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Aldon Smith Earns ESPN's NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year Award

Von Miller warrants consideration and certainly made the Denver Broncos happy with the second overall selection in last April’s NFL Draft. However, Aldon Smith is earning accolades himself as the choice just five slots later to the San Francisco 49ers. ESPN just awarded Aldon Smith, former Missouri Tiger, as their choice for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and it will be interesting to see if Smith can walk away with the NFL’s official version of that honor when the awards are announced later this off-season.

Matt Williamson writes, "I really didn’t think I would do it. I thought for sure Miller had this honor locked up. But Miller’s play and production fell off a cliff after his thumb surgery, and, although Smith played far fewer snaps and is more one-dimensional than Miller, I had to give him this award. I actually considered giving it to Texans DE J.J. Watt, as well, but, in the end, this is a passing league and the pressure Smith can put on a quarterback was just too overwhelming to ignore."

Smith finished the season just a half sack short of the rookie sack record set by Jevon Kearse and the 49ers success this year is based in part on Smith’s 14 sacks and several other hurries and pressures.