AOL.com's Countdown to Kickoff: Rookie of the Year predictions
All August long, we've been counting the days to NFL kickoff. In preparation, we've previewed and predicted each and every division's standings, as well as how the playoffs will shake out. Monday, we rolled out our Super Bowl prediction, which you can find here.
Next up are our calls for this season's Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year.
The way we see it, running back Melvin Gordon of the San Diego Chargers will come away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year, while New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams will win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Gordon, the first running back taken in the first round since Trent Richardson in 2012, will immediately assume starting duties in the Chargers backfield. Coming off a nation-leading 2,587-yard season in which he scored 29 touchdowns at Wisconsin, the 22-year-old instantly becomes one of the Chargers' most lethal weapons -- and we expect him to perform.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets ended up taking what could very well have been the most talented player in the draft. No. 1 on several draft boards, Williams slipped to New York at No. 4. Williams racked up 20 sacks over his three seasons with the USC Trojans, and increased his tackle total every year -- resulting in 80 takedowns a season ago.
With Sheldon Richardson's status uncertain for this season after legal trouble, Williams is nearly guaranteed playing time. As Mohammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison attract plenty of attention in the Jets' box, Williams' rookie year has the potential to be a great one -- especially under defensive guru Todd Bowles.
Those are our predictions. What about yours? Tweet to us at @AOLSports or leave a comment below letting us know what you think about this year's rookie class.
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