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Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux Early Favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year

Pass rushers lead a crowded field of first-round defenders vying for rookie honors.

With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time to lock in some early futures value for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Here are the current odds:

Twenty-nine of the last 32 DROY were drafted in the first round. In the 2022 draft, the first five picks were all defensive players and 16 of the 32 first-rounders line up on that side of the ball. The stage is set for a battle for DROY honors.

Check the Latest Odds and Lines at SI Sportsbook

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Hutchinson is the current favorite at +450, though it’s crowded at the top. Hutchinson landed with the Detroit Lions, who had a spectacular draft, and it’s easy to see him headlining Dan Campbell’s defense. For much of the pre-draft season, the 6’7’’ Hutchinson was considered the favorite, and now the Michigan star edge rusher gets to stay home. It’s a recipe for success.

At +500 Kayvon Thibodeaux is also an attractive bet. Thibodeaux joins a Giants team for which he has an opportunity to make an immediate impression. Taken fifth overall, the Oregon pass-rusher has just the kind of raw talent–and personality–that could take the New York market by storm.

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Travon Walker (+600), though taken first overall, will likely have less opportunity to make a big impression in his rookie season. Let’s face it – sacks stand out as an impressive stat. His Swiss-army-knife skills may actually work against him. Walker may prove to be the best pick for the Jaguars, but flashy is what wins awards.

Devin Lloyd (+800) is the best all-around linebacker in the class, and will have an opportunity with this new-look Jaguars. Seven of the last 16 winners of the DROY were linebackers.

Derek Stingley Jr. (+1000), who only allowed a 41.4% completion rate in his college career, and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (+1000), who did not allow a single touchdown in his three years at Cincinnati, are also in good situations to start the season.

The Pick:
First choice: Aidan Hutchinson +450
Second choice: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner +1000.

How can you not bet on a guy in the New York market named “Sauce?” 

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