Boldin, Suggs top rookies - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Boldin, Suggs top rookies

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Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 7:26 am | Updated: 1:07 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A couple of weeks ago, then-Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis was talking about his prized rookie receiver and said, "There are a lot of records out there ahead of Anquan Boldin."

There are also a lot of awards ahead of him.

Tuesday it was announced Boldin was the unanimous choice of all 50 voters for The Associated Press offensive rookie of the year, a choice that wasn’t exactly unexpected.

The AP defensive rookie of the year also had an Arizona flavor, with former Hamilton High School and Arizona State star Terrell Suggs winning the award after his first year as a Baltimore Raven.

Boldin was unavailable for comment Tuesday, having returned to Florida because of a death in the family. But after a season in which he smashed the NFL rookie record for catches (101) and in which he had more receiving yards (1,377) than any other rookie in 43 years, there was no other pick to make.

"I came in expecting to have some success, especially with the opportunity I was granted here," he said recently. "But I didn’t expect the kind of season I (had)."

The second-round draft choice — 54th overall — also led the NFL with 40 receptions on third down. He piled up his numbers despite playing for an offense that had no other weapons for a defense to worry about.

"He’s got respect . . . around the league," McGinnis said. "I know the respect he’s had in this locker room and in this city since he has been here. He has earned it."

Suggs had 12 sacks after moving to linebacker, despite starting just one game and playing mostly passing downs most of the season. He had 23 votes, surpassing Dallas cornerback Terence Newman.

"I’ve gotten more confidence as a player, and my pass coverage has come together," he said. "I’m playing well enough now that they’re confident enough to throw me out there on first and second downs. It took a long time, but I’m getting it now."

In a bit of irony, the Cardinals could have had both players. It was long thought the Cards were going to take Suggs with the sixth pick of the draft in April — Suggs went 10th; the Cardinals ended up trading down to 17th and 18th — and they still could have drafted Boldin in the second round.

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