2023 NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year Odds: Will Anderson, Tyree Wilson, Devon Witherspoon

Written By Brett Gibbons on April 28, 2023
Defensive Rookie of the Year odds

Immediately following Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, sportsbooks posted Defensive Rookie of the Year odds. Headlining them includes top 10 overall picks Will Anderson (Texans), Tyree Wilson (Raiders), and Jalen Carter (Eagles). In total, seven edge rushers, four corners, four defensive tackles, and a linebacker went in Round 1. However, some big names still exist on the board that could contend for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Let’s dive into the odds.

Click on odds anywhere in this post to place a bet on Defensive Rookie of the Year. Be sure to check our rundown of early Offensive Rookie of the Year markets.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Can Anyone Catch Will Anderson?

Despite some pre-draft steam that Anderson may fall outside the top four picks, the Texans traded back up to third overall to take him. At Alabama, he posted video game numbers, including 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2021. Now, Anderson leads DROY odds at +350.

While the concept of “EDGE” is a relatively new term, just three pass rushers (DE or EDGE) have won the award since 2013. Throughout much of the mid-2000s, DROY was a linebacker award, but more recently it’s become a diversified one. No longer are gaudy sack or tackles stats required to win DROY, rather a more subjective approach is taken by voters, unlike Offensive Rookie of the Year. Last year’s winner, Sauce Gardner, tallied just two interceptions.

Anderson will play for Demeco Ryans, a former Alabama outside linebacker and 49ers defensive coordinator. He’ll likely play as a hand-in-the-dirt pass rusher in Ryans’ four-man front, although Anderson excelled at Alabama as a stand-up rusher.

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Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds: The Contenders

Wilson and Carter both come in behind Anderson at +800. Mostly, this is in response to draft position, with Wilson picked seventh and Carter ninth. Perhaps Wilson single-handedly revamps the Raiders defense (which finished 30th in EPA/play last year), but playing in a division as offensively loaded as the AFC West certainly hurts his chances. Carter plays alongside Georgia teammates Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, and now Nolan Smith, which could create a narrative that he’s a piece in a grander scheme.

Perhaps a more viable name to consider in this mid-range is Seahawks corner Devon Witherspoon (+900). Seattle picked the Illinois corner fifth overall, ahead of Carter and Wilson, two names frequently mocked to the Seahawks. Last year, rookie Tariq Woolen jumped off the page as a fifth-round prospect. He placed third in last year’s DROY race and should help provide a solid foundation to which Witherspoon can add.

First Round Edge Rushers

Three pass rushers jump off the page in terms of DROY odds – Lukas Van Ness (Packers), Nolan Smith (Eagles), and Will McDonald (Jets). McDonald (+2000) perhaps raised the most eyebrows, being taken 15th overall after being projected as a fringe Round 1 player. At the Senior Bowl, he impressed scouts and played in a different gear than most other invitees.

Smith’s tumble down the draft board was perhaps just as eyebrow-raising as McDonald’s jump inside the top 20. However, he lands in a terrific situation with his other Bulldog teammates in Philadelphia. Smith may face a similar problem as Carter for DROY considerations, potentially being a cog in the machine rather than a standout player.

A Longshot To Consider

In the words of “Breaking Bad’s” Jesse Pinkman, “They can’t keep getting away with this!”

The New England Patriots, indeed, keep getting away with this. After parting ways with Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and Pro Bowler JC Jackson, and turning UDFA Jonathan Jones into a viable Pro Bowl candidate, they landed Oregon stud Christian Gonzalez. He fell into their laps after pre-draft markets had him pegged as a likely top-10 pick. This feels akin to Micah Parsons to Dallas – an All-American who fell further than he should have into a great situation.

Gonzalez (+1000) logged a 9.95 Relative Athletic Score (RAS), third-highest in this year’s class. He was the favorite to be selected seventh overall by the Raiders until a few other pieces fell. Despite trading back to 17, the Patriots still managed to cash in on a top-10 talent.

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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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