2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Picks

  • Aidan Hutchinson (+500) opened as the favorite to be named 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • Travon Walker has longer odds (+1400) than both Hutch and Kayvon Thibodeaux (+700) despite going first-overall to Jacksonville
  • “Sauce” Gardner (+1200) and Derek Stingley Jr. (+1400) were top five picks but only two defensive backs have won the DPOY in the past two decades-plus

Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux have the shortest NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year betting odds – which makes perfect sense given that four of the past six awards have gone to edge rushers.

Will the Detroit Lions’ No. 2 overall pick or the New York Giants’ No. 5 overall selection take home the DPOY honors this season? Before we look at the latest odds, here’s where you can check out the top betting sites for NFL football in 2022.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Pass rushers lead the way

Defensive Rookie of the Year has essentially become the “best pass rusher” award in recent years, as six of the last eight winners have recorded at least seven sacks. That suits this year’s rookie class just fine with Aidan Hutchinson (+500), Kayvon Thibodeaux (+700), and No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker (+1400) all set to get after the quarterback.

Defensive ends selected later in the first round, such as the Jets’ Jermaine Johnson II (+1100), Kansas City’s George Karlaftis (+1600),and second-rounders like the 49ers’ Drake Jackson (+3000) and Dallas’ Sam Williams (+3500) are also available at various odds – but keep in mind that thirteen of the last 15 DPOY winners were selected in the top 15.

Cornerbacks and linebackers?

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (+1200) and Derek Stingley Jr. (+1400) were each picked in the top five of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Jets and Texans, however, defensive backs have won just two DPOYs since 1999 and ten all-time. That also doesn’t bode well for safety Kyle Hamilton (+800), who fell to No. 15 to the Baltimore Ravens last April.

The 2022 rookie linebacker class — Devin Lloyd (+1400), Quay Walker (+1400) and Nakobe Dean (+1800) — aren’t pass-rushing EDGE types. But, Colts’ LB Darius Leonard won the award in 2018 by racking up lots of tackles, so there is a path to victory.

Aidan HutchinsonDefensive Rookie of the Year
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Kayvon ThibodeauxDefensive Rookie of the Year
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Does team success matter?

Seven of the last 12 DPOY winners suited up for 8-8 or under-.500 teams. In almost every case, however, the rookie helped his team’s defense improve in points allowed per game.

The Jets, Lions and Jaguars had three of the NFL’s five worst defensive units last year and the Giants placed in the bottom ten. So, Walker, Hutchinson, Thibodeaux and Johnson stand to benefit the most from the “helped his club’s defense get better” media narrative.

Best Bet

Considering all the recent trends mentioned above, the 2022 Defensive Player Year honors will likely go to a pass rusher selected in the top 15 who helps his club’s defense improve. Travon Walker has a lower sack total (6.5) than Hutchinson (8.5) and Thibodeaux (7.5) at most sportsbooks. However, this presents a rare opportunity where you can wager on the league’s No. 1 overall pick to win DPOY at 14-1 odds.

While the 6-foot-5, 272-pound Walker only recorded 9.5 sacks during his three seasons at Georgia, he’s an athletic freak who ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash. The 21-year-old’s arms also measured in at a ridiculous 35 1/2″ inches and he recorded a three-cone time (6.89) faster than all but one wide receiver at the combine.

Best Bet: Travon Walker (+1400 at BetOnline)

Travon WalkerDefensive Rookie of the Year
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Steve Starr

Steve is one of the many Americans who spends Sunday watching football on the couch and gorging on delicious eats. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.

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