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NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year Betting Odds

Denver Broncos rookie Bradley Chubb during an orientation session at the Broncos' headquarters

The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award has rarely been in question over the past several seasons. This is not a category for bettors to overthink, as 15 of the past 16 winners of the DROY have been drafted in the first round – the lone exception was DeMeco Ryans, who was the first pick of the second round in 2006.

Let’s take a look at a few candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year and who oddsmakers like to claim the award.  

DROY Favorite: Bradley Chubb

Bradley Chubb was drafted into the perfect situation and oddsmakers know it, tabbing the pass rusher as the +140 favorite to win the DROY. Chubb takes his deep repertoire of pass-rushing moves to a Denver Broncos defense that also houses Von Miller. That means that Chubb will be facing single protection almost exclusively while Miller draws the focus of opposing offenses.

If there is one thing playing against Chubb, it is his fit in the Broncos’ 3-4 defense. Yes, Chubb entered NC State as a linebacker but bulked up and moved to defensive end. He seems a little on the small side to play end in a 3-4 and a little too big for rush linebacker. However, that is nitpicking because Chubb should be able to get after the quarterback no matter his spot on the field thanks to his technique and relentless motor.

Maybe Should Be DROY Favorite: Roquan Smith

Roquan Smith has the second-best odds to win the DROY (+400) but I can’t help but think he should be the favorite. Smith is clearly a plug-and-play linebacker in the NFL thanks to his speed and instincts. He is a heat-seeking missile of a defender who is more than capable of playing in man coverage, though chasing down ball carriers is where he excels. That means that Smith will be a three-down linebacker immediately for a Chicago Bears defense in need of consistency at the position.

The only thing that worries me is his size. At six-foot-one and 236 pounds, he is on the small side for a linebacker and could struggle to get off blocks in the NFL. There are players like Lavonte David and Deion Jones who have proven linebackers can be undersized, as long as they are fast and smart – both traits that define Smith.

DROY Sleeper: Josh Jackson

How Josh Jackson fell into the second round is beyond me. Jackson is a big, ballhawking corner with excellent recognition skills. His ability to read a play gives him the ability to record plenty of interceptions without being a gambler – meaning he won’t put himself in a poor position to get a pick. In addition, there is very little competition in front of him in Green Bay to prevent him from being a starter early in his NFL career.  

Jackson isn’t going to blow anyone away with his speed, which means his matchup needs to be monitored on the field. A pure burner can blow past him – which is concerning considering some of the receivers in the NFC North – but he will be able to battle and jam at the line with the bigger receivers from Day 1.

2018 Defensive Rookie Of The Year Odds
Bradley Chubb (DEN)+140
Roquan Smith (CHI)+400
Minkah Fitzpatrick (MIA)+650
Denzel Ward (CLE)+650
Tremaine Edmunds (BUF)+800
Derwin James (LAC)+800
Marcus Davenport (NO)+1000
Josh Jackson (GB)+1100
Jaire Alexander (GB)+1300
Harold Landry (TEN)+1300
Leighton Vander Esch (DAL)+1600
Rashaan Evans (TEN)+1800
Vita Vea (TB)+2000
Taven Bryan (JAC)+2000
Daron Payne (WSH)+2800
Darius Leonard (IND)+2800
Mike Hughes (MIN)+4000

Odds as of May 22 at BetOnline