The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft is not the favorite to be named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and he isn’t even one of the players with the five best odds to win this award. The Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping that their internal scouting is better than what the oddsmakers and general public believes, but their recent draft history does not bode well on this front. Instead, the favorite to be named the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, and the Detroit Lions took him with the No. 2 pick in the draft.
2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Aidan Hutchinson +500
Kayvon Thibodeaux +700
Kyle Hamilton +700
Quay Walker +1000
George Karlaftis +1000
Jermaine Johnson +1100
Ahmad Gardner +1200
Travon Walker +1200
Devin Lloyd +1400
Derek Stingley +1400
All Other Players +1800 or More
Aidan Hutchinson was seen as the likely No. 1 overall pick for most of the time in between the end of the college football season and the NFL Draft. Hutchinson set the single season sack record at Michigan in his senior year, getting to the quarterback 14 times, and he was at his best in the most important games for the Wolverines. He had three sacks against Penn State and three sacks against Ohio State to lead Michigan to the program’s best season in almost 25 years.
The favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick entering the 2021 college football season was Kayvon Thibodeaux. The standout Oregon defensive end was the top recruit coming out of high school, and he was a two-time First Team All-Pac 12 selection. Thibodeaux was a unanimous All American last year, and there’s no doubt that he has the talent to succeed at the next level. However, he may not post the gaudy stats usually needed to be named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
One of the most popular picks to be named DROY is Kyle Hamilton. The safety out of Notre Dame was sensational during his time with the Fighting Irish, and he has great instincts and can cover a lot of ground. The consensus All American was seen as a top ten pick, and the Baltimore Ravens were elated to be able to select him with the 14th overall pick.
Hamilton was compared to Ed Reed in college, but it can be tough for safeties to post the numbers needed to win DROY.
Quay Walker was one of five Georgia defenders selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He did not post a lot of big numbers playing for a star-studded defense with just five sacks in four seasons in Athens, but he could be a star with the Green Bay Packers. Walker has the potential to rack up a lot of tackles alongside De’Vondre Campbell.
The Kansas City Chiefs also went to Athens for their first-round pick, but they chose George Karlaftis from Athens, Greece. Karlaftis was a star at Purdue, being named an All Big Ten selection in three straight seasons. He only recently turned 21, so there is plenty of potential with the young defensive end, and he could easily get to double digit sacks along a solid defensive line looking for a pass rusher that can help the Chiefs close out games.
ACC Defensive Player of the Year Jermaine Johnson had a sensational lone year in Tallahassee with the Florida State Seminoles. Johnson transferred to Florida State after being unable to break the starting lineup at Georgia, and he showed just how much talent was on that Bulldogs roster. He posted solid numbers at the NFL Combine, and he could be unleashed in Robert Saleh’s defense.
If you are looking at players with longer odds, consider Jordan Davis. There was arguably no player that was more dominant than Davis while he was on the field for Georgia, as he is a defensive tackle that completely shut down opponents when he was locked in. Davis won the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Outland Trophy last year, and Philadelphia was giddy to select him at 13. His biggest concern is stamina due to his size, but Davis has the potential to be an Aaron Donald type defensive tackle.
2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Pick: Jermaine Johnson
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