Just over a week ago, Jets rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was asked whether he’d like to be named as the rookie of the year. His response?
“I don’t care, I am that. Even if I don’t win it, I am that. You can’t tell me anything different.”
However, not everyone agrees. Mel Kiper went with Kiko Alonso as his defensive rookie of the year and Richardson wasn’t even included in the five nominees for the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award (which does also include offensive players).
Today, he was snubbed again as – despite having led the race all year – Richardson was named as the runner-up for the Pro Football Focus defensive rookie of the year award.
Richardson graded out much better than anyone else, including the eventual winner (Atlanta Cornerback Desmond Trufant) although PFF have said in the past that you can’t compare grades across positions. Their rationale for Richardson missing out is that he wasn’t very productive as a pass rusher, although one might suggest that had more to do with teams getting rid of the ball early to mitigate pressure.
Despite this lack of production, he was still more productive as a pass rusher as a rookie than Muhammad Wilkerson was in his rookie year and Khaled from PFF agrees this could be a good sign:
“Still, it was a tremendously impactful rookie year and if he can make the kind of leap in this regard that Muhammad Wilkerson made from Year 1 to Year 2, then you should be very scared about what that Jets defense might do.”
It’s good to end on a positive. Please show respect and behave yourselves if you head over to PFF to express your disappointment.