Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sam Williams
Sam Williams was the obvious choice for the Defensive Rookie of the Year for me. The only other worthy candidate was DaRon Bland, who has actually been solid in his opportunities, but he hasn’t completely taken over a game like Williams has this season.
Williams, when given his chances, has become better and better as the year has progressed. Among rookie edge defenders this season, Williams has the highest defensive grade on PFF with an 80.2. He also has the highest pass-rush grade (84.8), and the second highest coverage (85.3) and tackling grades (78.0).
The most snaps he’s had in a game is just 26 against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5. That week, Williams recorded three pressures, two tackles, and a pass breakup. His best game was by far against the Detroit Lions in Week 7. In just eight pass rush snaps, the second-round pick had two sacks, three run stops, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
He missed Week 8 due to injury, but he should return after the bye. I know this defensive line room is loaded, but Williams needs more snaps. He is a complete game wrecker at times off the edge and has shown that more and more as of late.