The NFL is always buzzing with anticipation and excitement, and one of the most thrilling aspects is the when a new batch of rookies enter the league looking to make their mark. Now that the draft has injected fresh talent across the country, fans are eagerly waiting to see how it will affect the odds and outcomes of the 2023-24 NFL season.
In April we saw some of the greatest college players join teams in desperate need of help, from starting quarterbacks to elite edge rushers. And with training camps well underway, we're all on the edge of our seats for statistics and scouting reports to help predict the players most likely to shine in the upcoming season.
The conversation surrounding the 2024 Defensive Rookie of the Year has already intensified as fans and experts debate which rising star will stand head and shoulders above their peers. So, as we prepare for the 2024 NFL season, it's time to look to the future and explore the odds for the potential winner of this coveted award.
What is the Defensive Rookie of the Year award?
The prestigious NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award (DROY) indicates which rookie made the biggest impact on the turf that year. The player chosen will have shown exceptional skills, determination, and the ability to make game-changing plays. Whether it's a stunning interception, a crucial sack, or a game-saving tackle, these young defenders showcase their incredible talents and rightfully earn recognition for their performances.
Sauce Gardner took home the DROY award after displaying superior smarts for a rookie corner - a position notoriously difficult for first-year players. His ability to pester receivers and react to the ball upon its arrival was impressive from the jump. Gardner continued to dominate throughout the season and eventually earned the title of the greatest defensive rookie in the 23/24 season.
Now, let's take a look at the top prospects and the underdogs who could win NFL's 2024 Defensive Rookie of the Year award, and make some far-too-early predictions...
Here are the latest sports betting odds for this year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (via FanDuel Sportsbook):
Will Anderson Jr. (+350)
Jalen Carter (+600)
Tyree Wilson (+750)
Christian Gonzalez (+1100)
Devon Witherspoon (+1100)
Lukas Van Ness (+1400)
Emmanuel Forbes (+1700)
Jack Campbell (+1800)
Felix Anudike-Uzomah (+1800)
Deonte Banks (+2000)
Nolan Smith (+2200)
Calijah Kancey (+2500)
Drew Sanders (+2500)
Will McDonald IV (+2500)
Brian Branch (+2500)
Joey Porter Jr. (+2500)
Myles Murphy (+2800)
Kelee Ringo (+3300)
The Favourite: Will Anderson Jr. (+350)
There's so much talent among the top contenders, but defensive end Will Anderson Jr. has opened as the favorite to win.
Anderson Jr. was chosen by the Houston Texans as the third overall pick and the first defensive player in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Having showcased his skills over three seasons at Alabama, Anderson Jr. demonstrated his prowess with remarkable statistics. In 41 games, he logged 115 solo tackles (204 tackles overall), 58.5 tackles for loss, 34.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and even an interception returned for a touchdown. He not only proved he could handle the responsibilities of a run-stuffing lineman, but also proved to be a versatile and impactful player across the field.
Anderson Jr. also received several noteworthy awards during his collegiate career. He was honored as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in both 2021 and 2022, and earned the unanimous distinction of being a first-team All-American in those same years.
Anderson Jr. played a huge role in Alabama's National Championship victory in 2020, solidifying his reputation as a player who thrives in high-pressure situations. And to further showcase his excellence, he was recognized with both the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, with the latter being awarded to him twice.
If Anderson Jr.'s highlight reel is anything to go by, it wouldn't be a shock to see him transition well into the big league.
The Texans traded BACK UP for the No. 3 pick and are taking Alabama edge Will Anderson Jr.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 28, 2023
B/R’s No. 1 overall prospect 👀 pic.twitter.com/4j8SGxp5jf
It's clear that Will Anderson Jr. is no stranger to receiving awards and will undoubtedly make a strong case for DROY, but the odds aren't everything... What's to say the underdog of the pack won't steal the show?
The Underdog: Kelee Ringo (+3300)
At the bottom of the list, we have cornerback Kelee Ringo with the lowest odds to win DROY (+3300). It may seem like a long shot, but it certainly guarantees a nice payout if he wins...
Ringo was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 105 overall pick, joining many other fellow Bulldogs in their lineup.
Ringo was a highly sought-after player from Saguaro High School in Arizona after catching the attention of college football recruiters all across the country. His exceptional skills and top-rated five-star ranking, put him among the best recruits in the nation. In 2020, Ringo decided to become a Georgia Bulldog.
Although he was a redshirt for his first year, Ringo wasted no time when he finally got the chance to play. In his second season, he burst onto the field and made a huge impact on his team's success - making 34 tackles, breaking up 8 passes, grabbing 2 interceptions, and even getting a sack. His consistent performance earned him well-deserved recognition and a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team.
To finish off his standout season, Ringo made a play that will be remembered for years to come. In a game against Alabama and their talented quarterback Bryce Young, Ringo made a game-changing interception and sprinted to the end zone, securing the national championship for Georgia.
Ringo's incredible journey from high school stardom to college triumph showcases his undeniable talent and determination. With such a strong foundation, it's no surprise that people have high expectations for his future achievements. If he can rise to the occasion, like he did in the national championship, he certainly has a shot at DROY.
Our Prediction: Jalen Carter (+600)
We're not pushing the boat out too far with this prediction, as Jalen Carter sits as the second favourite to win the 2024 DROY award, but picking Carter comes with a set of very good reasons...
Defensive tackle Jalen Carter was selected by Philadelphia Eagles with pick No.9 and will be joining fellow rookies from Georgia, Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo in Philly's defensive lineup. The existing chemistry these players have should only help boost their performances in the league.
Carter was considered the most talented player in the entire class entering the draft, regardless of position, but after experiencing some controversy with the law during the spring, his draft stock fell massively. Either way, getting him at 9th overall is an absolute steal.
Carter was a 5-star recruit coming out of Apopka High School in Florida, and quickly emerged as a shining star in Georgia's victorious defense. With ideal measurables size - standing tall at 6-foot-3 and weighing 310 pounds - he has showcased his prowess as a formidable force against the run and a disruptive presence on the pass rush. Throughout 2021 and 2022, Carter's contributions were evident, as he recorded an impressive 15.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.
His dominance in the run-game will be key in the NFC East, as he'll come up against some of the top running backs in the league, including Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard and Antonio Gibson. Combined with his ability to create pressure on the QB, he holds the perfect combination for any defensive tackle.
Carter will only make things easier for Jalen Hurts' offense, which relies on an impressive ground game and elite clock management.
It's almost impossible to see Jalen Carter fail in Philly, which is why he's our prediction for the 2024 DROY.
So, there you have it, all the odds and info for the 2024 DROY award. Do you think Jalen Carter will steal the show? Or have we got it all wrong? Let us know who you've got your money on by heading to our Twitter & Instagram, where you'll get a first look at all the latest content from Best Sports Odds.
And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our prediction on who will take home the 2024 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award...
(Header Image Credit: Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports)