Who is your 2014 NFL defensive rookie of the year: C.J. Mosley, Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald or another high-impact player from this draft class?
It seems like yesterday we where all anticipating week 1 of the NFL season and now here we are prepping the next barbeque gathering, getting ready for the divisional round of the 2014 NFL season. This season has been special; the rookies made an impact and quite a few of them showed they belong in the league. Most of you guys where awed by the highlights from the offensive guys like Odell Beckham Jr (Giants) or Mike Evans (Bucs) and rightfully so; seems like all they did was score touchdowns. But not everyone was familiar with the defensive side of the ball, and that’s where I come in and show you what you’ve been missing.
In the 2014 season, there was disappointment at the top, consistency in the middle and late bloomers who just needed an opportunity. The disappointment is obviously the number one overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney. He injured his knee so we couldn’t witness what he’s fully capable of. The consistency is where the guys who impressed in pre-season and carried it over into the regular season, your rookie of the year lies within this group. The late bloomers definitely opened some eyes, especially those who play in IDP (Individual Defensive Players) leagues because a few of them have arguably helped some folks win their league title. All this rambling is neither here or there though, just giving you a quick scope of what went on in 2014.
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In most seasons and for obvious reasons, the NFL will more than likely select Baltimore Raven’s ILB C.J. Mosley for the defensive rookie of the year, I mean he only put up 132 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 3 sacks and 8 pass deflection; and well his team made the playoffs. That’s quite impressive, but the real defensive rookie of the year should be Oakland Raiders OLB Khalil Mack. If you’re unsure who Mack is or what has he done to deserve the award, let me break it down for you.
Let’s take a look at Khalil Mack’s 2014 season, shall we? He had 84 total tackles (59 solo) – 16 tackles for a loss – 1 forced fumble – 4 pass deflections and 4 QB sacks. He was 1 of 2 rookies to start all 16 games and played a total of 1,034 snaps for the Raiders’ defense. In week seven against the Cardinals, he put up his only double-digit tackle game of the season with 11 (10 solo) and then in week 14 against the 49ers, Mack had his first multi-sack game of his young career. Mack is going to be special, he’s already getting recognition from the opponents because when they watch film; all you’ll hear is Mack jumps out at you.
Mack is your 2014 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year because he posted a 55.3 overall rating at PFF (Pro Football Focus), which is highest among all outside linebackers and ONLY J.J. Watt has a higher PFF rating on the defensive side. Mack has a 46.9 rating against the run, 7.6 on pass rush and accumulated 51 QB pressures (40 Hurries) and only trailed Von Miller in that category. His highest rating was in week 16 against the Buffalo Bills as he helped hold the Bills to 13 yards rushing!
This is your defensive rookie of the year, and if you still don’t buy it then please go get NFL Rewind and watch the Raider games when they’re on defense and you cannot tell me Mack doesn’t stand out to you on almost every play.