Projecting NFL Rookie of the Year awards isn't just about identifying the best players. A confluence of factors -- from raw talent, to the opportunity to start immediately, to being surrounded by the right cast of teammates -- is required for one rookie to rise above all others. Here is a look at six possibilities for the 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
As the first defensive player selected in the draft, expectations will be awfully high for the former Ohio State star. Bosa excels against both the run and pass, which will help him command more of an every-down presence, rather than a rotational role, under Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano. Concerns about whether Bosa can assimilate into a 3-4 defense, after playing in a 4-3 at Ohio State, are misplaced. A true 3-4 front won't be on the field often, and when it is, the Chargers' version of it is flexible enough to accommodate Bosa as an outside linebacker.
Forget that 19 defensive players were picked ahead of the former UCLA star. Jack figures to be an immediate three-down starter on an improved defense and will have every opportunity to emerge over Jalen Ramsey as the club's best candidate for the award. Jack's speed and instincts in pass coverage make him just the kind of new-age three-down linebacker NFL clubs are trending toward. The knee issue that precipitated Jack's fall in the draft isn't of short-term concern.
There weren't many first-round picks that were a better scheme fit with the team that chose them than Floyd's fit with the Bears. Vic Fangio's 3-4 defense desperately needs an edge rusher who has the quickness to get around the corner of the pocket. That's what Floyd brings, and unlike his last year at Georgia, where he was asked to play multiple linebacker roles, expect the Bears to allow Floyd to do what he does best: get to the quarterback. At 6-foot-6 and 244 pounds, he's on the slim side, and doubters have invoked Barkevious Mingo's name as a comp. If Floyd's athleticism overcomes the size concern, he'll be an impact rookie and should be in the ROY conversation.
Ramsey's versatility and football intelligence are two assets that will lend themselves to whatever ROY consideration he gathers. He's experienced at cornerback, nickelback and safety from his days at FSU, and while cornerback is where he is expected to get his first look with the Jaguars, his ability to move around the secondary as needed will help keep him on the field regardless of down-and-distance situations or which defense is called. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks has lauded Ramsey for his football intelligence, and the Jaguars' porous pass defense (268 yards per game allowed in 2015, ranked 29th in the NFL) certainly needs immediate assistance.
Joseph's hard-hitting style should make the Raiders' secondary a more intimidating unit, but it's his coverage skills that got him off the draft board (No. 14 overall) so quickly. He'll be in a bright spotlight as the presumed replacement for nine-time Pro Bowler Charles Woodson, but if he rises to that challenge, he'll garner all the more attention in a pass defense that struggled last season (allowed 259 yards per game). With tight ends like Travis Kelce and Antonio Gates elsewhere in the AFC West, Oakland needs someone who can help control the middle of the field.
The Jets added the most active linebacker Ohio State had last year from a dominant defense that placed six starters in the draft. Second-year head coach Todd Bowles is a defensive-minded coach, and you can bet he and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers will devise an impactful, every-down role for the speedy Lee, who should play his best football on third down. The Jets boasted the NFL's fourth-ranked defense last year, so a positive impact from Lee will get plenty of attention, particularly in such a big market.