Early Odds and Analysis for the 2022 NFL Defensive ROY

By Nicholas Sterling in NFL
| July 24, 2022 1:06 pm PDT
NFL logo, 2022 Defensive ROY Odds, Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker, and Nakobe Dean

The defensive side of the ball dominated the top of the 2022 NFL draft. With four defensive players following him, edge rusher Travon Walker was the No. 1 pick. Edge rusher was in the top position, with three in the top five.

Those players should top the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds. They have a solid chance to make an impact in their rookie season.

Last season, Micah Parsons won Defensive Rookie of the Year while battling for DPOY. Let’s see who has the best odds to win NFL Defensive ROY.

NFL Defensive ROY Odds for 2022

    • Aidan Hutchinson (+500)
    • Kayvon Thibodeaux (+550)
    • Travon Walker (+750)
    • Kyle Hamilton (+800)
    • Quay Walker (+800)
    • Devin Lloyd (+900)
    • Jermaine Johnson II (+900)
    • Ahmad Gardner (+1000)
    • Derek Stingley Jr. (+1000)
    • Nakobe Dean (+1200)

Travon Walker was the No. 1 overall pick, but the top US betting sites have Aidan Hutchinson as the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Hutchinson nearly won the Heisman Trophy after an impressive season at Michigan.

You don’t need to be a high draft pick to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Quay Walker, Devin Lloyd, and Jermaine Johnson II weren’t top 20 picks. Meanwhile, Nakobe Dean went in the third round.

The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award odds don’t have many cornerbacks near the top. Derek Stingley Jr. and Ahmad Gardner were top-five picks, but the odds aren’t on their side.

Head to Bovada to see the complete list of 2022 NFL Defensive ROY odds list.

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Bovada gives us the complete list of odds. Feel free to read a site review before visiting the site.

Why Is Aidan Hutchinson the Favorite?

Aidan Hutchinson didn’t significantly impact his first three seasons at Michigan. His 2020 season lasted three games after suffering a season-ending injury. Hutchinson put himself on the map with an outstanding senior season.

He looked unstoppable in Michigan’s second game, recording four tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss. He later had a season-high seven tackles and three sacks against Ohio State.

Hutchinson finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. It’s rare for a defensive player to finish that high in the voting. It looked like he would go No. 1 in the 2022 NFL draft, but the Jacksonville Jaguars opted for Travon Walker.

That prompted the Detroit Lions to take the star edge rusher.

I imagine Hutchinson would’ve loved to be the No. 1 pick, but he has to be happy about staying in Michigan. Many people had Hutchinson as the top player in the NFL draft, so it’s no surprise to see him open as the favorite.

Hutchinson is much more than a pure pass rusher. He recorded 14.0 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Detroit has few quality options on their defensive line so Hutchinson will be the focal point. Hopefully, he won’t see too many double teams. Even so, he should get better as the season moves along.

The odds have him as the top NFL Defensive Rookie for 2022. His sack potential puts him at the forefront of the Defensive Rookie of the Year battle.

Top Contenders for 2022 Defensive Rookie of the Year

Who will win the NFL Defensive ROY? Aidan Hutchinson may be the favorite, but many players are within striking distance. Which players can challenge Hutchinson? Let’s examine his biggest challengers.

Kayvon Thibodeaux (+550)

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Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker moved to the top of draft boards following an impressive 2021 season. However, Kayvon Thibodeaux was the top player ahead of the season.

Thibodeaux significantly impacted his freshman season, recording nine sacks and 14 tackles for loss. He wasn’t as impactful in 2020 but responded with a big performance in 2021.

He dealt with injuries but finished the season with seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss. There were talks that Thibodeaux didn’t do well in draft interviews, but should that have moved him below Hutchinson and Walker?

Personally, I felt Thibodeaux was the best player in the draft. The New York Giants landed him with the No. 5 pick. New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale should give him ample blitzing opportunities.

  • 2018: 39.6 percent (1st)
  • 2019: 54.9 percent (1st)
  • 2020: 44.1 percent (1st)
  • 2021: 31.1 percent (6th)

Those represent his blitz percentages in his four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants should be among the blitz-heaviest teams in the league. That bodes well for Thibodeaux’s NFL Defensive ROY odds.

It’ll be tough to win Defensive Rookie of the Year on a bad defense. Martindale’s Ravens allowed the fewest points and yards per game from 2018 to 2020.

Thibodeaux should have motivation after being the third edge rusher off the board. This is his chance to show everyone he should’ve been the No. 1 pick. It shouldn’t take long for the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds to swing in his favor.

Kyle Hamilton (+800)

Did you know a safety hasn’t won Defensive Rookie of the Year since 1990? That doesn’t bode well for Kyle Hamilton, but the 6’4” safety has a versatile skill set that could help him break the drought.

It’s not often you see a safety go high in the NFL draft, but people believed Hamilton was the best player in the 2022 class. He burst onto the scene following an impressive sophomore season. He was first-team All-ACC after recording 63 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and one interception.

His numbers weren’t as strong last season, as he only played seven games. Still, he was a consensus All-American with four interceptions.

That prompted the Baltimore Ravens to select him with the No. 14 pick. There’s already talk of using him in multiple spots.

Everyone knows the Ravens have long been one of the best drafting teams. They always find gems, no matter where they’re drafting. It’s possible they landed the draft’s best player at No. 14.

Hamilton should be a popular pick for who will win the NFL Defensive ROY. He won’t be your prototypical safety looking for interceptions. Hamilton can impact the game in many ways.

His strength and toughness may be the best part of his game. He has no issue playing at the line of scrimmage.

Baltimore’s defense struggled mightily in 2021. They should be much improved with Hamilton in tow. I’ll be visiting the top football betting apps to wager on Hamilton and the Ravens in 2022.

2022 NFL Defensive ROY Value Picks

It’s uncommon for a sleeper to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Darius Leonard, Marshon Lattimore, and Marcus Peters bucked that trend.

Who are the top sleepers for the 2022 NFL Defensive ROY?

Nakobe Dean (+1200)

Georgia won the 2021 National Championship thanks to a stellar defense. They had many top-tier players in the NFL draft, with Travon Walker being the No. 1 pick. Surprisingly, Nakobe Dean slid to the third round.

Many people believed he would be a first-round pick. The linebacker recorded 72 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles in 2021. Those numbers are worthy of a first-round pick.

There were concerns about a potential pectoral injury, but it doesn’t sound like that’s a significant issue. If not, the Philadelphia Eagles may have landed the steal of the draft. He could step into a three-down role with Philadelphia.

The Eagles made the playoffs last season, but it was on the strength of their defense. Dean could play the starring role for a defense that could be back in the playoffs.

It’s not often the odds to win the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year have a third-round pick at (+1200). That shows how much respect the sportsbooks have for Dean. They believe he can make a big impact from day one.

Dean may not have a starting spot initially, with TJ Edwards being the starting MLB. However, we know Dean will see playing time as a reserve. He could quickly earn more playing time with a strong performance.

Do you have faith in a third-round pick-winning NFL Defensive ROY? Dean isn’t your typical third-round pick so it wouldn’t surprise me.

George Karlaftis (+1600)

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Who will win the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year? Edge rusher should be a popular pick, with Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker, and Kayvon Thibodeaux leading the way. However, people can’t forget about George Karlaftis.

Karlaftis had an impressive freshman season at Purdue, recording 54 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks. He only played two games in 2020 but bounced back with a solid 2021 season.

As he joins the Kansas City Chiefs, it couldn’t have been a much better landing spot for Karlaftis. The early 2022 AFC Conference odds have the Chiefs as a top contender, but they could use help on defense.

He’ll join a defensive line that features a pair of sack masters.

  • Chris Jones: 9 sacks
  • Frank Clark: 4.5 sacks

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo loves to bring the blitz. Karlaftis should be the top edge rusher alongside Frank Clark. Offensive lines can’t key in on Karlaftis with Clark and Chris Jones rushing the quarterback.

That’ll be key to his Defensive Rookie of the Year hopes. We often see players with a high sack total win the award. It wouldn’t surprise me if Karlaftis had more sacks than the top edge rushers.

Kansas City will be in the spotlight more than the Detroit Lions or Jacksonville Jaguars. That’ll also be a big boost for his NFL Defensive ROY hopes.

Karlaftis has emerged as one of the top value picks for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Are you buying into the hype?

Betting Tips for Defensive Rookie of the Year

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What’s the best way to approach betting on Defensive Rookie of the Year? These betting tips should give you a sense of the top bets for 2022.

Sacks Are Key for ROY

The best NFL betting websites have edge rushers and linebackers among the favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year. That’s because they are the top candidates for sack production.

Sacks are the best way for rookies to put up big numbers. Check out the sack total for the last three players to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

  • 2019: Nick Bosa – 9.0
  • 2020: Chase Young – 7.5
  • 2021: Micah Parsons – 13.0

Typically, edge rushers have the best chance to earn sacks. However, Micah Parsons showed us that linebackers could win the award with a high sack total. Parsons was a unanimous winner with his stellar season.

It helps that Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker, and Kayvon Thibodeaux were top-five picks, but that’s not the only reason they’re among the NFL Defensive ROY favorites. A high sack total will put them in a position to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Cornerbacks Aren’t Your Best Bet

Edge rushers have the upper hand in the NFL Defensive ROY battle. Linebackers also have a strong case, but it’s an uphill battle for a cornerback to win the award.

The best way to judge cornerbacks is interceptions and passes defended. It’s a much bigger transition for a cornerback than an edge rusher. They typically struggle to start their NFL career.

Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Peters are the only cornerbacks to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in the 21st century. Check out their numbers.

Stats Marcus Peters (2015) Marshon Lattimore (2017)
Tackles 60 52
Interceptions 8 5
Passes Defended 26 18

Peters led the NFL in interceptions and passes defended. Lattimore’s great season earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl. Ahmad Gardner, Derek Stingley Jr., and other cornerbacks will need to make a similar impact.

It’ll be tough to play at that level in their rookie season.

Who Will Win the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year?

We’re a few weeks from the start of the preseason, but no one has separated themselves in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year race. The 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds have Aidan Hutchinson as the favorite, but I’m going in a different direction.

Kayvon Thibodeaux was the top player on my draft board. He landed in a perfect position with the New York Giants. Wink Martindale should give him ample sack opportunities. That’ll lead him to Defensive Rookie of the Year.

This is just the defensive side of the ball, of course. Take a look at the early 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds to see which players have a shot at snagging a first-year award on the other side of the ball.



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