NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year - Predictions & Odds 2020
Now that the young rookies of 2020 have been determined, oddsmakers have made some predictions as to who they think will earn the honor of being named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Which of the NFL freshmen class will deliver the goods at the next level and far exceed the other superstars vying to make a name for themselves?
Here we take a look at the odds and predictions for which of these talented NFL defensive newbies will be the best in 2020 along with some of their career information and accolades.
AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Odds as of September 1, taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Chase Young (+200)
Chase Young, the defensive end from Ohio State, was considered by many talent evaluators to be the best overall athlete in the NFL draft, so it was no surprise that the Washington Redskins snagged them with the second overall pick (and chances are Young would have been selected first overall if the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t so desperately need a quarterback!).
The Redskins’ defense was ranked 26th at the end of the 2019 season, so they could definitely benefit from having Young “The Disruptor” on their roster, the former Buckeye with 16.5 sacks last season (many of them strip-sacks), along with 6 forced fumbles, 3 passes defended and 32 total tackles.
For Young to snag the DROY award, his 2020 rookie season will have to be multi-dimensional, meaning an impressive number of tackles, sacks, quarterback hits and hurries, passed disrupted and however else the NFL tracks defensive nightmares, which Young is expected to quickly become.
Isaiah Simmons (+500)
The Arizona Cardinals solidified their defense last offseason by using the first overall pick to snag quarterback Kyler Murray, last year’s OROY recipient, and this offseason they did the same on the other side of the ball by selecting Clemson star linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the 8th overall pick.
Simmons had himself an attention-grabbing 2019 season for the Tigers and positioned himself as the easy favorite for first linebacker drafted after posting 3 interceptions, 8 passes defended, 7 sacks, 104 total tackles and a forced fumble last year.
This season, Simmons will line up next to linebackers Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks, and De’Vondre Campbell, so it’s not like he will have to do everything himself, but to earn the 2020 DROY award, he will most likely have to do way more than his fair share of the work.
Patrick Queen (+900)
The Baltimore Ravens had the fourth most effective defense last season, but that didn’t stop their front office from upgrading the squad further by selecting LSU star linebacker Patrick Queen in the NFL draft with the 28th overall pick.
During LSU’s run to the National Championship, Queen posted 3 sacks, an interception, 2 passes defended, a fumble recovery, and 85 total tackles, making him one of the top linebackers in this 2020 draft class.
How quickly Queen catches on to what the Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale has him do for the team will determine how well he fits into a defense that help opponents to just 300 total yards per game, but that should be easy for the young man chosen as the Defensive MVP of the 2020 National Championship Game.
Kenneth Murray (+1100)
The Los Angeles Chargers selected themselves an instant starter in MIKE linebacker Kenneth Murray, the Oklahoma kid who did damage to the Big 12 last season to the tune of 4 sacks, 4 passes defended, and 102 total tackles.
Now playing on the NFL’s sixth-most effective defense, Murray must now learn to work with Chargers’ second-year linebacker Uchenna Nwosu and the newly signed Nick Vigil, so it will be up to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to fit all these new pieces together.
The Chargers could use some solid play on defense while they are sorting out their quarterback situation (veteran Tyrod Taylor vs recently drafted Justin Herbert), and if Murray can be a big part of that effort, expect him to be in the running for the DPOY Award in 2020.
Jeffrey Okudah (+1600)
If there is any NFL team that could use the talents of former OSU star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, it is the Detroit Lions, a 3-12 team whose defense ranked second to last in 2019 on their way to a basement finish in the NFC North in 2019.
What Okudah brings to the table is a self-motivated team player who used his top-shelf speed and size to post 3 interceptions, 9 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles and 35 total tackles for Ohio State last season, Big 10 production that is expected to translate nicely onto the NFL playing fields.
Okudah joins successful third-year cornerback Desmond Trufant in the Lions’ secondary, and given that Detroit’s 7 team interceptions last year ranked second-last in the league, the talented pair has a low bar to jump over, though for the DROY Award to be earned, Okudah would have to do far better than jump low in 2020.
Who Was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019?
In 2019, San Francisco 49ers EDGE rusher Nick Bosa was named the Defensive ROTY.
Nick (younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers star defensive end Joey Bosa) had 47 total tackles, 9.0 sacks, 2 passes defended, an interception, a forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries his first year in the league.
And add to that a Pro Bowl appearance and a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie team.
In three 2019-20 playoff games (including Super Bowl LIV), Bosa recorded 4 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, 2 passes defended, a forced fumble, and 15 total tackles, though his team failed to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in his first (of most likely many) Big Game.
How is the Winner of the Award Decided?
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 6, 2021.
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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.