Kiper Jr.: Jet not top defensive rookie

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
1:00
PM ET

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. posted his NFL all-rookie team Insider, along with his picks for offensive and defensive rookies of the year. Most notably, he selected Buffalo Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso over New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson as the top rookie on defense.

Alonso and Richardson are thought to be the top candidates for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, presented by the Associated Press.

Kiper's take: "If this were purely on per-play impact, I think Sheldon Richardson could back up his case as the best rookie overall, but I give Alonso a slight edge here based on his total impact. Alonso was third in the NFL in tackles and, perhaps just as impressive, was one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL, a significant bonus. Because of his ability to cover, Alonso never came off the field; he played nearly 1,200 snaps. Richardson might be a better player, but I give the season edge to Alonso."

Kiper placed two Jets on his all-rookie team -- Richardson and fullback Tommy Bohanon. Rex Ryan wouldn't agree with this list, as Kiper didn't include cornerback Dee Milliner. Obviously biased, Ryan believes Milliner was the top rookie cornerback. Kiper opted for Desmond Trufant of the Atlanta Falcons and Logan Ryan of the New England Patriots. For what it's worth, ProFootballFocus -- a stats-based web site -- ranked Trufant, Logan and Milliner as the No. 7-, No. 29- and No. 53-rated cornerbacks, respectively, based on at least 50-percent play time.


Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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