- Chase Young (+450) is the favorite to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
- Isaiah Simmons (+800) has the positional versatility required to make splash-plays for the Cardinals
- Jeff Okudah (+2500) could become the third cornerback in the past six seasons to win DPOY
Chase Young was widely regarded as the best player in all of college football last season after leading the NCAA with 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles (even while missing two games due to a rules-violation suspension), so it’s no surprise to see the Redskins’ No. 2-overall pick favored to win 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Let’s review the full list of contenders and examine some DROY trends to determine if the 6-foot-5, 264-pound pass-rush monster is a good value bet at +450.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ODDS
|Player (Position, Team)||Odds|
|Chase Young (DE, Washington)||+450|
|Isaiah Simmons (OLB, Cardinals)||+800|
|Patrick Queen (ILB, Ravens)||+1500|
|A.J. Epenesa (DE, Bills)||+2000|
|Kenneth Murray (ILB, Chargers)||+2200|
|Akeem Davis-Gaither (OLB, Bengals)||+2500|
|Ashtyn Davis (FS, Jets)||+2500|
|C.J. Henderson (CB, Jaguars)||+2500|
|Curtis Weaver (OLB, Dolphins)||+2500|
|Derrick Brown (DT, Panthers)||+2500|
|Grant Delpit (FS, Browns)||+2500|
|Javon Kinlaw (DT, 49ers)||+2500|
|Jeff Okudah (CB, Lions)||+2500|
|Jordan Elliott (DT, Browns)||+2500|
|Julian Okwara (OLB, Lions)||+2500|
|Kristian Fulton (CB, Titans)||+2500|
|Trevon Diggs (CB, Cowboys)||+2500|
|Troy Dye (ILB, Vikings)||+2500|
|Jaylon Johnson (CB, Bears)||+2800|
|K’Lavon Chaisson (OLB, Jaguars)||+2800|
|Marlon Davidson (DE, Falcons)||+2800|
|Willie Gay Jr. (OLB, Chiefs)||+2800|
|Zack Baun (OLB, Saints)||+2800|
|A.J. Terrell (CB, Falcons)||+3300|
|Darrell Taylor (OLB, Seahawks)||+3300|
THE CASE FOR CHASE (+450)
Chase Young can become the fourth Ohio State Buckeye to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in the past five seasons, joining Marshon Lattimore (2017) and the Bosa brothers. Nick (2019) and Joey (2016) were two of just five players in the past 20 years to win the award after being the first defensive player taken in the draft, so we can’t pencil in Young just yet.
That said, the 21-year-old knows how to get after the quarterback and, historically, there is no stat more important than sacks when handing out DROY hardware. Some recent winners include Von Miller (11.5 sacks in 2011), Aaron Donald (9.0 in 2014), Joey Bosa (10.5 in 2016) and Nick Bosa (9.0 in 2019). Additionally, three of the four finalists last year were the top three first-year defenders in sacks (Nick Bosa, Maxx Crosby, Josh Allen).
“I’ve seen talented players come out, but not with a complete toolbox like he has.”https://t.co/j4e9Rm0NVD
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) May 5, 2020
Also working in Young’s favor is that he has a defensive head coach in Ron Rivera, and will be part of a talented Washington front seven (Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, and Ryan Kerrigan) that should help him avoid double teams.
On the flip side, he might not be on the field for many of the high-leverage defensive situations that result in sacks, as the Redskins’ 5.5 win-total suggests they won’t be playing with a lead too often.
Still, +450 is definitely a number to jump on if you can find it as Young’s odds have shortened to +200 on many major betting sites.
LINEBACKERS IN CONTENTION
As a public-service announcement, we should warn you that the last player selected outside of the top 40 in the NFL Draft to be named DROY was Erik McMillan back in 1988, and all but three of the winners since that time were selected in the first round.
Selected at No. 8 overall, Isaiah Simmons (+800) is an award front-runner because of his unique athleticism and positional versatility that will allow Arizona to deploy him at both linebacker and safety. The Clemson product is certainly capable of making the big splash plays required to get voters’ attention, but Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has yet to field an above-average defense in his career.
Isaiah Simmons making instant impact in his new community https://t.co/N4O2l4l8Pb
— Clemson Football & ClemsonNFL (@Tigers_Clemson1) May 4, 2020
Viewed as one of the steals of the draft after the Ravens took him at No. 28, Patrick Queen (+1500) will benefit from playing in the spotlight on one of the league’s stingiest defenses, but he’ll need to rack up tackle totals similar to Darius Leonard (163) in his 2018 DROY campaign to steal attention away from his talented Baltimore teammates.
While cornerbacks have won the honor in two of the past five years (Marcus Peters and Lattimore), the last defensive back to be named DROY prior to those two was Charles Woodson way back in 1998.
The Lions’ No. 3-overall pick Jeff Okudah is one of many rookie corners listed with odds at +2500 or longer; others include the Jaguars’ CJ Henderson (No. 9), Atlanta’s A.J. Terrell (No. 16), Chicago’s Jaylon Johnson (No. 50), Dallas’ Trevon Diggs (No. 51) and Tennessee’s Kristian Fulton (No. 62).
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 7, 2020
More of a lockdown corner than a ballhawk, Okudah is unlikely to tally the interception totals necessary to win a DPOY, but his schedule will give him a chance to quickly make a name for himself as he’s slated to face Davante Adams, Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins in 2020.
Best Bet: Chase Young (+450)
Top Longshot: Jeff Okudah (+2500)