Of all the individual award races in the NFL, the Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY) may be one of the harder ones to predict. Yes, going with Nick Bosa last year was a relative no-brainer. But who would have guessed a second-round pick from South Carolina State (Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard) would have been the winner in 2018?
This year’s race has another big-name candidate, like Bosa, in Redskins defensive lineman Chase Young. But several other promising candidates are playing on better teams (PointsBet.com):
2020 Defensive Rookie Of The Year Odds:
- Chase Young +250
- Isaiah Simmons +600
- Patrick Queen +1000
- Kenneth Murray +1100
- Jeff Okudah +1600
- K’Lavon Chiasson +2000
- Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw, Willie Gay Jr. +2500
- J. Epenesa, Grant Delpit, Xavier McKinney, CJ Henderson, A.J. Terrell, Kyle Dugger, Antoine Winfield Jr. +3300
- Jeff Gladney +4000
- Kristian Fulton, Jaylon Johnson, Yetur Gross-Matos +5000
- Akeem Davis-Gaither, Troy Dye, Trevon Diggs, Zack Baun, Ross Blacklock +6600
- Terrell Lewis +7000
- Ashtyn Davis, Marlon Davidson, Josh Uche +8000
- Curtis Weaver, Julian Okwara, Darrell Taylor, Malik Harrison, Logan Wilson, Neville Gallimore, Raekwon Davis +10000
What makes this award harder than others to predict is that it doesn’t necessarily help to be on a good team. Yes, Bosa’s 49ers were good last year as were Darrius Leonard’s Colts the year before and Marshawn Lattimore Saints the year before that.
However, Joey Bosa’s Chargers were not good in ’16. Neither were Aaron Donald’s Rams in ’14, Sheldon Richardson’s Jets in ’13, or Luke Kuechly’s Panthers in ‘12.
Winning helps, but it is more important to come from a strong defensive team—which doesn’t bode well for Washington’s Chase Young. Don’t expect much of a year from Lions cornerback, Jeffrey Okudah, either.
It also doesn’t speak well for the Cardinals rookie linebacker, Isaiah Simmons, either. But if Arizona can go from having one of the worst defenses in the league to one of the better ones, he could have a shot.
Patrick Queen will be in a great position as a rookie linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. He joins what was already one of the better defenses in the league. With Lamar Jackson forcing opposing offenses to throw a lot (to catch up), he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make big plays.
Javon Kinlaw joins a great defense in San Francisco. While K’Lavon Chaisson will be on a not-so-good defense in Jacksonville, his pass-rush skills make him hard to overlook.
So—who should you bet on?
The hype surrounding Chase Young makes him seem like the safe pick. But the Redskins will be terrible this year, making it easier for offenses to game plan for Young. The same can be said for Jeffrey Okudah in Detroit.
Isaiah Simmons will have a chance to shine on a bad Cardinals defense, but can he stand out enough to win DROY honors? Eh—maybe, but unlikely.
The safe bet here is with Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen. He has the good fortune to be playing behind a stellar defensive line that will set him up for success early and often. But if you want a longshot, go with New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Dugger.
New England had a great defense last year, and with Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung sitting out, there will be a play-making void he can fill.