By John Turney and TJ Troup
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.