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|NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year||Odds|
Expect Thibodeaux to make a serious impact working in the new DC Don Martindale scheme.
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The 2022 NFL Draft was rich with talented defensive players, and those who become out-of-the-gate starters could make a giant impact on the teams who took a chance on them and that may just earn them the league’s next Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
The oddsmakers see the Detroit Lions new DE Aidan Hutchinson as the slight favorite to earn this coveted award, with New York Giants OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux ranked behind him and the Jacksonville Jaguars OLB Travon Walker the third potential candidate on this list.
Best to get your bets in early to take advantage of these preseason odds, so here we offer a closer look at our predictions, odds, and picks of which of these young superstars will be the next NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Good luck – win big!
Last season the Detroit Lions defense was ranked 29th in the league and they ranked 30th in sacks with just 30 of them, so the front office used their first-round pick (second overall selection) in the 2022 NFL Draft to snag talented DE Aidan Hutchinson.
A former Michigan player, Hutchinson has the size to dominate in the NFL, the 6’ 7” 260 pound pass rusher also capable of running the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds, with power and speed that helped him post 17.5 sacks and 156 tackles with 5 forced fumbles as a Wolverine defender.
If Lions HC Dan Campbell is smart (and he is), he won’t put all the pressure on the rookie Hutchinson to be the man and give the other DEs on the team – Charles Harris and Romeo Okwara – plenty of chances to take the double-team so Hutchinson can begin to shine.
The oddsmakers also like New York Giants new OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (pronounced TIB-ə-doh) who should bring some excitement to the Giants defense, this 21-year old former Oregon player a first round draft pick (5th overall selection) who should make an immediate impact.
At Oregon, Thibodeaux was a scary pass rusher, sacking opposing quarterbacks 19 times in three seasons as well as totaling 126 tackles (with 35.5 of those for a loss) and 2 forced fumbles with 7 passes defended, a speedy player who seems to be everywhere on the field all at once.
The Giants have a new DC now – Don “Wink” Martindale – who had a lot of success in Baltimore with the Ravens where he coached since 2012, an old linebackers coach who will most likely find lots of clever ways to use Thibodeaux in his defensive game planning.
After a miserable 3-14 season, the newly led Jacksonville Jaguars had the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and much to the joy of new HC Doug Pederson, the front office selected Georgia’s star OLB Travon Walker, a former defensive end that will be taking on a new role.
Jaguars DC Mike Caldwell will have the ex-DE playing OLB, an odd move to make with a #1 overall draft pick, but the 21-year old Walker has the size (6’ 5” 275 pounds) and the speed (4.51 second 40-yard dash) to play either position and still be a threat to the opposing QB.
Walker played for three seasons In the SEC, so he is used to making critical plays in big time games, the Georgia native with 65 total tackles (34 solo) and 13 for loss plus 9.5 sacks, 4 passes defended and a forced fumble with two fumbles recovered as part of the Georgia D.
One of the underdogs for the 2022 AP DROY Award is Green Bay Packers LB Quay Walker, a 22-year old former Georgia Bulldog who was selected in the first round with the 22nd pick in hopes that DC Joe Barry’s evolving defense could benefit from Quay’s powerful presence.
Walker is a 6’ 4” 241 pound linebacker who can run the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds, so he will be able to help cover the Packers midfield and keep opposing QBs nervous since he can also do some sacking with 5 of them while he was suiting up in Georgia from 2018-2021.
One thing Walker loves to do for sure is tackle runners, the LB with 137 tackles in college (79 were solo take downs) as well as 3 passes defended and a fumble recovery, all skills that Green Bay will be able to use, DC Barry’s 9th ranked defense always working towards improving
Ravens fans are ready to see what the new safety can do, and rookie Kyle Hamilton will get to work with Baltimore’s new DC Mike Macdonald who spent last season doing the same job for Michigan at the college level, a chance for both to make a splash on this defensive franchise.
For the last three years, Hamilton has played defense for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and in that time the 6’ 4” 220 pound Consensus All-American and First-team All-ACC defender has posted 138 total tackles (97 solo) with 7.5 of those for a loss, plus 8 INTs including one for a TD.
New Jersey Nets fans might recognize the name Hamilton since Kyle’s father Derrick Hamilton was drafted by them in 1988 and then went on to have a successful career in the European leagues, an athletic family whose son should make a solid run at this year’s DROYA.
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In 2021, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year was Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, a former Penn State player who dominated the league in his first year, earning First-Team All-Pro honors as well as a spot in the Pro Bowl, a lot for a 23-year old to accomplish.Well-deserved honors when you look at Parsons's rookie numbers – in 16 games he posted 84 tackles (64 solos) with 20 tackles for loss, plus 13 sacks and 30 quarterback hits and 3 passes defended, and 3 forced fumbles, a wrecking ball on the field with an endless engine running.Parsons is 23 years old and is 6’ 3” and 248 pounds and shares the midfield with LBs Leighton Vander Esch and Kelvin Joseph, a group that helped the Dallas Cowboys win the NFC East last season and make it to the playoffs where they lost to the 49ers in the first round, 17-23.
A nationwide panel of fifty members of the AP who cover the NFL on a regular basis selects the winner of the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award, and then they cast ballots at the end of the season before the playoffs.The league will announce the winner at the NFL Honors Presentation, which is held the night before the Super Bowl is played.This season, the presentation will happen on Saturday, February 11, 2023, and as usual, it will not be televised for the public, but chances are the names of the winners will leak out so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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