Tuesday, March 22, 2022

1955 Pro Football Journal All-Rookie Team

  By John Turney and TJ Troup
Alan Ameche
Alan Ameche was the UPI and TSN Rookie of the Year, after leading the NFL in rushing, rushing attempts, and rushing touchdowns. His backup Rick Casares led the NFL in yards per attempt (5.2).  It was a good year for rookie fullbacks,

It was also a good year for rookie linebackers. John Reger started in a 5-2 scheme but the Steelers transitioned to a 4-3 defense in 1955 and Reger played the middle in the 4-3. Fortunato, Hazeltine, and Morris were all special as rookies, Morris even playing at least one game both ways—at fullback and linebacker in addition to other games where he played one or the other, but mostly he was a linebacker.

As always it should be noted that in this era there were still plenty of guys who went both ways at times . . . Darris McCord being one from 1955, though there were a couple of others.

However, we think the "Retro" Defensive Rookie of the Year Award should go to Dicky Moegle of the 49ers. He was everywhere on film and picked off six passes. Don Burroughs, the Rams left safety stole nine passes. After Moegle it is likely Fortunato would be next in line for DROY. 

The secondary lines ups here according to TJ's film study, are not how they are often listed by position because players like McCabe and Patton and Doyle and Sumner played both corner (defensive halfback) and safety. 

The teams—


  1. ....last game of the season between Lions and NYG...both teams are coached by men who understand where the game is headed strategy wise....thus Beck starts at MLB for Giants, and Schmidt starts at MLB for Detroit. This is to whet your appetite for '56 all-rookie team.

  2. these compilations are so interesting....that trio of first team linebackers is another group (like the 54 OL) that I would take as a unit in a heartbeat....fascinating that all three had long careers....39 seasons (Morris 11, missed 58), Fortunato (13), and Matt Hazeltime 16)...I think Hazeltime's 16 was a longevity record for linebackers (and possibly all defenders) at the time of his retirement?

  3. Burroughs should be HOVG in my view. Great career. If Casares and Ameche hadnt been hurt later in their careers--though Casares kept staying productive--both could have been HOF players and Casares still has a case, though his yards per carries got lower. Halas played him but did he use him properly, or even like him ?

  4. ....on the days when Rick C. & Willie G. were healthy, the Bears sure had a productive and sometimes lethal combo in the backfield. The '61 Bears could and should have gone to a 4 receiver alignment, and Casares at fullback, with rookie Bill Brown getting some playing time. Oh, you would like the to know the 4 receiver alignment? Lionel Taylor split end left(he stays a Bear), Willie in the slot left, Ditka tight end right, and Morris flanker right. Getting Billy W. the Bears would have beaten the Lions for second place. Just one man's opinion. Burroughs only defensive back in his era to register 50 interceptions, and not make a PB.

  5. Why do you think that is, Coach Troup ? Just too many great secondary people, led by Dick Lane, for Burroughs to get deserving honors or did he gamble too much ?

    Galimore was definitely an exciting player. If only Hill could have stayed healthy and fast going into the 60s.

    Its time for Jimmy Patton to finally get in the HOF and Charlie Sumner could be a future HOF assistant coach/coordinator, candidate.

  6. Burroughs was 6'5"? Freak size even in todays game.

  7. Wow, what a rookie season for Moegle, who played on offense and special teams as well. His first three seasons seem to be really good until he got hurt and wasnt the same player ... Its cool finding out about older players that were good but forgotten.