FF-Winners.Com Reveals: Top Wagers for 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award

A year after watching a cornerback win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award for the first time in nearly two decades, who are the favorites to win it this year?

Although the 2018 NFL Draft was heavy on big names on the offensive side of the football, there were a few standout prospects on defense who headlined this year’s class, and unsurprisingly, are among the favorites to win said hardware:

Tremaine Edmunds (+800) – After months of projecting him as a top-10 selection in the draft, it was something of a surprise to see Tremaine Edmunds fall to the 16th overall pick. The Buffalo Bills reportedly would’ve been content walking out of the draft with either one of quarterback Josh Allen or Edmunds with their top pick, so having the opportunity to walk out of the draft with both guys left them beyond thrilled. Head coach Sean McDermott made no reservations when discussing what Edmunds could do Buffalo’s defense; McDermott unquestionably sees Edmunds as being his version of Luke Kuechly, whom McDermott coached as the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. With the size of a (smaller) defensive end and the speed of a running back, Edmunds is a threat to literally rack up a myriad of stats, from sacks to tackles for losses to forced fumbles to passes broken up (if not interceptions). While he still has to further develop his football instincts, with the right coaching, he has the chance to be an absolute force in Buffalo very quickly.

Roquan Smith (+400) – Roquan Smith vs. Tremaine Edmunds was something of a “Miller Lite versus Bud Light” debate in this draft, with certain factions in the NFL favoring one over the other. But the Chicago Bears were absolutely thrilled to have landed Smith with the 8th overall pick, and to add him to a defense where they continue to add speed and athleticism. Under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, there are people who are immediately people who are comparing Smith to Patrick Willis, the former All-Pro linebacker whom Fangio coached while they were both with the San Francisco 49ers. As the textbook definition of “a football player,” comparing Smith to one of the best linebackers of the past decade isn’t that far-fetched. Nobody would be surprised to see him emerge as the best defensive player to come out of this draft.

Bradley Chubb (+140) – Bradley Chubb of the Denver Broncos is the favorite among the group, and for good reason. Even if he wasn’t the first defensive player taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, many people considered him to be the best defensive player among the class. Moreover, the simple fact is that big sack totals will very likely sway the votes of media members who cast their ballots for this award, and Chubb has the potential to approach – if not surpass – double-digit sacks. Most elite pass rushers taken high-up in the draft usually end up being the focus of the blocking schemes of opposing offenses, but anyone playing the Broncos has to deal with blocking Von Miller first and foremost. That’s going to present a lot of opportunities for Chubb to see one-on-one blocking situations, when he can leverage his size, strength, and relentless motor to attack helpless blockers.

About Rajan Nanavati


Rajan Nanavati is a professional sportswriter with over 15 years of experience covering the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, college football, and fantasy football. His work has been featured on ESPN and the Washington Post, among other publications. He runs a successful sports podcast with several hundred listeners per month at http://www.hailtothedistrict.com/.