McCourty in mix with top rookies

In 2008, Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was named the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year. Watching cornerback Devin McCourty through the team's first seven games, could the Patriots have another winner this year?

McCourty, who has had interceptions in the last two games, has been excellent this season. He's missed just one snap all season, has proven to be a sound tackler, and has been competitive in coverage.

But a look around the NFL reveals that McCourty -- the Patriots' first-round draft choice -- faces some major competition for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

It's going to be hard to top Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who already has 6.5 sacks. He is the favorite at this point.

Some others who could be in the discussion are Seahawks safety Earl Thomas (35 tackles, 4 INTs), Eagles safety Nate Allen (3 INTs), Chiefs safety Eric Berry (41 tackles, 2 INTs), Buccaneers safety Cody Grimm (2 INTs) and Dolphins outside linebacker Koa Misi (3.5 sacks).