Who to bet for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

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While the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award typically gets more attention, the Defensive Rookie of the Year award should not be overlooked. Of course, betting on the winner of the best defensive rookie is not easy. Over the last 10 years, five winners have been defensive linemen, three have been linebackers, and two have been cornerbacks. Clearly, players at all three levels have a chance to win the award, although linemen have a slight edge. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top NFL picks from the draft and see which betting candidates for the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award are your best shot to win.

Chase Young, Washington (+200)

It’s impossible not to view Young as the frontrunner. He was always viewed as one of the top college football picks while he was at Ohio State and undoubtedly the best defensive player in college football last year. He’ll be an immediate starter on the Washington defense and will be expected to make an immediate impact. The only thing that could hold Young back is that Young could have fewer opportunities to add to his sack total if Washington is always playing from behind as they did last year. Other than that, Young is in great shape to be among the best defensive rookies in the NFL.

Isaiah Simmons, Cardinals (+500)

If you didn’t see Simmons play at Clemson, you missed something special. He’s an incredible athlete who can make plays all over the field. Simmons will play outside linebacker on the Arizona defense, putting him in a position to both rush the passer and drop back in coverage. He’s capable of making plays in both roles and should make a huge impact for the Cardinals. The only question is whether he’ll have the numbers to stand out because he can do so many things well.

Patrick Queen, Ravens (+900)

Despite being the 28th overall pick in the draft, Queen is in a prime position to contend for Rookie of the Year honors. He’ll be the middle linebacker for one of the best defensive teams in the NFL last year. That means he’ll be surrounded by great players and have a chance to rack up a ton of tackles. There is a good chance Queen replicates Darius Leonard’s Rookie of the Year campaign from 2018.

Kenneth Murray, Chargers (+1100)

Murray is another player who could gain attention as Rookie of the Year by amassing a high volume of tackles. He’ll play middle linebacker for the Chargers and be in a position to become an immediate difference-maker. Murray was a tackling machine during his three years at Oklahoma, and that should remain the case in the NFL.

Derrick Brown, Panthers (+1600)

Behind Young, Brown was the second defensive lineman drafted this year. As the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC, there should be little doubt that he’s ready to play in the NFL and can be an impact player right away. Brown’s only potential drawback is playing for a team that’s expected to finish last in its division.

Jeffrey Okudah, Lions (+1600)

If there’s one defensive back to watch in the Rookie of the Year race, it’s Okudah. He was a unanimous All-American last season and would have garnered a lot more attention at Ohio State if he didn’t share the field with Young. Okudah will likely be matched up against the opposing team’s best wide receiver, giving him plenty of opportunities to prove himself as the NFL’s next great cornerback and a Rookie of the Year candidate.

Story by Bryan Zarpentine


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