Chase Young is favored to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year but is he the best bet? (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)
- As we enter Week 12, Chase Young is currently favored to win the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year
- Young is currently Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded rookie
- With Alex Smith under center, the Washington defense has not had to spend as much time on the field, which should lead to more productivity for Young down the stretch
After an impressive performance in Week 11, Washington’s Chase Young is now favored to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year. The race is a close one, though, as three other players are inside of +500.
As we head down the homestretch of the 2020 NFL season, which player is the best bet in the NFL DROY odds?
2020 NFL DROY Odds
|Chase Young||EDGE||WAS||2nd Overall||+175|
|Patrick Queen||ILB||BAL||28th Overall||+290|
|Antoine Winfield Jr||DB||TB||45th Overall||+333|
|Julian Blackmon||S||IND||85th Overall||+425|
|Jeremy Chinn||S||CAR||64th Overall||+900|
|Jaylon Johnson||CB||CHI||50th Overall||+1250|
|Jordan Elliott||DT||CLE||88th Overall||+3000|
*Odds updated November 24.
Young Is Becoming A Game-Wrecker
Although Young’s traditional statistics may not jump off the screen – he has just 3.5 sacks on the season – he’s having a big impact on games these days. Taking a look Pro Football Focus’ numbers, Young is the highest-graded defensive rookie at 73.4. That edges out Julian Blackmon at 72.2 and Tershawn Wharton at 71.3.
What’s interesting is that, as bad as Washington has been (they’re a three-win team), their defense – and especially their front seven, where Young is a key cog – has been quite good. Washington is currently ninth in the NFL in points allowed per game and sixth in yards per game. Even if Young isn’t piling up the sacks, he’s a big reason why the defense has collected the sixth-most in the NFL.
JOE BURROW MEET CHASE YOUNG
— PFF (@PFF) November 22, 2020
Young is fresh off a particularly notable effort as he made a couple of big plays against the No. 1-overall pick, Joe Burrow. The two collided at the goal line where Young forced a Burrow fumble in a clip that went viral on Sunday. Young was also frequently in the backfield harassing Burrow. Those types of efforts will help his case.
Blackmon Moving Up the Board
Indianapolis Colts safety Julian Blackmon wasn’t someone who was on the radar to win DROY early in the year but he’s shot up the board in November. He was at +1000 in September but flew all the way down to +700 on November 4th and is now at +450 just 20 days later.
Blackmon, who was a third-round pick this year, has been quite a find for the Colts defense. He has 23 tackles this season along with six passes defensed, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. That forced fumble came in overtime on Sunday and was one of the reasons the Colts beat the Green Bay Packers.
Julian Blackmon for DROY. pic.twitter.com/CBQmYaEJTs
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) November 23, 2020
As for right now, Blackmon is PFF’s highest-graded rookie safety and it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. He was an All-American in college and his game has translated well to the NFL. If he keeps this up, he’ll be in the running until the end.
What’s the Best Bet?
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen is getting a lot of love and he’s at +290 on the board but he looks like someone to pass on for now. The Ravens defense (and offense, for that matter) just aren’t what they were last season. Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry just mowed down this Ravens defense again on Sunday, which isn’t a good look for Queen.
Also, he’s not currently among PFF’s top four rookies. If the analytics guys aren’t onboard, that will make his case for winning this award much harder.
Highest-graded defensive rookies:
1. Chase Young – 73.4
2. Julian Blackmon – 72.2
3. Tershawn Wharton – 71.3
4. A.J. Terrell – 70.0 pic.twitter.com/Lp2Soa8jLA
— PFF (@PFF) November 19, 2020
At this point, Young looks like the best bet as he continues to improve each week. With an offense that is now moving the ball a little bit since Alex Smith is under center, it will take pressure off of the defense. Washington has improved in Time Of Possession in Smith’s two starts as they’re at 32:44 per game versus their season average, which is 29:41.
Overall, if you’re looking for a longer shot, someone like Blackmon or Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. could be worth a flier. However, it looks like Young is going to have a strong back half of the season and put some distance between himself and the others for this honor.
For over 15 years, Dave has been working in mainstream media and sports betting. He hosted a station on Sirius Satellite Radio for four years, and is currently a senior writer for AskMen. He’s interviewed hundreds of hundreds of high-profile sports stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Floyd Mayweather.