Looking Back At The 2009 AP Rookie Of The Year

Back when Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews came in third in the AP rookie of the year voting, and came in third again in the re-vote, I was disappointed because I knew how good he was. But part of me was glad he didn't win it so he wouldn't become a one-year wonder. That concern is stupid, but sports superstition is a funny thing.

It came to my mind again when I read this article at the National Football Post:

Following a disappointing season where linebacker Brian Cushing lost his NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year form, the Houston Texans expect the former USC standout to return to his formerly high standard of play.

"I think he'll be a great player," Texans coach Gary Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle. "I think he'll be gangbusters."

Cushing was great in 2009, although with an asterisk due to his 2010 suspension, and his career is just beginning. With his move inside in Wade Phillips's new 3-4 defense, it looks like he'll have A.J. Hawk's career path instead of Matthews.

There was one other rookie who received more votes for 2009 then Matthews. From Buffalo Rumblings:

After an outstanding rookie season in which he earned a Pro Bowl berth, Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd endured a 2010 season in which he was picked apart by Bills fans with high expectations. Though his stock has come back down to earth since intercepting nine passes as a rookie, we felt the need to point out something that isn't discussed often enough: Byrd is still an excellent playmaker, despite only recording one pick last season.

He makes a good point that it's still an impressive two season performance from Byrd, but 2010 was a major step back. I'm not a big fan of him, but it's legitimate to expect a safety to keep improving over his third and fourth seasons. FS Nick Collins didn't emerge as a great player until his fourth season, although he was always good enough to start. 

Neither of the players who received more votes than Matthews had a great second season, but they both should have long careers. It does look like the Packers have the best of those three players.

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