5 favorites to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award is historically filled with some big names — Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, Aaron Donald, and the Bosa brothers are all fairly recent winners. Someone new will join them in 2020, but who will it be? Probably an impact player who’s blowing up plays in the backfield, if history tells us anything.
Here are five big favorites to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
5. Javon Kinlaw, DL, 49ers
Kinlaw lands in a great situation. The Niners are loaded up front, meaning he won’t be given special attention by blockers and will be able to learn from the best. He’s still raw, and he’ll probably be stuck on the interior, but Kinlaw has a lot of untapped potential. The 49ers have developed their defensive linemen well, so Kinlaw could have a pretty high ceiling quite quickly, putting him on the radar for this award.
4. Patrick Queen, LB, Ravens
Though drafted late in the first round, Queen is such a perfect fit in Baltimore that he should be productive right away. He should start for the Ravens, and his all-around skills should translate well to their needs. The Ravens can do a lot with Queen, from coverage to blitzes, and that should allow him to stuff the stat sheet. That’s how you make an impression as a rookie, and it could make him a major sleeper to win the award.
3. Derrick Brown, DL, Panthers
The SEC Defensive Player of the Year has been called the most talented interior prospect since Aaron Donald, and it’s safe to say Donald worked out pretty well in the NFL. Brown could do the same, and should make an immediate impact on Carolina’s defensive line. If he can get to the quarterback with regularity, people will begin to take note. He could very quickly become a Rookie of the Year contender with some quick development.
2. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Cardinals
Simmons’ ability to do it all on defense should only work in his favor. The Clemson star can play as a linebacker or in coverage, which is a recipe for a lot of quality statistical performances. If he can get a few sacks while also excelling in coverage, people will take notice, and he’ll establish himself as a star quickly on the defensive side of the ball. If used as a complete, almost positionless defender, that versatility should also work in his favor.
1. Chase Young, DE, Redskins
Young is the clear favorite to take home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He’s ready to go from day one, incredibly polished, and was an absolute beast at Ohio State. There is no reason he can’t rack up a very impressive sack tally in his rookie year. Young is one of the best defensive prospects to come through the draft in recent years, and expectations are high. That could work against him, but the bet is that he’ll do everything expected of him and prove a success in year one.