Monday, January 7, 2013

Top Defensive Rookies Of 2012

The NFL was full of rookies who contributed to their teams right away. However, these rookies established themselves as the top rookies to play defense this season. These young players are on their way to establishing themselves as the top defensive players for years to come.


-Luke Kuechly
Kuechly was taken ninth overall by the Carolina Panthers. He recorded 165 tackles which is the highest tackle total for a rookie since Patrick Willis in 2007.

-Lavonte David
David recorded 139 total tackles as well as two sacks and an interception. He has quickly become the leader of the Tampa Bay defense.

-Vontaze Burfict
As an undrafted free agent, Burfict has made the most of his opportunity in the NFL. Burfict finished with 127 tackles and one sack to finish sixth in the AFC.

Defensive Lineman

-Chandler Jones
The rookie first round pick of the New England Patriots finished the season with six sacks. Jones also contributed 45 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was the main reason why the New England pass rush was much improved in 2012.

-Quinton Coples
Coples made an immediate impact as a defensive end for the Jets. His five sacks and 30 tackles were impressive considering that he was used as a part-time player for a majority of the season.

-Bruce Irvin
Many thought that he was a reach when the Seahawks took him in the first round of the draft. However, he proved the doubters wrong by recording eight sacks as well as forcing one fumble.

Defensive Backs

-Stephon Gilmore
Gilmore was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills. He quickly became a starter and recorded 52 tackles, forced three fumbles and one interception.

-Morris Claiborne
The Dallas rookie had a productive first season in the league. His 55 tackles, one interception and one recovered fumble helped the Cowboys secondary immensely. However, his real impact was as a physical corner who could take an opponent's best receiver away on any given play.

-Janoris Jenkins
Jenkins may have had the best season of all the rookie defensive backs. He intercepted four passes and scored four touchdowns. Jenkins also recorded 73 tackles while defecting another 14 passes.

There were a lot of rookies who stepped up and helped their team this season. All of these players are going to be vital to the future success of their teams. While all rookies are expected to contribute to their teams, these players have exceeded expectations and should have bright careers in front of them.


  1. Thats all fine and dandy, but you forgot the main defensive rookie. Bobby Wagner MLB for the Seahawks. Hands down the best defensive rookie.

    1. Bobby Wagner was a great pick. He made most draft analysts eat their words with his solid performance in the middle of the league's top defense. No small task for a first year player, at the Mike no less.


Thanks for helping us build a community at The Tiger Report!