The New York Jets overachieved this season, with Rex Ryan keeping his job as head coach after a surprising 8-8 campaign. Much of that success can be credited to the defense, including rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Richardson was one of the Jets’ best players in 2013, as well as one of the best rookies in the NFL. The 23-year-old managed 77 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss, putting him among the most productive rookies. That fact was not lost on Richardson, who was ready for Defensive Rookie of the Year questions the day after the season ended.
“Most definitely,” Richardson said when asked Monday if he deserved the award, per Newsday. “It’s not even a question.”
Other challengers for the honor include Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso (159 tackles, two sacks, four interceptions), St. Louis Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree (117 tackles and six forced fumbles) and Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah (eight sacks — leading all rookies). Even so, Richardson seems confident in his accomplishments.
“I am the defensive rookie of the year,” Richardson said. “That’s just how I feel. If anybody has an opinion about it, they can always state their opinion. It’s just me.”