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2014 NFL Rookie of the Year Watch (Defensive)

By: Kyle Howe

This year's defensive rookie of the year watch has some serious star power. Clowney, Mack, Donald and more. Who will take the 2014 defensive rookie of the year? Click here for the Offensive Rankings.

CJ Mosley Ravens Rookie 1. C.J Mosley (ILB Baltimore Ravens)

Not only has C.J Mosley been one of the best rookie linebackers in the NFL, he's quickly become one of the best linebackers in the NFL period! For as long as Mosley plays I will always go back to the 2014 Draft as a case of NFL teams once again over thinking things and passing on Mosley because he "was too physical" and could be prone to getting banged up. It was farcical that he fell as far as he did, but good for the Ravens for capitalizing on half the league's lapse in judgment. Mosley currently ranks 7th in the NFL in tackles and sports a +8.2 grade from PFF. And let us take this opportunity to toot our own horn and remind you we said Mosley should have went top ten.

Haha Clinton Dix NFL Rookie 2. Ha Ha Clinton Dix (Safety Green Bay Packers)

After a slow start to the season Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has turned it into high gear over the past month, and coincidentally the Packers have won the last four contests. After only eight tackles through the first three games, Dix now has 27 over the past four. Last week against the Panthers Dix got his first official start, but he had already been playing the majority of snaps over Micah Hyde. Now entrenched at his natural free safety position Clinton-Dix, along with the Packers secondary as a whole should continue to improve with each passing week.

Jason Verrett Rookie 3. Jason Verrett (CB San Diego Chargers)

After catapulting his way towards the top of the rookie class with his standout performance against the Raiders, the rookie sat out last week's loss to the Chiefs due to lingering pain from off season shoulder surgery. Verrett is already back to practice this week and looks good to go for this Thursday's clash with Peyton Manning. Currently, Verrett is among tops in the league in opposing QB completion percentage (44%) and opposing QB rating (54.4). San Diego kept the training wheels on him early, but since then Verrett's has been too good to keep off the field (when healthy.)

Khalil Mack Rookie Raiders 4. Khalil Mack (OLB Oakland Raiders)

Yeah sure he doesn't have an official sack yet, but anybody who has seen even a short glimpse of a Raiders game has seen what an impact player Khalil Mack has been. Mack has tallied an impressive 30 tackles on the season to go along with 12 QB hurries. His impact however, goes far beyond the stat sheet as he regularly blows up plays in the backfield, using his natural strength and leverage to get blockers on skates. Sporting an outstanding 16.6 rating from PFF, Mack is the type of player offensive coordinators are forced to gameplan for and it's obvious they're already taking note as he's consistently chipped on passing downs and run away from on most runs.

Anthony Barr Vikings 5. Anthony Barr (LB Minnesota Vikings)

Even though Barr didn't tally a sack against the Bills, I though it was his most impressive game to date. Using his preternatural combo of quickness and length, Barr consistently won on the edge and had Kyle Orton on the ropes numerous times. Barr finished the game with three official QB hurries, and also set a season high with seven total tackles. For a guy who many critics said was "too raw" Barr has been among the most consistent and reliable rookies in the league.

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