2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds: Did Sauce Gardner's DROY Odds Change After Dominant Week 6?
At the beginning of some seasons, a clear favorite emerges for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Rookies often require a fair number of NFL snaps before they are able to break out, but sometimes we see that rare gem who instantly performs at a superstar level. That was the case last season, with linebacker/pass rusher Micah Parsons dominating early in the year and never slowing down en route to a DROY award.
This season, though, the field for this award remains relatively murky as we head into Week 6. There is no clear favorite after week 5. Nine defenders are at +1400 odds or shorter (FanDuel). So, let's take a look at the plausible options and attempt to identify the spots of value.
With today's shocking win over the Packers, the Jets look like they are coasting in the AFC East. With his Week 6 performance, did Sauce Gardner's DROY odds change? Let's take a look at the latest NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds.
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Devin Lloyd DROY Odds: (+300) (Bet $100 to win $300)
Devin Lloyd, the no. 27 pick in this year's NFL draft, has had a great start to his career. Through five weeks as a starting linebacker for the Jaguars, he has accumulated 49 total tackles, including 26 solo stops. On top of that, he has been a threat in coverage, picking off two passes and recording six pass deflections. I'm not sure that there's value at +300 due to the high probability of another player breaking out, but Lloyd is currently the deserving favorite for DROY.
Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner DROY Odds: (+600) (Bet $100 to win $600)
Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner has been one of the few standouts on a Jets defense that has largely struggled. The learning curve for cornerbacks (and defensive backs in general) is notoriously steep, but Gardner has somewhat bucked the trend. In his first five games, he has recorded one interception, six pass deflections, and 20 tackles. He has a PFF grade of 68, which is among the best of any cornerback from the 2022 class. Notably, Gardner has only allowed 12 receptions in coverage (2.4/game), which is a solid clip for a rookie CB. I think that there's a bit of value at +600 for him to win DROY.
Travon Walker DROY Odds: (+900) (Bet $100 to win $900)
There is always an enormous amount of pressure on first-overall picks to produce out of the gate, and Travon Walker is no different. He has been a decent pass rusher through five weeks, recording one sack, two quarterback hits, and two tackles for loss. He has also grabbed one interception and two pass deflections, showing his versatility in the passing game.
Now, it was widely known that the Jaguars selected Walker at No. 1 for his physical traits — they did not expect a finished product. As the season ticks on, he should grow into his own and ramp up his production, although I'm not sure he will record the necessary counting statistics to take home this award.
Aidan Hutchinson DROY Odds: (+900) (Bet $100 to win $900)
Similar to Walker, Hutchinson entered the league with exceedingly high expectations surrounding him due to his draft status (No. 2 overall). Save for one stellar game where he recorded three sacks, though, he has not lived up to the hype. He has largely been a non-factor against the run, although his six QB hits do indicate that he is likely to increase his sack production. I would not bet on him to win DROY at +900 — he is probably this high because of the oddsmakers respecting his draft capital, not because of his performance through Week 5.
Jack Jones DROY Odds: (+1000) (Bet $100 to win $1000)
Jack Jones is an interesting candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was the 121st pick in the 2022 draft, which explains why his posted odds to win the award aren't higher. They probably should be — Jones has been a stellar, lockdown cornerback through five games. He has allowed just 10 completions on 18 targets, both of which are excellent marks for a starting cornerback in the NFL. He has also logged two interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown), three pass deflections, and one forced fumble. Jones' PFF grade is 90.4, which is among the best out of all defenders, not just rookies. He is worth a shot at +1000 — if he can keep up this form, he may well take the award altogether.
Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.