Best NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Bets to Place Right Now

Best NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Bets to Place Right Now

Ryan Knuppel
7 months ago
3 min read

The 2022 NFL Draft started with five straight defensive players flying off the board. If nothing else, it proves that the competition for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award will be intense.

Several elite pass-rushers and cornerbacks highlight the group of DROTY favorites. However, there are some intriguing diamonds in the rough. Let’s analyze some of the top bets to consider for this prestigious award.

CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, New York Jets (+1000)

Even though he wasn’t the first cornerback taken, Gardner was widely considered the top CB in this year’s draft. His ability to smother receivers should immediately translate to the NFL. So why are his odds so low?

Sauce is +1000 to win the award for top defensive rookie, placing him behind seven other players, including fellow corner Derek Stingley. Some of the other players ahead of the former Cincinnati Bearcat include Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker and Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd, both of whom ranked well below Gardner on scouting reports.

Gardner is already the best cornerback on the Jets roster and should receive an opportunity to shadow some of the league’s top receivers as a rookie. Of course, that might make things harder for him. Yet if the 21-year-old manages to lockdown other teams’ WR1s, he’ll have an excellent case for the award.

Few prospects match Gardner in talent. Now, he’ll have an opportunity to prove himself in the league’s largest media market. 

The Jets also landed Garrett Wilson, who could be a top betting pick to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

DT Jordan Davis, Philadelphia Eagles (+2000)

Even though corners and pass-rushers tend to hog this award, some interior linemen make such an impact from the start to steal the prize. Davis could join past DROTY winners Aaron Donald and Sheldon Richardson in that group.

Davis is one of the many Georgia Bulldogs now playing on NFL Sundays. The unanimous First Team All-American projects as an elite run defender who can start on Week 1. Yet his +2000 odds are behind those of linebacker Nakobe Dean, his former Georgia and current Eagles teammate who fell to Round 3 because of injury concerns.

At 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, Davis will help Philly contain NFC East running backs Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliot, and Antonio Gibson. With longtime vet Fletcher Cox at his side on the field and in his ear off of it, the 22-year-old has a great chance to develop faster than his fellow rookies.

Davis could be a dominant force on the Eagles’ D-line for a long time. Considering him for DROTY shouldn’t be out of the question.

CB Alontae Taylor, New Orleans Saints (+6600)

The Saints have a knack for finding talent in the draft. Look no further than their 2017 class that featured All-Pro tackle Ryan Ramczyk and Rookie of the Year winners Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore. Could this year’s class deliver a similar result?

After drafting Ohio State WR Chris Olave and Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning in Round 1, New Orleans bolstered its defense with Taylor. The former Tennessee standout was a wide receiver-turned-cornerback that started all four years with the Volunteers. Although he’s a second-round pick, Taylor’s +6600 odds place him behind a few third-round rookies.

Taylor is a wise longshot play for a few reasons. At 23, his age and college experience should help him adapt to the pros quicker than many of his younger counterparts.

He has a good shot at beating Paulson Adebo for the other starting CB job alongside Lattimore. Plus, new Saints coach Dennis Allen has a solid defensive background specializing in defensive backs.

The second-rounder has the perfect team and coach to maximize his talent on day one. Keep an eye on Taylor when making your preseason bets.

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