2024 NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year Odds: Favorites & One Longshot To Consider

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Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated
NFL rookie odds

By most accounts, this was a weak NFL Draft for defensive players. For the first time in the common draft era (since 1967), a defensive player wasn’t picked until 14th, when UCLA pass rusher Laiatu Latu fell to the Colts. Due to the nature of no real standout options, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds are fairly evenly spread across the board. Vikings EDGE Dallas Turner leads the pack (+500), followed by Latu (+800), and then a mess of a half-dozen more players. With such a nebulous market, who might take home the DROY award in 2024? Let’s discuss.

NFL DROY ODds: The Favorites

Scroll to the bottom of the article to compare NFL DROY odds. Here are the opening odds for the favorites priced shorter than 10-1. There are only two this season, in this wide-open race. Click to bet now.

Click on the odds to place your betBetMGM:
Dallas Turner
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Laiatu Latu
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NFL DROY Winners and Trends

Unlike its offensive counterpart, the Defensive Rookie of the Year award is more evenly spread out across different positions. Edge rushers have a slight … edge, winning arguably five of the last eight DROY trophies. I say “arguably” because, unlike offense, modern defensive players line up at a number of positions, like Micah Parsons.

The other more popular position is cornerback. Sauce Gardner won DROY in 2022 and Marshon Lattimore, in 2017. Marcus Peters also broke up the defensive line run in 2015 with the Chiefs. But between 2003-09, seven straight linebackers won the award. Given that the modern linebacker – inside, outside, or otherwise – is asked to do a lot more in the passing game to counter the rise of RPOs, rookie backers aren’t picking up 120 tackles per game.

Since 2010, only three linebackers won the award. Even that number is arguable, depending on how you classify Von Miller, who lines up more often than not off the edge.

Defensive tackles have had a couple trophies here. Aaron Donald and Sheldon Richardson won back-to-back DROYs in 2013-14. However, it’s clear it takes a generational talent at DT to be in consideration.

The lone position to not have won DROY since 2000 is safety.

Players also almost always come from current Power Four schools. Since 2000, just two DROY winners came from outside: Shaq Leonard (SC State, FCS) and Brian Urlacher (New Mexico).

Are Any Non-First Round Players Worth A Bet?

Not only are DROY winners outside the first round rare, it’s more often than not a top-13 overall pick. 2021 winner Parsons was largely viewed as having “slipped” in the draft, but even he went 12th overall. Four of the last five DROY winners were picked inside the top four, with Parsons being the lone exception.

Since 2010, Leonard was the lone second-rounder, and he went 36th overall. Since 2000, three DROYs came from outside the first round (all in early Round 2). Only two more – Brian Cushing and Marcus Peters – came from outside the top 13 picks. Of course, with no defensive selections inside the top 13, this year will break that trend.

Highly-picked defensive players seemingly translate much better to the NFL than offensive players. When a team spends high capital on a defensive player, it’s for good reason. Recent history says stick to the premium picks. But if there’s a year to take a shot on a later draft pick, 2024 might be it.

Notable Defensive Players At The Top of NFL Rookie Odds

Given the recent run and premium put on edge rushers, it’s no surprise the three favorites are Turner, Latu, and Rams EDGE Jared Verse (+1100). All three have an immediate impact opportunity. Turner might have the biggest opportunity, as the Vikings lost their top two edge rushers to free agency this year. Verse joins a defense that recently lost one of the greatest defensive players of all time in Aaron Donald to retirement. All three defenses ranked almost identically in EPA last year.

Eagles CB Quinyon Mitchell (+1200) vies for the shortest non-edge rusher odds with Lions CB Terrion Arnold (+1300). Corners make an interesting bet, in theory, because their play often is so isolated from the rest of the pack. But of the last three CB DROY winners, two played on passing defenses ranked inside the top five in passing success rate. Of course, Gardner and Peters heavily contributed to that success, but it’s a necessary exercise when considering Mitchell and Arnold’s chances – will either Philadelphia or Detroit turn completely around from their 28th- and 30th-ranked coverage (per PFF)?

Seahawks DT Byron Murphy (+1500) presents the last rookie before a drop in odds. Considering the caliber player necessary to win DROY at a tackle position recently, it would take a monumental season for Murphy to be seriously considered.

Rookies To Eliminate From Consideration

2024 is going to be an anomaly. Given that no defensive players were selected earlier than 14th overall, the top-13 trend is already broken. So, keep in mind when looking at the list below that it’s more likely a second-round rookie will win DROY this year than in years past. It’s also more likely any number of trend-breakers win the award. But, given our historical analysis, here’s the top defensive rookies to remove from consideration:

  • Eagles CB Quinyon Mitchell: Since 2000, just two DROYs came from teams outside the current Power Four schools. If you want to include Garnder, since Cincinnati was in the American when he was drafted, Gardner did not allow a single touchdown in coverage in his collegiate career. Mitchell, solid as his career was, allowed five career TDs in the MAC.
  • Seahawks DT Byron Murphy II: If we’re ready to put Murphy in the conversation with Donald and Ndamukong Suh, then by all means throw a bet on him.
  • Packers LB Edgerrin Cooper: Luke Keuchly is the lone inside linebacker to win DROY since 2010.

NFL DROY Bet I’m Making

Ravens corner Nate Wiggins (+3000) is an interesting consideration for DROY. Baltimore’s track record of first-round defensive players is beyond impressive, having selected 2023 All-Pros in Kyle Hamilton and Patrick Queen in the past few drafts. Odafe Oweh is the lone first-round defensive selection by Baltimore not to have landed on an All-Pro list since 2013 (five players).

The Ravens already ranked inside the top four in passing success rate last year. This year we’re disregarding the top-13 requirement. But Wiggins comes from a Power Four program and snuck into Round 1 at No. 30 overall.

Wiggins benefits from playing across from Marlon Humphreys and in the same backfield as Hamilton and two-time All-Pro Marcus Williams. When the Ravens swing at defenders in the first round, they don’t miss. I’ll let the savvy scouting department do the analyzing of the player for me.

2024 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds

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