ESPN polled its reader to find out who will be the best rookie in the AFC West in 2011. They included the teams' first pick. The results are surprising. Not the winner, but the percentages. Vonn Miller took the poll with 39 percent. Stefen Wisniewski was second with 26 percent. Jon Baldwin was third with 21 percent, and Corey Liuget was fourth with 15 percent.
This tells me that more Raider fans are voting on this poll than any other team. I didn't particularly like the Broncos selection of Von Miller, but that is only because they had the No. 2 overall pick, and they passed on Marcel Dareus and Patrick Peterson. Von Miller is going to have to adjust to being a 4-3 linebakcer, but I don't doubt he is going to be a stud. The guy was obviously a top five talent.
I also think John Fox is going to put him in a position to get sacks. There might be some situations in coverage where he struggles, but the guy is going to make an impact. And in the end, 26 percent of people just voted for the No. 38 selection to outperform the No. 2 selection, and the No,. 2 selection plays one of the positions that is most easily transitioned to as a rookie—a pass rusher.
If people were being honest with themselves I don't see how they could vote for anyone else. That said, I think it is a toss up for the next three. Liuget is a force, but will have to adjust to being a defensive end. Jon Baldwin certainly has potential to put up some numbers, but rookie receivers can struggle and Matt Cassel is horrible at throwing the deep ball, which is Baldwin's strength.
Wisniewski doesn't have these question marks, but he is still a second round talent. His ceiling is just not as high as these other guys. Of course, he also has the lowest floor.
So, I am going to poll us, without Miller.
The best AFC West rookie in 2011 will be?
Corey Liiuget (21 votes)
Jon Baldwin (18 votes)
Stefen Wisniewski (306 votes)
345 total votes