With two months of the 2023 NFL season behind us, it’s time to look at how some of the top defensive rookies have performed thus far.
Which top-10 selections from April’s draft have lived up to the billing? And who will follow in the footsteps of Jets’ corner Sauce Gardner as the next NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year?
Let’s look at the latest NFL DROY odds and make some best bets.
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award Odds
NFL betting odds used for these Defensive Rookie of the Year best bets are current as of Thursday, Nov. 2, and courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
- Jalen Carter (-130)
- Devon Witherspoon (+150)
- Will Anderson Jr. (+750)
- Brian Branch (+1200)
- Tuli Tuipulotu (+3000)
- Joey Porter Jr. (+4000)
- Lukas Van Ness (+5000)
- Ivan Pace Jr. (+5000)
- Emmanuel Forbes (+5000)
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award Best Bet
Jalen Carter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles (-130)
Before his off-field issues arose during the pre-draft process, Carter was viewed by many prognosticators as the most talented player in the 2023 draft class and the potential No. 1 overall pick.
His combination of speed, agility, and brute force made him a force to be reckoned with at Georgia, and that has translated immediately at the NFL level.
Playing mostly on the interior of Philadelphia’s stacked defensive line, Carter has recorded 3.5 sacks, forced two fumbles, and made five tackles for loss. He is directly contributing to the league’s best rush defense: The Eagles surrender just 65.5 rush yards per game.
Carter will likely see an uptick in playing time down the back half of the season, and if he keeps making a significant impact, he’ll take home the hardware.
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award Contenders
Devon Witherspoon, CB, Seattle Seahawks (+150)
If you think the run on corners winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year continues, Witherspoon is your guy.
The No. 5 overall pick from April’s draft has slotted in nicely opposite 2022 DROY finalist Riq Woolen in Seattle’s secondary.
- Want to bet more rookie futures? Check out our NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award Odds & Bets.
Through eight weeks, Witherspoon is tied for fifth in the NFL in passes defensed (eight). He also has one interception, which he took back 97 yards for a touchdown, and two sacks.
If the Illinois product continues making plays in coverage and on the blitz, he’ll have a chance to cash these plus-money odds.
Will Anderson Jr., DE, Houston Texans (+750)
The Texans sent significant draft compensation to Arizona to select Anderson, a highly regarded pass-rusher out of Alabama, with the third overall pick.
So far, the early returns on that deal have been a bit underwhelming.
Anderson has recorded 27 tackles but has just one sack in seven games. However, he did block a field-goal attempt in Houston’s Week 3 victory over Jacksonville.
There’s no denying Anderson’s talent, the production just needs to pick up over the second half of the season to earn further consideration for this award.
NFL Awards Betting Odds & Picks
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NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award Sleeper Picks
Brian Branch, S, Detroit Lions (+1200)
Branch, a teammate of Anderson’s at Alabama, couldn’t have dreamt of a better start to his NFL career.
In Detroit’s Week 1 victory at Kansas City, he intercepted a third-quarter pass from Patrick Mahomes and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
The second-round pick has had other standout games, including an 11-tackle effort against the Falcons in Week 3, but missed time in early October due to injury.
If he can stay on the field and affect games down the stretch for the likely NFC North champion, he’ll have a chance to surge up the oddsboard.
Previous NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award Winners
2022: Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets
2021: Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys
2020: Chase Young, DL, Washington Commanders
2019: Nick Bosa, EDGE, San Francisco 49ers
2018: Shaquille Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts
2017: Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints
2016: Joey Bosa, DE, San Diego Chargers
2015: Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
2014: Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis Rams
2013: Sheldon Richardson, DT, New York Jets