The 2019 NFL season is well underway. And after seven games there is a good sample-size of performance to show which rookies have stood out. The 2019 draft class is already shaping up to be a pretty solid one. Rookies from various teams are proving to be key contributors on their respective squads. So here we take a look at four potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates for the 2019 season.
History tends to repeat itself. With the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft the Buffalo Bills selected quarterback Josh Allen. Then in the 2019 NFL draft with the seventh overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected… JOSH ALLEN! Except this Josh Allen is an edge rusher. And he has been a force to be reckoned with so far this season.
Allen currently leads all rookies with five sacks. For a team that looks to be in rebuild mode, the Jaguars have to be happy to have him on their squad. Although they currently sit at 3-4 and don’t look to be in a position to win the AFC South this year, Allen will certainly be a building block for future Jaguar success. And he will most certainly be considered in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
What can be said about Nick Bosa that hasn’t already been said. The edge rusher from Ohio State was selected number two overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2019 NFL draft. They desperately needed a pass rush and they got one. He joined Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and Dee Ford who was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs via trade in the offseason, to compose one of the most formidable pass rushes in the league. He currently has four sacks through six games, but more than that he is constantly pressuring opposing quarterbacks on every down. That combined with the fact that his 49ers are 6-0 with a top defense in the league speaks his case for DROY.
The Carolina Panthers selected edge rusher Brian Burns out of Florida State with the 16th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. And he has not disappointed. He is second in sacks for rookies with 4.5. He also recorded one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one defensive touchdown. Thus far he has played a key part in the Panthers being 4-2. And look for him to continue to put up numbers as the season progresses, making his case for DROY.
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker Devin Bush holds an interesting distinction at this point in the season amongst his draft class. He leads all rookies in combined tackles (52), as well as interceptions (2). Although his Steelers are not faring well this season, he is a silver lining for the franchise moving into the future. If the team is able to hold onto him in the long-term, he should continue to put up big numbers. And while some players show their worth with the intangibles, Bush’s worth is clearly showcased in his stats. And for that he is another DROY candidate.
19 ‘til Infinity
Allen, Bosa, Burns, and Bush all are front-runners for DROY up to this point in the season. But the second half of the season will really determine who wins the award. Although all of these players should continue to produce into the second half of the season barring injury, one will pull away and assert himself as the best defensive rookie in his class. Who will it be? We’ll just have to keep watching to find out!