NFL: Top 5 candidates to win Defensive Rookie of the Year

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Aug 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Defense wins championships. Don’t let anyone fool you, that’s still the way of the NFL.

Even though the game appears to favor offense nowadays, it’s the 11 players on the other side of the ball that ultimately decide which team hoists the Lombardi Trophy. Just ask the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

In May, one of the deepest draft classes in history entered the NFL. Included among the hundreds of rookies are a select few defensive studs that can lead a franchise for the next decade.

These studs — comprised of linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs — were fortunate enough to land in the right system for their respective talents. This makes it particularly easy to forecast their rookie campaigns, after which they could earn some valuable recognition — Defensive Rookie of the Year.

As always, my beloved readers, I’ve trimmed the list of candidates down to just five. Click to read about those I see making potentially award-winning impacts in 2014.

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