World
close

View Sportsbooks, Odds and Promotions available in your state.

backgroundLayer 1
BETTING

2024 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds: Who Prevails From Shaky Class?

We will always remember the 2024 NFL draft for the way it started with 14 straight offensive players, doubling the previous record. It also ended with 23 offensive players drafted in the 1st round, another draft record.

Time will tell if the NFL front offices were right on the defensive talent in this draft not being that strong at the top. This lack of trust in the pass rushers and corners can present some very interesting numbers in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds at top-rated sportsbooks.

We take a look at the contenders below with the best odds for Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY), and we provide our best advice on how to approach this year’s class.

Who Tends To Win Defensive Rookie of the Year?

The DROY award as presented by the Associated Press goes back to the 1st common draft in 1967. Here is the breakdown of winners by defensive position since 1967:

  • 27 linebackers
  • 13 defensive ends
  • 9 cornerbacks
  • 7 defensive tackles
  • 2 safeties

This includes a tie in 1980 when a pair of Atlanta linebackers (Al Richardson and Buddy Curry) shared the award.

Historically, linebackers win it most often. If you want to get more specific on the 40 linebackers and defensive ends, 26 of them could be classified as edge rushers and 14 were traditional middle linebackers or strongside/weakside linebackers in a 4-3 defense where pass rushing was not their main responsibility.

Recently, 4-of-5 winners since 2019 were edge rushers. The only non-edge rusher to win it recently was corner Sauce Gardner for the 2022 Jets. Gardner is the only winner of the award at corner who had just 2 interceptions. However, sack count is not everything for edge rushers winning it as none of Will Anderson Jr. (7.0 sacks), Chase Young (7.5 sacks) or Nick Bosa (9.0 sacks) had double-digit sacks when they won the award in recent years.

While the player who wins Defensive Player of the Year usually needs to be on a good defense and a playoff team, the same is not true for winning top rookie honors. In fact, only 10-of-22 winners of DROY in the 32-team era were on a playoff team.

Draft Status Matters a Lot

However, when we break things down by the draft status of the player who wins DROY, there is a stronger, more noticeable trend:

  • 47-of-58 winners were 1st-round picks (81.0%)
  • 9-of-58 winners were 2nd-round picks (15.5%)
  • Only 2-of-58 winners were not a 1st or 2nd-round pick chosen in the top 51 picks (3.4%)
  • 31-of-58 winners were top 10 picks (53.4%)
  • 46-of-58 winners were top 20 picks (79.3%)

Incredibly, no one has won the award who wasn’t a top 40 draft pick since 3rd-round safety Erik McMillan in 1988. Just as interesting, the only 2nd-round picks since then to win it were all off-ball linebackers, including Kendrell Bell (2001 Steelers), DeMeco Ryans (2006 Texans) and Shaquille Leonard (2018 Colts).

We know a top 10 pick is not winning DROY this season since no defender went until the 15th pick to the Colts.

The Edge Rushers

In this section, we are looking at the top 3 edge rushers in this class.


The Favorite: Dallas Turner, Vikings


For the 2nd year in a row, an Alabama edge rusher is the favorite to win DROY. Last year it was Will Anderson Jr. (Texans), and he prevailed in the end even if it didn’t look like he would for most of the season.

Still, Anderson was also a better prospect than Dallas Turner, who slid from where many thought he would go to Atlanta with the No. 8 pick to No. 17 when the Vikings traded up for him.

He will look to replace Danielle Hunter in the Minnesota pass rush, so that’s a positive for his ability to have a big role at a coveted position.


The Highest Drafted Defender: Laiatu Latu, Colts


With the No. 15 pick, the Colts finally ended the madness of every defender still available when they turned in the card for UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu. He was a very productive player in college and had some early medical scares, but he should be good to go this season for a team in desperate need of a consistent edge rusher.

Latu has the potential to lead this class in sacks if he can take over in Indy, a defense that produced 4 players with at least 8.0 sacks last year. Most of them had a career year too, and Latu is a better prospect coming out of college than these players like Samson Ebukam and Kwity Paye were.


The Aaron Donald Replacement: Jared Verse, Rams


The Rams finally made a 1st-round pick for the 1st time since Jared Goff in 2016 when they took Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse. He was the 3rd-ranked edge rusher by most experts this year, but it was a close battle with Turner and Latu.

Aaron Donald retired this offseason, so the Rams lost one of the best players ever at defensive tackle. Instead of thinking he could be replaced, maybe the right move is to go back to building up the edges and attacking that way. Their draft last year moved this way already with Byron Young, the 3rd-round edge rusher who had 8.0 sacks.

The Rams expect to return to the playoffs this year, they have a very good offense that should give them leads to rush the passer, and Sean McVay knows how to coach better than most. Maybe Verse is a standout right away.

Cornering the Corners

In this section, we are looking at the top cornerbacks.


Fade the Eagles This Year?


The 2024 NFL draft had an intriguing cornerback class, but the league sure seemed to sour on these prospects. When the Eagles had the No. 22 pick, every corner was still on the board despite a few having higher rankings on consensus big boards than that.

The Eagles had their choice of everyone, and they took top-ranked Toledo corner Quinyon Mitchell with the No. 22 pick. Just for some insurance, they also took Iowa’s Cooper DeJean with the No. 40 pick. That means the Eagles got 2-of-3 top-corner prospects in this draft class.

Mitchell has +1000 odds at Bet365 to win DROY, the best of all corners. DeJean is No. 7 overall among all defenders with +1600 odds.

Is that a good thing or not given the way the rest of the league looked at this class of corners, and do they take votes away from each other? Time will tell, but the Eagles did at least double their chances of hitting on a corner.

DROY Dilemma

The problem is the Eagles still have Darius Slay and James Bradberry on the roster. Maybe Bradberry will get demoted to a backup but Slay is unlikely going anywhere in 2024. The Eagles will also probably use DeJean in a slot role and as a punt returner, though the latter should not influence his DROY status.

Still, to win this award at corner is difficult. You basically have to be a pick machine like Marcus Peters (2015 Chiefs) or a lockdown corner of No. 1 receivers like Sauce Gardner on the 2022 Jets. It does not seem likely that the Eagles will ask either corner to take on that role this year.

They’re just looking for better play from the position after a brutal 2023 season. In fact, betting on the Eagles’ defense for DROY is probably going to trigger some bad memories for Jalen Carter’s bettors last year. The defensive tackle had a lead for much of the season, but with the Eagles’ defense falling apart and in collapse mode, Carter did not finish strong, and he eventually lost out on DROY to Will Anderson Jr. from Houston.

So, at least the Eagles have a new defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio, but it is understandable if one doesn’t want to trust this defense to get back into top shape right away with rookie corners, a tough position to excel at.


The Draft Night Favorite: Terrion Arnold, Lions


The Lions traded up to No. 24 to take Alabama corner Terrion Arnold, another favorite corner in this draft. That pick excited the Detroit crowd, which Arnold played up to immediately in one of the draft’s cooler moments.

Detroit desperately needed to upgrade at corner, and it did something similar to the Eagles by doubling up with Arnold in the 1st round and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. in the 2nd round. It’s just that most experts believe Mitchell and DeJean are better prospects than Arnold and Rakestraw Jr.

Still, Arnold will have a shot in Detroit this year. It’s just a little concerning that the Lions tend to get in a lot of shootouts, so his numbers in coverage may not look as good if he went to a better defensive team. In fact, Nate Wiggins (+2200 at Bet365) might be better value than Arnold as a 1st-round pick by the Ravens, who obviously play great defense most of the time.

The Longshots

The last player to win DROY with longer preseason odds than +1200 was inside linebacker Darius Shaquille Leonard, who was +3050 for the Colts in 2018. We look at a couple of longshots with odds of +1500 or higher this year who could win DROY.


The Defensive Tackle: Byron Murphy, Seahawks


With Mike Macdonald taking over as head coach of the Seahawks, it was not surprising to see the team go defense in the 1st round with Byron Murphy, the top-ranked defensive tackle prospect from Texas.

The excitement for this pick would be the work Macdonald did in Baltimore last year with defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who surprised everyone in his 4th season with a career-high 13 sacks. He had 8.5 sacks in 2020-22 combined with Baltimore. He was also just a 3rd-round pick and not as highly touted as Murphy is.

The hope would be that Macdonald can have some instant impact with Murphy this year and improve a Seattle defense that kept the team out of the playoffs last year. With the offense having solid pieces, this could be a team that returns to the playoffs with better play on that side of the ball. Getting a player like Murphy to have a DROY-type season would go a long way in doing that.


The Middle Linebacker: Edgerrin Cooper, Packers


With the 45th pick in the 2nd round, the Packers got what many believed was the best off-ball linebacker in the draft in Edgerrin Cooper from Texas A&M. We have seen 14 inside linebackers win the award over the years, including Jerod Mayo (Patriots) in 2008, the only player to ever win DROY without a single sack or interception.

Still, Cooper can get there with a couple of splash plays and a large number of tackles for what could be an improved Green Bay defense now that coordinator Joe Barry has been replaced with fresh blood. Throw in a potentially great offense with Jordan Love, and that means playing with leads, Cooper racking up tackles, getting some chances for picks and making an instant name for himself.

It’s a longshot, but you have to think about the pre-draft respect he had at a position that can still win this award, especially if it’s a down year for the edge rushers and corners.

The Pick

So, who are we putting our bets on for DROY from this class? In an NFL awards parlay, Edgerrin Cooper is a fun pick to include with those +3000 odds. Would definitely recommend him at that value in that capacity.

For a straighter pick, Jared Verse is the pass rusher to back. He plays on a team with an easier path to 10 wins and the playoffs again, he has a good offense to support his pass-rushing opportunities and should be a Week 1 starter at edge rusher for a defense that no longer has Aaron Donald up front. Time to step up and get the sacks from the edge again.

Laiatu Latu is another player to have some shares in this year, especially for those fun award parlays, but if we are picking just one, we’ll take our chances with Verse over the field, and especially ahead of those corners. There does not appear to be a Sauce Gardner in this class, or at least that’s what the NFL is telling us when they let everyone get to the 22nd pick before someone finally bit.

NFL Pick: 2024 Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jared Verse (+1000) at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

*21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler

Recent Articles

Caesars
Ease of Use
5.0

Simplicity and intuitiveness of the platform's design

Welcome Bonuses
4.5

Offers available upon initial signup

App Store Rating
4.5

User ratings on the Apple App Store

Play Store Rating
4.0

User ratings on the Google Play Store

Odds Quality
4.0

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

BetWay Sportsbook logo
Ease of Use
5.0

Simplicity and intuitiveness of the platform's design

Welcome Bonuses
4.6

Offers available upon initial signup

App Store Rating
4.4

User ratings on the Apple App Store

Odds Quality
4.3

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

Odds Quality
4.3

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

Bet365
Odds Quality
4.7

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

Play Store Rating
4.7

User ratings on the Google Play Store

Ease of Use
4.5

Simplicity and intuitiveness of the platform's design

Welcome Bonuses
4.3

Offers available upon initial signup

App Store Rating
4.1

User ratings on the Apple App Store

Join the
OddsTrader Newsletter
Table of Contents
oddstraderLogo
Follow us on

© OddsTrader 2024 All Rights Reserved

21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler. OddsTrader is licensed to operate in NJ, NY, PA, IN, CO, IA, IL, VA, WV, TN, CT, MI, AZ, LA, WY, OR, KS, DC, MA & OH.