The rookie of the year markets are always good for a season-long sweat and atop the list on BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) this year is Washington linebacker Jamin Davis, will he take home the award?
What Position Usually Contests the Award?
The last 20 years have seen the DROY title go mainly to linebackers or someone on the defensive line. There have been 12 linebackers, six defensive linemen and just two cornerbacks chosen as the best young defender in the league.
The reason for this is fairly simple. It’s a stat award and it’s tougher for cornerbacks to put up stats that differentiate them from others in their position while the linebackers will top the tackle charts. The DL guys will put up QB hits and sacks. The cornerbacks have to put up multiple interceptions and shut down WRs which is a big ask in their first year in the league.
Who Are the Main Contenders?
Unlike the last couple of years where Chase Young and Nick Bosa were rightful favorites and made their talent count by winning the award. There were no stud defensive ends selected in the top half of the first round this season so the race for the prize is wide open this year.
Top of the odds chart is Jamin Davis who was picked 19 for Washington; the linebacker fell into the perfect spot for a defensive player joining a team who is stacked on that side of the ball but had a need in the middle of the field. He racked up 102 tackles in 10 games in his final season in college and will need to get near those numbers to take home the title this year.
Micah Parsons is next having been drafted by the Cowboys. He is undoubtedly talented and I thought he’d have gone higher in the draft. But he’s joined a linebacker group that is pretty congested with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Mills established in the team already. I don’t think he’ll get the playing time to challenge for the award.
Jaelan Phillips is the first defensive end on the list having been taken by the Dolphins at pick 18, a five-star recruit out of high school, medically retired before making the move to the University of Miami where he had eight sacks in 10 games in 2020. The talent is there and the Dolphins have a good defense that had a need at edge rusher. If he keeps healthy he could put up good numbers.
Kwity Paye joined the Colts who had a big need at pass rusher as well, and once again, it’s a good spot for the well-coached team who should be in winning positions for most of the season.
Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain were both top 10 picks in the draft so it’s not surprising they’re both in the top seven in the betting sites market here having joined a young Panthers defense and a very good Denver defense respectively. They’ll do well, I just have an aversion to picking corners to win this award.
Any Longshots Worth a Punt?
Gregory Rousseau was selected by the Bills at the end of the first round having won the ACC defensive rookie of the year award for racking up 15.5 sacks. Just one behind NFL 2020 DROY winner Chase Young, so it’s fair to say he knows his way to the quarterback. The Bills had a well ranked defense last year and he should add pressure upfront. I think he’s over-priced at +1800 on top sportsbooks.
At the far end of the betting at +5000 sits Joseph Ossai. As a Bengals fan, I feel it would be amiss to not give him a mention. It’s a position of need once more and reports suggest he was a steal in the third round for Cinci. With the loss of Lawson and Atkins on the defensive line, he should get a decent amount of snaps and it won’t take much to top the sack charts in the team.
Who’s My Money On?
I don’t like short odds on these markets and I’ll be avoiding anyone in the secondary. Can Jamin Davis win it? Sure, he’s landed on a great defense and will put up the tackle stats. But sacks get attention in this league so I’ll be avoiding him and taking a couple of shots on my longshots above.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.