After being named to Mel Kiper's all-rookie team in early January, Adrian Amos and Donovan Smith are being honored once again. This time, they have been named to the Pro Football Writers of America's 2015 all-rookie team.
Amos had a very strong 2015. After being thrust into the starting role on a Chicago Bears defense that has been sharply and steadily declining since their most-recent Super Bowl appearance, Amos was an extremely steady hand in the secondary. He totaled 67 tackles on the year to go along with 1 sack and 2 passes defended. We said here on Black Shoe Diaries many times that Amos was going to find himself enjoying a long NFL career by being a consistent presence in a defensive backfield. I'm not sure that even we knew he would get started this early on, though.
Donovan Smith wasn't quite as impressive as Amos, but he still help down the left tackle position, protecting Jameis Winston's blind-side on a team that showed some signs of improvement. Smith's true tests will come in the upcoming seasons, when he is counted on to transition from 'rookie holding his own' to 'dominant force on the bookend'.
Congratulations to Adrian and Donovan. Hopefully a few more Penn Staters will follow in your footsteps next year as standout rookies in the NFL.