INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has won a two-man race with 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith for the 2011 Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Miller, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, sparked a defensive turnaround in Denver with his steady and sometimes spectacular play. He teamed with quarterback Tim Tebow to energize the Broncos, who rallied from a 2-5 record to the AFC West title and a playoff win over Pittsburgh.
Miller received 39 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Smith, also a first-round choice, got the other 11.
The second Bronco to win the award -- LB Mike Croel got it in 1991 -- Miller made 64 tackles and had 11½ sacks despite missing one game and playing the last four contests with a cumbersome cast protecting his surgically repaired right thumb.