Who will win the 2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year?

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

May 2, 2023 08:30 PM

2023 NFL Draft class odds for Defensive Rookie of the Year

Some game-changers on defense were taken in the 2023 NFL Draft and the ones with the best tape and the most impressive stats are among the favorites to win the 2023 Defensive Rookie of the Year. It is an award that has been spread around all of the defensive positions. Unlike the Offensive Rookie of the Year, which has generally been focused more on quarterbacks or wide receivers, the DROY doesn’t have nearly as much of a bias recently.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds (DraftKings)

Odds as of May 2, 4:00 p.m. PT

  • Will Anderson +350
  • Tyree Wilson +800
  • Jalen Carter +800
  • Devon Witherspoon +900
  • Christian Gonzalez +1000
  • Lukas Van Ness +1200
  • Emmanuel Forbes +1400
  • Nolan Smith +1600
  • Will McDonald IV +2000
  • Myles Murphy +2000
  • Joey Porter Jr. +2000
  • Jack Campbell +2000
  • Felix Anudike-Uzomah +2000
  • Drew Sanders +2000
  • Deonte Banks +2000
  • Brian Branch +2000
  • All others +2500 or higher

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year winners

Dating back to 2000, there have been 13 linebackers, seven defensive linemen, and three defensive backs. However, there have only been two linebackers to win since 2012, with the “EDGE” position winning more than a traditional linebacker.

Linebackers: Micah Parsons (2021), Shaq Leonard (2018), Luke Kuechly (2012), Von Miller (2011), Brian Cushing (2009), Jerod Mayo (2008), Patrick Willis (2007), DeMeco Ryans (2006), Shawne Merriman (2005), Jonathan Vilma (2004), Terrell Suggs (2003), Kendrell Bell (2001), Brian Urlacher (2000)

Defensive Lineman: Chase Young (2020), Nick Bosa (2019), Joey Bosa (2016), Aaron Donald (2014), Sheldon Richardson (2013), Ndumakong Suh (2010), Julius Peppers (2002), 

Defensive Backs: Sauce Gardner (2022), Marshon Lattimore (2017), Marcus Peters (2015)

You don’t have to be a first-round pick to win this award, but there is a big bias towards first-round picks. The Defensive Rookie of the Year winners since 2000 break down like this:

Sauce Gardner (1st round, 4th overall)

Micah Parsons (1st round, 12th overall)

Chase Young (1st round, 2nd overall)

Nick Bosa (1st round, 2nd overall)

Shaq Leonard (2nd round, 36th overall)

Marshon Lattimore (1st round, 11th overall)

Joey Bosa (1st round, 3rd overall)

Marcus Peters (1st round, 18th overall)

Aaron Donald (1st round, 13th overall)

Sheldon Richardson (1st round, 13th overall)

Luke Kuechly (1st round, 9th overall)

Von Miller (1st round, 2nd overall)

Ndumakong Suh (1st round, 2nd overall)

Brian Cushing (1st round, 15th overall)

Jerod Mayo (1st round, 10th overall)

Patrick Willis (1st round, 11th overall)

DeMeco Ryans (2nd round, 33rd overall)

Shawne Merriman (1st round, 12th overall)

Jonathan Vilma (1st round, 12th overall)

Terrell Suggs (1st round, 10th overall)

Julius Peppers (1st round, 2nd overall)

Kendrell Bell (2nd round, 39th overall)

Brian Urlacher (1st round, 9th overall)

Of the last 23 winners, 20 have been first-round picks. Furthermore, 18 of the 20 have been taken in the first half of the first round. Since 2000, the highest pick to win Defensive Rookie of the Year went 39th overall.

Will Anderson Rookie of the Year odds

The Texans traded up to get Anderson, widely-regarded as the top pass rusher in the draft. After using the No. 2 pick on CJ Stroud, Houston sent what very well could be a top-five pick next to Arizona in order to move up to No. 3. It’s safe to say that new Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans knows a thing or two about impact players on defense. After all, he was the 2006 Defensive Rookie of the Year and that would make for a great story this year. He is the favorite at +350.

Tyree Wilson Rookie of the Year odds

The Texas Tech linebacker went to the Raiders and finds himself in a division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Russell Wilson, so any impact he has will be magnified by the special players that he’s going up against. He is coming off of a major foot injury, but he wouldn’t have been such a high pick without a good forecast for his future production. Wilson had 14 sacks over his final two years and has incredible speed for being 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds. WIlson is a co-second favorite at +800.

Jalen Carter Rookie of the Year odds

Many scouts and analysts said that Carter was the best player in the draft, but some off-field concerns and some questions about his love of football pushed him down the board. He also didn’t look good or grade well during the combine. All that said, the Georgia defensive tackle goes to a really good Eagles team that should have him energized and also in a place to succeed. Carter is a co-second favorite at +900. He does go to a better team than others, so we’ll see about his snap share as the season goes along.

Devon Witherspoon Rookie of the Year odds

Witherspoon’s new teammate, Tariq Woolen, finished third to Sauce Gardner and Aidan Hutchinson last year. The Seahawks have a reputation for developing outstanding defensive backs and Witherspoon is a guy that simply needs a little polish. Defensive backs don’t win this award often, but have won three times since 2015. He has a good chance and a nice price at +900.

Christian Gonzalez Rookie of the Year odds

Some scouts felt like the Oregon product was the best defensive back in this year’s class, but he fell all the way to the Patriots at No. 17. That seems like a pretty good landing spot, though, with a defensive genius in Bill Belichick at the helm and a lot of good cornerbacks have played in Foxboro. Like the landing spot for Wilson, Gonzalez has the chance to make an impact against QBs Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers, plus he will draw assignments like Stefon Diggs, Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, and Garrett Wilson, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

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