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NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year – Could Isaiah Simmons Be a Surprise Winner in 2020?

| June 15, 2020 6:12 am PDT
Isaiah Simmons NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020

The biggest move of the offseason for the Arizona Cardinals was supposedly trading for superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Maybe that’s simply the truth, but given the team’s offensive system and talent, the Cardinals may have been in fine shape even without Nuk.

In a sense, the much bigger move was snagging star Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Sure, it could still backfire, but getting an elite athlete with insane versatility can hardly be seen as a negative. It also could be a huge reason why Simmons has some of the best 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds  you’ll find online.

Can he actually upset Chase Young for the award this year, though? Let’s take a look at both sides to gauge the likelihood of that happening.

Why Isaiah Simmons Can Win NFL DROY

If you look at the best football betting sites, you’ll quickly see that Simmons (+800 at BetOnline) has the second-best odds among rookie defenders.

Being a top-10 draft pick helps, but Simmons was also praised as one of the most versatile defenders in the entire draft.

His range, blitzing, and potential in coverage all play into that, but the guy really raised eyebrows when he ran a blazing 4.39 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Combine.

Hypothetically, this means the Cardinals could deploy Simmons more as a hybrid weapon, rather than a pure linebacker or safety. Using him correctly is something they’ll certainly have to figure out, but it’s a pretty good problem to have when you talk of a player this talented.

Why Isaiah Simmons Won’t Win NFL DROY

There are three reasons you may not feel great about betting on Isaiah Simmons to win the Defensive ROY in 2020. The first? He plays for a pretty suspect Arizona defense.

The Cardinals weren’t great defensively in 2019, and while they’re making strides (adding Simmons, for one), there is no guarantee they’ll be anything close to elite this year.

Another issue is the fact that Simmons has to beat out Chase Young, who is the clear favorite for this wager. Young was more productive in college and is a sack artist, which could give him an easier path to victory when you consider what statistics people hold in higher regard.

Lastly, Simmons is still fairly raw, and that elite versatility he has may not necessarily translate to elite play (or production) in his first NFL season.

Summary

The upside with Isaiah Simmons is very real. He’s explosive, he has good instincts, he can roam the entire field, and he has the athleticism to match anyone in coverage.

In theory, he could be a generational defender that offenses don’t really have an answer for. The question, of course, is how the Cardinals will use him and how long it’ll take for him to reach his potential.

Bettors need to wonder if anyone can upset Chase Young in the race for the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, though. If you’re not betting on Young, Simmons definitely needs to be in your player betting pool.

He’s not the only one, though. Consider all options and check out our NFL betting blog leading to our reveal of our predicted winner for 2020.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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