Since we broke down the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year futures in my other article, it’s only fitting we explore the defensive candidates as well. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top NFL DRoY prospects.
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year 2020-2021
Here are the top five picks on the board for the defense.
Chase Young (WAS) +400
Isaiah Simmons (ARI) +1000
Kenneth Murray (LAC) +1400
Patrick Queen (BAL) +1400
A.J. Epenesa (BUF) +2000
With the #2 pick in the draft, the Washington Redskins selected Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. Young is a 6’5″ 265 lb machine. He broke Ohio State’s single season sack record, with 16.5 to his name. Young’s dominance on the field made him a finalist for the 2019 Heisman Trophy. The nomination made Young just the ninth defensive player since 1982 to be considered for the award. Young’s 30.5 career sacks at Ohio State ranks him 2nd all-time behind Mike Vrabel’s 36.
So, how will that translate to the NFL and who’s his primary competition?
Isaiah Simmons is a dangerous weapon if used properly by Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. While he’s officially listed as a linebacker, Simmons can be effective all over the field. At Clemson, the 6’4″ 240 lb Simmons (who ran a 4.39 at the combine, by the way) played 286 snaps at slot corner, 218 at safety, 160 at outside linebacker, 120 at inside linebacker, and 17 on the perimiter. The man can and has played half of the positions on defense.
This versatility makes Simmons extremely valuable in the futures market.
Patrick Queen’s size is a concern for many. The former LSU linebacker stands at an even 6’0″ 229 lbs. If Queen were on any other team, I’d be more concerned myself, but the Baltimore Ravens know how to utilize their defense. Baltimore is rebranding itself as a fast-paced, in your face team on both sides of the ball. Queen’s instincts and ability to react to the run will make him valuable against the run.
As long as Queen doesn’t lose a lot of playing time to Malik Harrison, he can make some noise in the AFC North.
I love A.J. Epenesa’s upside and where he’s playing. The former Iowa defensive end is in a division full of vulnerable offenses (Jets, Dolphins, Pats TBD). My biggest concern with Epenesa is his potential playing time. The Bills defense was already scary last season, then they went and added Mario Addison, Vernon Butler, and Quinton Jefferson.
If Epenesa gets his shot, he’s a live dog here.
My favorite picks for the DRoY are Chase Young and A.J. Epenesa.
What are yours? Visit the BetUS sportsbook to place your bets today and take advantage of the early odds.