Best rookie surprise
Aqib Talib’s arrival from the Bucs is often cited as a pivotal moment in the evolution and improvement of the defensive backfield, and there’s a lot of truth in that. While he’s not a shutdown corner in the Ty Law mold, he’s athletic, physical, and more than capable, and his presence has allowed Devin McCourty to move to safety, where he has thrived.
But the emergence of Alfonzo Dennard, a seventh-round pick out of Nebraska who has three interceptions, as a steady starter at the other corner has been crucial. The pieces finally fit, and Dennard has been an underrated part of that.