Several months ago, a number of prominent offshore sportsbooks posted odds for the 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. San Diego’s first round pick, running back Melvin Gordon, opened as a +650 favorite but was quickly leapfrogged by Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston. The top overall pick in April’s draft, Winston is listed as high as 4/1 to win the award at Bovada.
Earlier this week, the square offshore oddsmakers at BetOnline became the first prominent sportsbook to post odds for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Dante Fowler (#3 to Jacksonville) was the first defensive player selected in the draft; however, the former Florida Gator suffered torn his ACL and will miss the entire 2015 season.
The second defensive player selected was DE Leonard Williams, who went to the Jets with the 6th overall pick. Despite being the highest drafted healthy defensive player, Williams (+600) actually has longer odds than two later draft picks. This is likely because Williams is recovering from a shoulder injury and is less likely to record a high sack total due to the Jets 3-4 scheme.
Vikings LB Eric Kendricks and Saints LB Stephone Anthony, the 45th and 31st overall picks respectively, are the currently listed as +400 co-favorites despite their relatively low draft position. This is likely because 21 of 43 Defensive Rookie of the Year winners have been linebackers. The table below displays the historical Defensive ROTY odds for the past six winners. (Data from SportsOddsHistory.com)
|2014||Aaron Donald (STL)||DE||+900|
|2013||Sheldon Richardson (NYJ)||DE||+2000|
|2012||Luke Kuechly (CAR)||LB||+450|
|2011||Von Miller (DEN)||LB||+400|
Linebackers have dominated this award historically, but that trend has been amplified over the past years. Defensive linemen have won this award in each of the past two seasons, but 11 of the last 15 Defensive Rookie of the Years have been linebackers, including a stretch of seven straight from 2003-2009.
The table below displays the current Defensive Rookie of the Year odds at BetOnline and will be updated as new information becomes available.
|Player (Team)||BetOnline (7/23)|
|Eric Kendricks (MIN)||+400|
|Stephone Anthony (NO)||+400|
|Leonard Williams (NYJ)||+600|
|Vic Beasley (ATL)||+900|
|Landon Collins (NYG)||+1200|
|Bernardick McKinney (HOU)||+1200|
|Randy Gregory (DAL)||+1400|
|Shaq Thompson (CAR)||+1600|
|Denzel Perryman (SD)||+2000|
|Preston Smith (WSH)||+2000|
|Owamagbe Odighizuwa (NYG)||+2000|
|Jake Ryan (GB)||+2000|
|Marcus Peters (KC)||+2500|
|Paul Dawson (CLE)||+2500|
|Bud Dupree (PIT)||+2500|
|Shane Ray (DEN)||+2500|
|Arik Armstead (SF)||+2500|
|Trae Waynes (MIN)||+3300|
|Damarious Randall (GB)||+3300|
|Mario Edwards Jr. (OAK)||+3300|
|Hauoli Kikaha (NO)||+3300|
|Jalen Collins (ATL)||+3300|
|Markus Golden (ARI)||+3300|
|Danny Shelton (CLE)||+3300|
|Byron Jones (DAL)||+5000|
|Kevin Johnson (HOU)||+5000|
Earlier in the offseason, NFL.com posted their list of the top five Defensive ROTY candidates. These players included (in order): DE Leonard Williams (+600), LB Randy Gregory (+1400), CB Marcus Peters (+2500), LB Bud Depree (+2500) and LB Landon Collins (+1200).
No cornerback has won this award since Charles Woodson in 1998 and only six CB’s have won in the 43-year history of the award. When you also consider the fact that draft experts stated that there were no elite cornerbacks in this draft, it’s tough to advise betting on any defensive back.
One interesting name to watch is the aforementioned Randy Gregory. Though projected as a high-first round pick, Gregory plummeted on draft day after testing positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine.
At 6’5″ and 235 pounds, Gregory ran the 40-yard dash in only 4.6 seconds giving him an ideal blend of size and athleticism. In two seasons at Nebraska, Gregory tallied 17.5 sacks, 25.5 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions — one of which he returned for a touchdown. Currently listed at +1400, Gregory would be a solid value pick if he’s able to earn a starting role.
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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com.