Sheldon Richardson wins NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

By Ian O'Brien,

In an extremely close vote, New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson came away with the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award with 23 votes. Buffalo Bills inside linebacker Kiko Alonso finished as the runner-up with 19 votes.

Richardson was drafted by the Jets out of University of Missouri in the first round of the NFL draft with the 13th overall pick, and he made an immediate impact on defense.

According to ESPN, Richardson finished the season with 3.5 sacks and 77 tackles. His tackles are the third-most among defensive linemen for the 2013 season.

Pro Football Focus revealed that Richardson finished second in defensive stops with 41 among 3-4 defensive ends, according to NFL.com. This only fell behind Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, last year's Defensive Player of the Year.

Richardson's production was not limited to defense though. He became the first Jets defensive player to score two rushing touchdowns since William "The Refrigerator" Perry scored two in 1985.

Richardson is the first Jets player to win Defensive Rookie of the Year since linebacker Jonathan Vilma won it in 2004.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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