NFL Defensive Player Of The Year Odds: Can Anybody Beat Eagles DT Jalen Carter?

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Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated
nfl defensive rookie of the year

The Offensive Rookie of the Year race is essentially on pause after Week 7 with C.J. Stroud on a bye week. That makes now an excellent time to look at the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds at the best betting sites. With Eagles DT Jalen Carter and Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon both producing for likely playoff teams in the NFC, this race should go down to the wire.

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds

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Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds: Week 7 Takeaways

Defensive Rookie of the Year is a two-man race at this point, with NFC playoff teams being aided by their high rookie picks. Jalen Carter was expected to be an instant contributor once he fell in the draft to Philly, but Devon Witherspoon has been a revelation in the Seattle secondary. What a fun story line after Seattle passed on Carter!

Witherspoon is the top corner in the league by PFF grades this season, an impressive accomplishment for a rookie. He’s top in rush defense from the corner position, in addition to being top overall.

Carter, on the other hand, has 3.5 sacks on the season already and is the No. 1 graded interior defensive lineman by PFF. The Eagles’ willingness to take Carter despite his off-field and character concerns in college has worked, given Carter’s impressive performance this season.

With two highly-qualified NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates, there’s a certain amount of nitpicking right now. Carter is favored right now primarily because of team success and the fact that Witherspoon’s only got one interception this year. Bettors in defensive categories gravitate toward counting stats, which means Witherspoon’s run-defense strength isn’t valued.

Is There Value On Devon Witherspoon?

The other reason to think Carter is a sizable favorite is that Witherspoon isn’t that elite on coverage. He’s 10th in PFF’s coverage metric, which, while impressive, isn’t as inarguable as the top-rated overall stat. With Carter first overall and at pass rush, it makes sense that Carter’s favored.

That said, the counting stats matter. Seattle’s Week 8 opponent is Cleveland, which means that the chances of there being at least one, if not more, interceptions out there from Deshaun Watson or P.J. Walker is real. If Witherspoon can get one next week, and Carter has a quiet game, there will be a decent chance he’ll move closer to Carter in the odds in seven days.

That said, the Commanders are fourth-worst in the NFL in pressure rate allowed by their offensive line, so that Carter will have his opportunities. Bettors with Carter DROY tickets will hope that he can be the one who gets home on Sunday, as opposed to what he was against Miami – a valuable cog that enabled others to get the stats.

Longshots Worth Noting

Will Anderson has been valuable to Houston as the first non-QB taken in the draft. Anderson is 18th by PFF’s grading at the stacked edge rusher position. More importantly, he’s helped the Texans get up to 19th in defensive EPA. However, he’s not putting up the counting stats to contend earnestly with only one sack.

The only other player with a remote chance would be Brian Branch, who has worked into the Lions starting lineup. While one interception taken back for a touchdown is impressive, 18th by PFF grade isn’t good enough when Witherspoon exists.

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Dffensive Rookie Of The Year Rankings

This Rookie of the Year ballot is not a predictive exercise. This is where I’d rank them right now, not necessarily where I think they will be at the end of the season.

  1. Eagles DT Jalen Carter
  2. Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon
  3. Texans DE Will Anderson
  4. Lions CB Brian Branch
  5. Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr.

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

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