Odds at sportsbooks can vary, so be sure to shop around the market for the best odds on your plays.
Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan, who went to Detroit at No. 2 overall, is favored at FanDuel (+500), followed closely by Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon (+550 Fan Duel), who went fifth to the New York Giants, and Travon Walker of Georgia (+600 FanDuel), the top pick who’s now with Jacksonville.
But there are plenty of other worthy choices with steeper odds.
Past Winners Have Typically Been First Round Picks
Unlike the players who have won the Offensive Rookie of the Year the past 25 years, including one who was drafted as low as the sixth round, all but three of the defensive winners were taken in the first round of the draft in that span. Five were the first defensive player off the board.
Kendrell Bell, an inside linebacker taken by Pittsburgh in 2001, was the winner who went deepest into the selection process when he was taken 39th overall.
And here are some other tidbits:
- Four of the past six defensive winners came from Ohio State: Chase Young in 2020, Nick and Joey Bosa (2019, 2016), and DB Marshon Lattimore (2017). But fat chance that another Buckeyes defender wins the award this year since the only one drafted was LB/edge rusher Tyreke Smith in the fifth round (158th overall) by Seattle.
- The last five winners of the award played for NFL teams that made the playoffs, four of which were division winners. But before that, 10 of the previous 12 award recipients were on teams that sat out the postseason.
- The award winner who played for the team with the worst record was Pittsburgh’s Mean Joe Greene, whose Steelers went 1-13 in 1969.
- The only recipient who played for a Super Bowl-winning team his rookie year was MLB Jack Lambert, also of Pittsburgh, in 1974. It’s hard to believe this four-time world champion and NFL Hall of Famer lasted into the second round and was selected 46th overall out of Kent State.
The Betting Choice Here
Safety Kyle Hamilton (+950 DraftKings) out of Notre Dame joins a strong Baltimore secondary featuring CBs Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, both coming back from injury. Hamilton will get to make a name for himself on a Ravens team that should bounce back nicely after cratering late last season under a tsunami of injuries.
He’ll help a Baltimore team that is somewhat thin depth-wise in the secondary. Hamilton, the 14th pick in the first round, has a nose for the ball and could be like Dallas DB Trevon Diggs, who had 11 INTs last year. Plus, Hamilton is a much better tackler.
The Mid-Range Selection
Purdue DE George Karlaftis (+1800 DraftKings), the 30th overall pick by Kansas City, is a speedy edge rusher who also is capable of bull-rushing his way to the quarterback. He’ll get to share time and learn from standout pass rushers Frank Clark and Chris Jones.
Karlaftis will likely get a lot of chances to chase QBs since the Chiefs typically tangle with teams scrambling to come from behind. In 2021, K.C. faced the sixth highest number of passes in the league.
He’ll also get two shots at new Denver QB Russell Wilson, who has a tendency to get sacked often.
The Longshot Worth A Wager
The Pittsburgh Steelers grabbled defensive end DeMarvin Leal (+6000 DraftKings) out of Texas A&M in the third round to join a defensive unit that has finished atop the league in sacks the past five years.
With standout QB harasser T.J. Watt always attracting extra attention from the enemy, Leal has a chance to rack up some nice sack numbers against the team’s division rivals who all finished in the bottom six of allowing the most sacks.