As the 5th overall player selected, a lot of folks assume Chiefs S Eric Berry has a shot at becoming the defensive rookie of the year. He's been called the most talented player in the draft and one of those guys that's pro-ready at an early age.
So does he have a shot at the rookie of the year? ESPN's Len Pasquarelli did a little research and came up with some interesting trends:
In fact, over the past 10 seasons, the average draft spot for winning the rookie of the year award is the seventh defensive player selected. Twice in that stretch -- with the Texans' Ryans in 2006 and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Kendrell Bell in 2001 -- the award went to second-rounders. Four times in the past seven seasons, the ROY award went to the fifth defensive player selected. This year, that's inside linebacker Rolando McClain of Oakland -- behind Suh, McCoy, safety Eric Berry (Kansas City Chiefs ), and cornerback Joe Haden (Cleveland Browns). Those players, and others, of course, figure to be viable ROY candidates. But if history is any indicator, McClain is the early-line favorite.
I think McClain has a very good shot.
Of the 43 rookie of the year winners, 22 have been inside linebackers. The last four years have been a linebacker and three of those played on the inside.
Of course, this doesn't mean Berry can't win it. It just means that, if history is any indication, McClain has the best shot.