — Bell is your typical Pittsburgh running back: a big, bruising runner who can also play three downs and give you an extra receiving option. His combination of size and athleticism is astounding and currently unparalleled in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how long it takes opposing defenses to adapt.
DARKHORSE: Tyler Wilson, QB, Raiders — I read and hear nothing but great things from Raider camp about Wilson. Coaches and players alike have commended him for his arm strength, accuracy and maturity all offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see him win the starting job in Oakland and turn in an Andrew Luck-type season for the Raiders in 2013.
Ziggy Ansah, DE, Lions — Ansah will replace veteran Kyle Vandenbosch in Detroit and should be effective immediately in doing do. He’ll have the benefit of playing alongside Suh and Fairley, limiting the number of double teams he’s likely to face. He also has the added benefit of playing in an “air-it-out” division, meaning he’ll get plenty of cracks at quarterbacks.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Steelers — Jones was an elite pass rusher at the University of Georgia and will be called upon to replace an elite pass rusher in Pittsburgh. I think he’ll be up to the task and I expect him to become a mainstay in NFL backfield this year, quickly becoming a Pittsburgh fan favorite in the process.
Datone Jones, DE, Packers — Jones is one of the more imposing physical presences among the 2013 rookie class. He’s going to be a handful for any offensive tackle to handle coming off the edge and should, along with Clay Mathews, give Green Bay one of the fiercest pass rushes in the league.
Manti Te’o, ILB, Chargers — Forget 40 times and fake girlfriends, Te’o is a tackling machine with a nose for the ball like few others. His vision and field awareness are what makes him dangerous. Expect him to be among the league leaders in tackles this season and for years to come.
DARKHORSE: Arthur Brown, ILB, Ravens — We knew Baltimore would be looking for the heir apparent to Ray Lewis in the 2013 Draft. It looks like they are counting on Arthur Brown to be that guy. Brown is a sure tackler with better speed than Lewis had during the last few seasons of his career. He should be able to step into the Baltimore D from day one and become a household name quickly.
BY J.P SCOTT ON JULY 19, 2013