Cushing named defensive rookie of the year

Texans’ linebacker Brian Cushing was named the 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

From ESPN.com:

Brian Cushing has become the second Houston Texans linebacker in four seasons to win The Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The tackling machine from USC, drafted 15th overall last April, is a runaway winner in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the league. Cushing received 39 votes, easily beating Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd, who had six.

Cushing was all over the field this year, racking up 134 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. He made an impact the moment he got to Houston and he seemingly has a very bright future ahead of him.

I do wonder though, had Byrd finished the season with a couple more picks (he missed the final two games of the season due to an injury) if the voting would have been closer. He tied Darren Sharper, Charles Woodson and Asante Samuel for the league-lead in interceptions this season with nine; would he have closed the gap between he and Cushing had he led the league in picks?

Either way, both rookies (as well as the Redskins’ Brian Orakpo) had outstanding seasons.

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