Best Bets to Be Named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

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Kyle Hamilton poses onstage after being selected 14th by the Baltimore Ravens during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP.

Who are the top contenders for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2022?

Read on as we highlight the complete DROY odds for all contenders below and examine the best sportsbooks’ top three favorites as well as some of the contenders trading with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) right now.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds

*Odds as per BetOnline on Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Favorites for DROY Award

Defense dominated the 2022 NFL Draft’s first round as the first five players to come off the board all represented some of the best college talents on the defensive side of the ball:

  • Defensive end Travon Walker (Georgia)
  • Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
  • Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU)
  • Cornerback Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati)
  • Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)

However, only two of the aforementioned quintet are tipped among the Top 3 favorites at the sportsbook betting exchange to win the coveted DROY award. That’s the No.2 draft pick, Aidan Hutchinson, and the No.5 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux. The rest are considered among the contenders, but with odds in the quadruple digits.

Aidan Hutchinson (+450)

Hutchinson was tipped to go first in the 2022 NFL Draft by many sports betting platforms, but the Michigan Wolverines’ star edge rusher ended up as the second pick, going to the Detroit Lions.

Once again, he’s found favor with bookmakers in the DROY category, tipped at +450 with BetOnline. All things being considered, Dan Campbell’s defense last season was stout, though the Lions went 3-13-01 on the season. Many of their losses were determined by a handful of points.

Hutchinson will have the opportunity to be an out-of-gate starter in Detroit and that has had a positive impact on his NFL odds. Historical trends could also be working in his favor because two of the last three DROY winners were edge rushers that went second in the NFL Draft – Nick Bosa (2019) and Chase Young (2020).

Kyle Hamilton (+700)

Safety Kyle Hamilton emerges as the second betting favorite, tied with Kayvon Thibodeaux at +700. Safeties don’t often win the DROY award, so it’s somewhat surprising that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish product is among the top favorites for this award.

Hamilton went to the Baltimore Ravens as the 14th overall pick. Perhaps, the fact that he’s set to join one of the Super Bowl contenders might be working to his advantage here.

Kayvon Thibodeaux (+700)

The Oregon Ducks defensive end, Kayvon Thibodeaux, was selected by the New York Giants as the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Success in the New York market doesn’t come easy at all – it’s one of the toughest markets in the NFL.

The Giants are a rebuilding team with new head coach Brian Daboll, new GM Joe Schoen, and new defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.

Thibodeaux was a formidable force on the college front and he’s bound to make an impact. However, the Giants have many question marks hanging over them and it’s this uncertainty that could take the shine off the former Ducks defensive end’s odds.

Contenders for DROY Award

George Karlaftis (+1000)

George Karlaftis barely squeaked into the first round, going to the Kansas City Chiefs as the 30th overall draft pick. The Purdue defensive end opened around +1800 in early NFL betting futures markets, but his betting odds have shortened since.

The Chiefs are among the established Super Bowl contenders and the rookie defensive end is positioned well to contribute instantly. Melvin Ingram’s departure from the Chiefs opens a spot that Karlaftis could fill nicely.

Jermaine Johnson III (+1100)

Defensive end Jermaine Johnson III is listed among the contenders for the DROY award. The former Florida State standout was selected 26th overall by the New York Jets.

Whether Johnson III flourishes depends on Robert Saleh’s defense overall. The second-year head coach is coming off a rough start to his coaching career after leading the Jets to a 4-13-0 record in his inaugural season.

Ahmad Gardner (+1200)

Cornerback Ahmad Gardner was picked fourth overall by the Jets. He’s expected to make an instant impact on a team that desperately struggled on the defensive side of the ball last year.

There’s an opening for a true No.1 corner with the Jets and that could give the Cincinnati product opportunities to shine. Of course, a lot depends on the overall Jets defense and whether they’ll improve in Saleh’s second year.

Derek Stingley Jr. (+1400)

LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. went third overall to the Houston Texans. Stingley Jr. is a top-notch cornerback and he’s likely to be a starter in the first week of the season. However, the Texans organization is in the midst of a complete overhaul.

There are many uncertainties involved. Moreover, the quality of Houston’s defense leaves much to be desired.

Travon Walker (+1400)

Georgia Bulldogs defensive end, Travon Walker, was selected first overall draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2022 NFL Draft. There’s no denying his talent. Plus, he’s expected to be a Day 1 starter in the upcoming season.

However, the Jaguars aren’t expected to be contenders at all in 2022. As such, Walker faces an uphill battle with a suspect defense to win the DROY award.