Monday, May 21, 2012
Poll results: Impact rookie on defense
By Jamison Hensley
Based on the results of last week's SportsNation poll, there isn't really a dominant defensive newcomer in the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw led the poll on which defensive rookie would make the biggest impact, but the second-round pick didn't win it by much. He received 32 percent in a poll of 6,866 voters, while Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu (27 percent) and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (26 percent) were close behind.
Upshaw is expected to replace Jarret Johnson as the edge setter on run defense and rush off the edge in passing situations. The Ravens will need Upshaw's presence on the pass rush (15.5 sacks the past two seasons at Alabama) even more after Terrell Suggs went down with an Achilles injury. Upshaw is motivated after falling to the second round in the draft.
Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Billy Winn finished in last place with 15 percent of the vote.