Power Ranking top NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates

The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is always a contentious conversation since deciding the value of defensive players is not always easy. This year, there are three clear contenders and at least three more "dark-horse" candidates.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages
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2. Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks
First Round, Fifth Overall

This one is interesting since it was such a surprise on draft day. Many thought the Seattle Seahawks were going to take Georgia's Jalen Carter. Even if his off-the-field issues were too much for them, defensive line seemed like the move as they could target Tyree Wilson. Instead, Pete Carroll and crew went after Illini cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

Witherspoon is an aggressive player on the edge, bringing some memories back of those "Legion of Boom" defenses that brought Carroll his Super Bowl Championship. There's a lot to love about Witherspoon's game so far. He's doing a little bit of everything. He's deflecting passes, rushing the quarterback (he's tied with the Packers' Lukas Van Ness in sacks with three), and he returned his one interception this season 97 yards for a pick-six. He was given the NFC Player of the Week that week against the New York Giants.

Remember, this pick came as a result of the Denver Broncos trading for Russell Wilson. This was basically a gift after the falloff of Wilson's career. Someone gave them what looks like a star at a premium position for a draining asset.

Witherspoon is number two on this list, but he will struggle to move any further up the list. He's dealing with some injuries, and the Seahawks have struggled as a whole as their schedule really took a turn. He could have some big performances on big stages, but without it, the DROY award is already basically awarded.