Take a look at a few candidates for defensive ROY. I have narrowed the field to a select group of players I think are going to are putting up good numbers and making an impact for their respective teams. Let’s begin.
Chandler Jones- the 21st overall selection by the Patriots. If you are not familiar with this player you will be. Jones has 27 tackles, 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles to this point in the season. He is a gifted athlete, capable of beating offensive tackles with power moves or using his quickness. Jones is a good player and has only scratched the surface of his potential. He will be a future all pro at defensive end.
Bobby Wagner- drafted in the 2nd round, Wagner can flat out play. Called a “baby Patrick Willis” by a teammate this kid has all the natural instincts a coach wants out of his middle linebacker. This guy has accumulated a staggering 50 tackles so far this year to go along with a single sack. Wagner will continue to develop and anchor on this uber-talented Seahawks defense with proper coaching and continued effort on his part. He will be a Pro Bowler in the not so distant future.
Lavonte David- a 2nd round draft pick of the Buccaneers. David was not high on many team’s draft boards. This is actually surprising when one considers the success he had while attending the University of Nebraska. David won the inaugural Butkus-Fitzgerald award which goes to the best linebacker in the Big 10. The award was won in addition to other national and conference accolades. David has 41 tackles so far this season. He is consistently around the ball and is a good tackler. He should continue his development and become part of a solid defensive foundation the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have for years to come.
Luke Kuechly- what more can I say about about this guy than what I said in the article I wrote about him titled “Kuechly in the Middle”. Great linebacker with a propensity for finding the football. Kuechly has 36 tackles and 1 interception (in limited action) to this point in the season. Expect these numbers to increase significantly due to Kuechly’s penchant for being around the football and the now seemingly fragile Jon Beason not being able to get back onto the field. Luke will be an All-Pro one day. I just pray it’s with the Carolina Panthers.
Mark Barron- drafted #7 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team was looking for immediate help in the defensive secondary.They accomplished that by drafting Mark Barron. Barron was regarded by all the draft experts as the #1 safety in the class. I believe had he been on the board, the Panthers would have seriously considered him at the #9 spot. Mark has tasted success while attending Alabama, winning the National Championship in 2009. He has brought this winning attitude to the Buccaneers. He has good size to go up and get the ball with taller receivers and is a big hitter. Mark is the sole defensive back on this list due to his impressive numbers and the impact he has made on the Tampa Bay defense.He has 35 tackles, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble so far this season. Mark Barron is a football player with real talent. With continued coaching and commitment, on his part, the Buccaneers will have a top level safety on they roster for years to come.
There they are. My list of potential ROY candidates along with some of their stats and a little editorial on my part. If the ROY award was to be handed out today it would have to go to Chandler Jones based on his numbers and the impact he has made on the New England defense. Mark Barron would be 2nd followed by Bobby Wagner. The 4th and 5th spot would go to Lavonte David and Luke Kuechly respectively.
Follow Charles Towne Panther on Twitter @JoeRiollano