While there are many that wonder how Cardinals do-everything first-round pick Isaiah Simmons will be used, oddsmakers aren’t worrying about that. Just a few days after the draft, Simmons has the second-best odds of being the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Defensive end Chase Young, selected by the Redskins with the second overall pick in the draft, has the best odds of the rookie class at 5/1, followed by Simmons at 8/1.
And it falls off quickly after him. Next in line is Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray (1/23) and Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen (1/28) at 14/1; Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa (2/86) and Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (1/3) at 20/1; and Giants safety Xavier McKinney at 22/1. There are 13 players at 25/1.
If Simmons is able to win the award, he would follow Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who was Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019. He won going away with 26.5 of the 50 votes. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the voters for the AP awards.) Oakland running back Josh Jacobs was second with 13, followed by Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown with 9.5 and Philadelphia running back Miles Sanders with one.
Murray was the first Cardinals player to win the award since wide receiver Anquan Boldin in 2003 and the first Heisman Award winner to do it since Cam Newton in 2011. He and Newton are the only players in league history to have at least 3,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in their rookie season.
The ever-confident Simmons believes he will make an impact immediately. He said, “I feel like I can go in and compete with anybody. It's just a mentality I have, regardless if I can or not. So I'm always going to feel as if I can compete with everybody on that field. And secondly, I just want to have an immediate impact on whatever my role and my responsibility is.”
Clearly, the oddsmakers are confident, too.