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NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: A rare case of uninspiring favorites

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The Offensive Rookie of the Year is usually more predictable than its defensive counterpart. Top rookie quarterbacks effectively have the right of first refusal, and if no one in the new crop excels, the award goes to the offensive threat with the best statistics. With the first 14 picks in this year's draft coming on that side of the ball, it was almost like the NFL deemed this year's class of defenders second-class citizens.

In the Defensive Rookie of the Year betting market, it shouldn't matter where the eligible players were drafted. However, if there are no impact rookie defenders, the bar for stats needed to win the award is lower than usual, making a wide-open market.

Defensive Rookie of the Year odds

Dallas Turner +400
Laiatu Latu +650
Jared Verse +1000
Quinyon Mitchell +1000
Terrion Arnold +1000
Byron Murphy +1200
Chop Robinson +1500
Cooper DeJean +2500
Kool-Aid McKinstry +2500
Nate Wiggins +2500
Darius Robinson +3000
Edgerrin Cooper +3000
Payton Wilson +3000
Tyler Nubin +3000
Bralen Trice +4000
Jer'Zhan Newton +4000
Mike Sainristil +4000

Others listed at theScore Bet at 50-1 or longer

The favorites

Last year, seven sacks were enough for Will Anderson as he continued a run where 12 of the previous 14 DROY winners were taken in the top 14 picks of the NFL draft. But what if, like this year, there are no top-14 picks on defense?

Pass-rushers like Dallas Turner, Laiatu Latu, and Jared Verse are the best in this class, but if they're not surefire prospects like Von Miller, Aaron Donald, or the Bosa brothers, is backing any of them at a short price a good idea?

Mid-tier options

Given the uncertainty with the defenders in this draft, there's very little on which to base the odds above. Bluntly, they're largely made up from thin air. As such, none of the players we're monitoring during the preseason are 40-1 or shorter.

Chris Braswell (+5000) didn't start at Alabama, but he was productive, showing explosiveness and playmaking (key DROY criterion) with 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. The Buccaneers will use their second-rounder to fly off the edge, and he may be just as likely as the first-round pass-rushers to have nice rookie season statistics.

Ennis Rakestraw (+5000) gives the Lions exactly what they need: a dangerous cornerback. If Detroit's pass defense improves, he may get some added credit as the new piece to the puzzle. Meanwhile, Max Melton (+5000) might do the same for the Cardinals. Cornerback provides the best chance for a few flashy plays (interceptions) to turn into attention, so finding the defensive backs who'll be on the field is half the battle in trying to get lucky with a long shot.

Javon Bullard (+5000) qualifies under that criteria but from the safety position. Arguably the best safety in the draft, the Packers will be on national television enough that the Georgia product will be in the spotlight more than most while in a playmaking role.

Long-shot hopefuls

After a dramatic first round, the Falcons loaded up on defensive linemen. Who would you rather have: second-round pick Ruke Orhorhoro at 200-1 or third-rounder Bralen Trice at 40-1? Either could earn most of their playing time from the defensive end spot in Atlanta's 3-4 scheme, but we'll play the odds that Orhorhoro, the versatile former Clemson player, makes enough of an impact in the preseason for his odds to shorten to the same tier as his new teammate.

Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.

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