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C-Mac
05-06-2008, 09:10 AM
Making an impression (http://www.kcchiefs.com/news/2008/05/06/making_an_impression/)
May 06, 2008, 8:17:07 AM by Jonathan Rand

If the Chiefs’ draft evaluations prove accurate, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and offensive tackle Branden Albert, both first-round picks, will become their highest rookie achievers.

Yet if NFL history keeps repeating itself, third-round pick Jamaal Charles, providing he can move up the depth chart at running back, might have a better chance for immediate league-wide recognition than either of them.

When it comes to offensive rookies, nobody gets noticed more than running backs. Or less than linemen.

When it comes to defensive rookies, nobody gets noticed more than linebackers. Linemen rate a distant second, slightly ahead of defensive backs.

These are the inevitable conclusions from the Associated Press awards given to the top offensive rookie since 1957 and the top defensive rookie since 1967. The 2007 winners, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, reinforce an overwhelming trend.

Peterson was the 37th running back picked in 51 years. Eleven wide receivers, two quarterbacks and one tight end fill out the list. Linemen have been shut out.

Willis was the 22nd linebacker to win the award in 41 years, with Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas winning in 1989. Other winners include 12 defensive linemen, including the Chiefs’ Bill Maas in 1984, and eight defensive backs, including the Chiefs’ Dale Carter in 1992. The award was shared in 1980.

All three Chiefs’ winners were first-round picks, so why not one of their latest top choices? Albert will be bucking an 0-for-51 trend. Dorsey would have to snap a five-year streak of linebackers finishing on top.

Why the dearth of rookie recognition for anybody but running backs and linebackers?

Those are the positions most easily evaluated by numbers. No offensive rookies have more impressive statistics than top runners. Peterson rushed for 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Case closed.

Nobody makes more tackles than linebackers – they accounted for 40 of the NFL’s 41 leading tacklers last season. Willis’ 174 tackles led the league by 33. Case closed.

When you consider that even veteran offensive linemen usually remain anonymous, you can imagine the publicity plight for a rookie. And not many rookie linemen get to start, given the premium put on experience in this area.

Though it’s not uncommon for rookie defensive linemen to start, it is uncommon for them to stand out. Players accustomed to dominating physically overmatched college opponents now find themselves looking across the line at athletes just as big and strong.

Consequently, rookie linemen, especially pass rushers, usually serve an apprenticeship while polishing their techniques. End Turk McBride and tackle Tank Tyler, for instance, both struggled to make their presence felt as Chiefs rookies a year ago.

Defensive backs, especially cornerbacks, typically get taken to school as rookies. Brandon Flowers, the Chiefs’ second-round pick, can expect to be tested early and often.

There isn’t another team in the league that will be counting on rookies more than the Chiefs. If the newcomers can elevate a four-win team, they’ll enjoy all the recognition they deserve.

Adept Havelock
05-06-2008, 09:39 AM
I'm OK with not noticing a rookie O-Lineman. It usually means they are doing their job at a good level.

Hydrae
05-06-2008, 10:03 AM
So we have never had an offensive rookie of the year. I think that is rather interesting.

ChiefGator
05-06-2008, 10:50 AM
So we have never had an offensive rookie of the year. I think that is rather interesting.

It's Dick's fault because he hated rookies!

Damnit!

StcChief
05-06-2008, 10:56 AM
Albert may be that guy in 2008. big shoes to fill on OLine.

milkman
05-07-2008, 07:52 AM
So we have never had an offensive rookie of the year. I think that is rather interesting.

Interesting perhaps, but not at all surprising.

DaKCMan AP
05-07-2008, 08:15 AM
So we have never had an offensive rookie of the year. I think that is rather interesting.

Joe Delaney was AFC ROY in 1981.