The New York Jets were always high on defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in the pre-draft process, and they selected him with one of their first-round draft picks. It was interesting to see that they chose Richardson over Utah Utes DT Star Lotulelei, but the Missouri Tigers disruptive defensive lineman was always “their guy”. Right when he joined the team, the Jets envisioned him as the sort of versatile DL who could line up anywhere in a three-man front and be a difference-maker as a pass rusher and run defender.
Well, all Richardson has done is exceed expectations, and his excellent play as a rookie has made him a front-runner for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. While Lotulelei has done a great job for the Carolina Panthers, Richardson has been even better, and he, Damon Harrison, and star Muhammad Wilkerson form arguably the league’s best three-man front. They stuff the run, get after the passer, and free up the guys behind them.
According to Newsday’s Kimberly Martin, New York Jets 3-4 DE Sheldon Richardson believes that he deserves to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year, and I wonder if his two touchdown plunges this season help his cause. Richardson stated that, “it’s not even a question,” when asked if he is the DROY, and that’s definitely a strong statement that some people view as selfish.
I think Richardson deserves to win the DROY, and his incredible motor has been big for the Jets this season. He’s been one of the best defensive linemen in the entire league this season, and his 77 tackles are an unprecedented total that speak to his ability to blow up the opposition’s rushing plays.