November 29, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Isiah Robertson, 1971

Linebacker, Los Angeles Rams

Age: 22
College: Southern
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 225

Robertson garnered attention during a senior year in college in which he accounted for 112 tackles and 45 assists. The Rams, who had cleared out their aging corps of linebackers, chose him in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft (tenth overall) in an effort to add speed at the position. He moved quickly into the starting lineup and, after a slow start, came on strong as the season progressed.

1971 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – N/A
Interceptions – 4
Most interceptions, game – 1 vs. Atlanta 9/26, vs. Chicago 10/3, at San Francisco 10/10, vs. Green Bay 10/24
Int. return yards – 32
Most int. return yards, game – 20 (on 1 int.) at San Francisco 10/10
Int. TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
2nd team All-NFL: NEA
1st team All-NFC: Sporting News
2nd team All-NFC: UPI
Pro Bowl

Rams went 8-5-1 to finish second in the NFC West.  

Robertson started every game at right outside linebacker for the next six seasons with the Rams. Along the way, he was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection in 1973 and ‘76, received at least some All-NFL recognition in three other years, and was selected to the Pro Bowl five straight times. Robertson lost his starting job in 1978 and was dealt to Buffalo, where he rejoined ex-Rams Head Coach Chuck Knox and was a serviceable player for the last four seasons of his career although also prone to conflicts with teammates. Overall, over the course of twelve seasons, Robertson intercepted 25 passes, three of which he returned for touchdowns, and recovered 15 fumbles, scoring with one of them. While player sacks were not officially compiled until 1982, he was credited with an unofficial total of 25.5 sacks. Robertson was chosen to the Pro Bowl a total of six times, all with the Rams, in addition to twice gaining consensus All-NFL honors.


Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

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